CBC Saskatchewan

  | Bookmark and Share

Oliver Jones and the Metro Jass Ensemble in Concert

2012 Juno nominee pianist Oliver Jones is a beloved and admired musician and musical ambassador. A legend in the international jazz community, he has toured tirelessly in Canada and around the world and has devoted much of his time to encouraging young Canadian musicians as they begin their careers, and we've got him on Soundxchange, recorded live the Sask Jazz festival, along with the Metro Jazz Ensemble of Saskatoon.

oliver01 wxt.jpgListen to Oliver Jones and other on the Jazz Stream at CBC Music

Twenty-five years ago, pianist Oliver Jones performed at the very first Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.  Since then, the Montreal-born musician has become a Canadian jazz legend, recording twenty albums, winning a Juno Award, and becoming a member of the Order of Canada.  

To commemorate the festival's 25th anniversary this summer, Oliver returned to premiere a special composition called 'Saskatchewan Suite'. He composed the work especially for this performance.  The name of each movement in the suite cleverly references some aspect of the festival - from the historic Bessborough Hotel, to the wonderful Bassment Jazz Club, and even the festival's major sponsor, SaskTel.  

For much of this concert Oliver and his trio members Eric Legac√© on bass and drummer Jim Doxas pay tribute to the great Oscar Peterson.  For the Saskatchewan Suite and a sampling of other tunes, Saskatoon's Metro Jazz Ensemble also joins the trio.  This seventeen  piece band is led by artistic director and trumpeter Dean McNeill and conducted by Roy Sydiaha.

Oliver's piano playing is brilliant, but what also shines through in this concert from Saskatoon's Broadway Theatre is his genuine and warm personality.  He is gracious, respectful of all the musicians sharing the stage with him, and embodies the very essence of a true gentleman.

The Metro Jazz Ensemble was formed initially in 1999 as a Sunday evening rehearsal ensemble for many of Saskatoon's top professional musicians. The Metro Jazz Ensemble is now proud to be presenting professional performances throughout Saskatchewan as Saskatoon's premier large jazz ensemble.Over the past several years the Metro Jazz Ensemble has performed at Saskatoon's jazz club the Bassment (annually), Saskatoon's Fringe Festival, in conjunction with the Saskatoon Symphony (reception for symphony pops artist Oscar Lopez), as a guest ensemble at the Moose Jaw Music Festival (with guest artist and Juno award winner Brad Turner), on Radio Canada (remote broadcast from the Bessborough Hotel), as part of the University of Saskatchewan Department of Music's 2004-05 In Performance Convo Series (I.P.C.S.), multiple times for the International Music Day in Canada (sponsored by the American Federation of Musicians and the Saskatoon Musician's Association), with Theresa Sokyrka at her 2005 Centennial Auditorium CD release concert, and at the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival (Broadway Theatre-Saskatoon) with Juno award winner Huge Frazer (2004), guest Calgary-based vocalist Rob Younge (2005), and with guest Saskatoon-based vocalists Gillian Snider and Dr. Neil Currie (2006), and at the SaskTel Jazz Festival (2008) with acclaimed Canadian vocalist Carol Welsman.