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Wray Downes Trio | Toronto’s Jazz Bistro
February 21 /9:00 pm 11:30 pm
One event on February 22, 2019 at 9:00pm
One event on February 23, 2019 at 9:00pm
JUST ANNOUNCED: The legendary WRAY DOWNES will be returning to Jazz Bistro with his trio of Adrian Vedady & Jim Doxas next month! Wray has just celebrated his 88th birthday and you can celebrate with him from February 21-23rd. You do not want to miss this fantastic trio! Call us at 416-363-5299 to reserve your seats now.
RUPERT ARNOLD (WRAY) DOWNES (pianist, composer, arranger, conductor) was born on January 14, 1931 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When he was just seven years old, he began 12 years of study with Anne Scott-Mumford in Toronto, and in 1949, became the first Canadian to receive the British Empire (Overseas) Scholarship to London, England’s Trinity College of Music. After studying classical piano there and then at the Paris Conservatory, he turned to jazz in 1973, studying harmony with Dizzy Gillespie and working until 1956 in Europe with leading American musicians including Sacha Distel, Sidney Bechet, Buck Clayton, and Bill Coleman.
Returning to Canada, he attended Oscar Peterson’s Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto, studied composition with Neil Chotem in Montreal, and was mentored in New York by noted jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams. Throughout the 1950s and ‘60s, he balanced live performances and touring with such respected musical peers as Sonny Stitt, Clark Terry, and Lester Young, with his many responsibilities to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – Music Director for the Halifax-based ‘Music Hop’, in Ottawa on ‘Segue’, several shows in Newfoundland, and in Toronto, as Music Director for ‘Show of Shows’ and ‘Umbrella’.
For two years from 1956 to 1958, and intermittently during the ‘80s, he played in Montreal clubs. Throughout much of the ‘70s and ‘80s, he performed, recorded, and toured in North America playing the prestigious Montreal jazz festival, performing on numerous NBC shows and more intimate club dates in Los Angeles, and working as a sideman to U.S. jazz musicians at several Toronto clubs, accompanying Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Buddy Tate, Clark Terry, Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson, Lester Young, and Ben Webster, Downes’ duo with bassist Dave Young, established in 1976, has toured Canada several times, occasionally augmented by other leading musicians including guitarists Ed Bickert and Reg Schwager. He has also worked over the years with the Archie Alleyne-Frank Wright Quartet, Moe Koffman, drummer Pete Magadini, saxophonist Don ‘D.T.’ Thompson, singer Joe Williams, and vibesmaster Peter Appleyard.
He has played in command performance for dignitaries including Nelson Mandela, the President of Finland, and the (then) Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney, and in the ‘90s, Wray Downes assumed a faculty position in the Private Studies Program at Concordia University’s Department of Music in Montreal.
“Adrian Vedady should be considered as one of Montreal’s best double bassists. The quality of his rhythmic accompaniment, the fluidity of his phrasing, the clarity and roundness of his lines makes him one on the most important contributors at the heart of the local scene.” -Alain Brunet, La Presse, 2009.
Since 1999, Adrian Vedady has been performing, recording and touring with Montreal’s very best musicians including Wray Downes, Al McLean, Andre White, Joel Miller, Mike Rud, Yannick Rieu, Francois Bourassa, Joe Sullivan, Steve Amirault, Jim Doxas, Chet Doxas, Jeff Johnston and Christine Jensen. And internationally with the likes of Marc Copland, Jean-Michel Pilc, Dan Weiss, Dave Liebman, Ravi Coltrane, Ingrid Jensen, David Binney, Sheila Jordan, Laila Biali, Azar Lawrence and Ariel Pocock. In 2014, he won a Juno award for best album with Mike Rud’s Notes on Montreal project. He has produced 2 albums as a leader, the latest entitled In Three Acts, that feature his compositions. He also co-leads a group with renowned pianist, Marc Copland. Together they have performed at numerous Canadian Jazz Festivals and released an album entitled Live At Largo in 2012. Vedady has performed at jazz festivals and concert halls across Canada, the USA, Europe, Mexico, India and China.
Drummer Jim Doxas was born in Montréal, Canada, into an artistically vibrant family and established himself early on in his career as a versatile percussionist.Heavily influenced by rock, jazz, Motown and world music, his credits on various recordings range from drummer, percussionist and composer. In addition, he is also an established recording engineer and a lecturer at McGill University. Doxas is a popular featured artist at jazz festivals worldwide and has worked with John Abercrombie, Joe Lovano, Hank Jones, Edward Simon, Dave Binney and Maria Schneider.
Writing for AllAboutJazz.com, Robert J. Lewis describes his playing:
“Through the power of his startling invention, he makes the case that percussion can be every bit as performative as a lyrical instrument. What distinguishes Doxas’ approach to improvisation is that he refuses to play it safe, allowing the moment—and not received wisdom—to dictate the kind of framework that will contain, shape and guide the piece under consideration. He is astutely committed to the belief that significant music is always distinguished by what is left unsaid, the gaps of which inspire him to produce a highly original vocabulary.”
During the last several years, his playing with Oliver Jones has been recognized with Felix and Juno Awards in Canada, and his participation in the song “Belleville Rendez-Vous” from the film The Triplets de Belleville received nominations for Grammy and Academy Awards.