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Upcoming Events List

Live Music at The Jazz Room

Featuring International jazz acts that play the world’s top clubs (the Saturday program features artistic direction from Mark Kelso). For the latest news and & promotions, click here.

Please note that only Grand River Jazz Society events are shown below
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Derek Hines Quintet
Apr 28 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Derek Hines

Wonderful local singer and chef brings an amazing band to his yearly Jazz Room show.  Derek sings jazz as it should be sung, with skill and emotion.  Year of touring have honed Derek’s art to a fine edge.

For this show, Derek has assembled an all star cast of musicians…

Derek Hines – vocais

Adrien Farrugia -  piano

Reg Schwager – guitar

Pat Collins -bass

Ted Warren -Drums




On Topic Trio
Apr 29 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


On Topic is a perfect mixer of the maturity that comes from experience and the fire of Youth. Drummer Aubrey Dayle (Vernon Reid, John Popper, James ‘Blood’ Ulmer, David Murray), guitarist Kim Ratcliffe (Ron Sexmith, David Clayton Tomas) And Bassist Brad Cheeseman (Nancy Walker, Terry Clarke) have joined forces to produce some truly expressive jazz fusion. In short; if you like the music of Jeff Beck, John Scofield, or Mike Stern you will love On Topic!

Their music will caress you with heartfelt melodies, and grooves that will hit you in your gut with pin-point accuracy. As the great Canadian film composer Donald Quan commented; “I love the band. The music is truly satisfying!”

Kim Ratcliffe – Guitar

Aubrey Dale – Drums

Brad Cheeseman – Bass

May 5 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


Piano/Bass/Drums – a classic jazz trio format. HWO is original music penned by Thomas Hammerton, Tyler Wagler, and Dave O’Neill. In the mix are tunes by Radiohead, the Beatles, Tears for Fears, Genesis, Tom Waits, and favourite songs from the massive catalogue of the standards repertoire. HWO are excited to expand the trio to a quartet for this performance with the addition of special guest, guitarist Dave Thompson. Dave attended Berklee College of Music and studied with Herb Pomeroy. He has toured with Juno-winners Kellylee Evans and Susan Aglukark as well as worked many theatre productions at the Stratford Festival and Drayton Entertainment. He is an adjunct at Heritage College in Cambridge teaching music business, performance and recording arts. The evening promises to be a stellar musical event!

May 6 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


Avataar is lead by saxophonist/flutist/composer Sundar Viswanathan.  He marries modern jazz, Classical Indian music, Brazilian lyricism, atmospheric textures and ambiance, Javanese gamelan, and contemporary improvisation.

Avataar’s music has drawn comparison to Mahavishnu Orchestra, Keith Jarrett with Jan Garbarek, late Coltrane, and Oregon. The resulting confluence is a mesmerizing blend of rhythmic hypnotism, sonic landscapes and soaring melody that marries ancient and modern musical sounds. Cleverly layered and cinematic in scope, the music drives and swirls through a vast sonic palette. The album is questing in nature – the concepts of impermanence and universal consciousness feature in many of the compositions, as do first-rate musical interpretations and improvisations highlighting guitar, saxophone and vocals.

Here is Avataar with “Monsoon”

Alysha Brilla and the Brillion Dollar Band
May 12 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Alysha Brilla

“Alysha’s music is the sound of summer. It’s pop, a bit jazzy and bit bluesy. That’s what makes it fun.’James Keelaghan

Twice Juno Award nominated singer-songwriter, producer and community organizer Alysha Brilla is a critically acclaimed Indian-Tanzanian Canadian artist who just released her third self produced album, “HUMAN”. Brilla’s new music draws on the influences of her unique background. An ancestral journey to her father’s homeland in 2015 delivered inspiration for Brilla to write and produce the 10 new songs on “Human”; a lyrically timely record blending Indian & East African sounds with a contemporary aesthetic. The first single from this newest release, “No More Violence”, is currently charting in the top 3 of the CBC Top 20 Countdown.

Born in Mississauga, Ontario to an Indo-Tanzanian immigrant father and a European-Canadian mother, Alysha Brilla grew up in a household with unique discourse around the arts and social politics. Brilla is an arts educator; frequently conducting music and social justice workshops in elementary schools across Canada and internationally.  TEDx speaker and Oktoberfest Woman Of The Year Arts & Culture Award recipient, Brilla has been a mentor for YWCA’s “Rock Weekend”, helping marginalized female youth develop social skills through music. A multi-racial child of the Indian diaspora, Alysha’s art aims to unite people through the Canadian cultural kaleidoscope and bring light to social inequity issues in Canada and abroad. Her music and workshops feature strong themes of cultural diversity, gender equality and inclusivity.

Here is Alisha with “Rescue”

Kirk MacDonald Quartet
May 13 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Kirk MacDonald

With an established reputation as one of Canada’s leading saxophonists, Kirk MacDonald cut his first record at the age of thirteen. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, and has worked with many leading musicians in a variety of musical genres. He has performed on over fifty CDs as both leader and sideman, and has participated in numerous national broadcast recordings for CBC Radio. In addition to performing extensively throughout Canada, he has also performed in the USA, Spain, France, Italy, Holland, Monaco, Australia, Korea, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.

Kirk has been active as an educator for 27 years at leading jazz studies programs such as at the University of Toronto and McGill University. Kirk is presently a full time professor at Humber College in Toronto, where he holds a cross appointment in the Music Degree Program and the Community Music School. Kirk also acts as the Artistic Director for the “Youth Jazz Canada” project and directs the “National Youth Jazz Combo”. This project also hosts a 2 week workshop in the summer for high school and post-secondary students.

Here is Kirk at Lincoln Center

Dave Young Trio with Jerzy Kaplanek
May 19 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


Don’t miss this one!! Jerzy Kaplanek of the Pendereki String quartet, and fine jazz fiddler, teams up with three of the Jazz Room’s favorite players – Dave Young, Robi Botos and Ethan Ardelli  for this concert.

Internationally renowned violinist Jerzy Kapłanek has established himself as a chamber musician, member of the celebrated Penderecki String Quartet, soloist, dedicated teacher, adjudicator, artistic director of QuartetFest and lately as a jazz violinist

He performs throughout Europe, Asia, and North and South America over 80 concerts each season. His album of works by Karol Szymanowski with pianist Stéphan Sylvestre was highly praised by The Strad magazine as “an outstanding release”. His discography with the Penderecki Quartet comprises over two dozen CD’s (Marquis, Eclectra, CBC, CMC, EMI labels), including the highly acclaimed recording of the complete string quartets of Béla Bartók.

Mr. Kaplanek has collaborated with such notable musicians as pianists David Braid, Leopoldo Erice , Vladimir Feltsman, Janina Fialkowska Francine Kay, Lev Natochenny, Jamie Parker Stéphan Sylvestre, cellists Marc Johnson, Antonio Lysy Paul Pulford, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and clarinetist James Campbell amongst others. He is frequently heard on CBC Radio and NPR. He has made solo appearances with the Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Peterborough and CBC Vancouver Symphonies and was a featured soloist at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Dave Young – Bass

Jerzy Kaplanek – Violin

Ethan Ardelli – Drums

Robi Botos – Piano

Rudy Smith Quartet Denmark/Toronto
May 20 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


In a career spanning six decades, alto steel pan player Rudy Smith has built a reputation exploring and bridging the world of jazz with his native instrument, the steel pan, finding in each a sincere spirit of musical expression. In the process, he has performed and recorded with many jazz musicians and artists from almost every corner of the musical universe.

Born on 15.june 1943 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Rudy Smith played his first pan at age six, although he is largely self-taught. As a teenager he witnessed and heard some of the greatest pan players: Dudley Smith, Evris Barquain, Theo Stephens, Neville Jules, Spree Simon, Ernest Ferreira, Emanuel Jack Riley, Belgrave Bonaparte, Eamon Thorpe, etc.

Rudy perfected his unique style by studying jazz luminaries: Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Oscar Peterson and John Coltrane. Mr. Smith has toured internationally and has performed at some of the major clubs and jazz festivals in the USA, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean.

Rudy Smith -  Steel Pan

Kieran Overs – Bass

Nancy Walker – Piano

Ethan Ardelli – Drums

Here is Rudy live in Vienna

Dave Woodhead’s Confabulation
May 26 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

The Confabulation couch clouds 72

“complex, orchestrated music, complete with unusual time signatures,
backed by the stellar Confabulation…
There’s a lot to absorb, but the melodies get embedded in your head.”  – Penguin Eggs

Bassist and multi-instrumentalist David Woodhead is one of the most accomplished and truly original musicians in Canada, and his whimsical and rambunctious Confabulation is a thrill-ride for players and audiences alike.

As a versatile and sympathetic session player, his work can be heard on well over 250 albums including many by Canada’s finest contemporary folk artists. In concert he has played the Montreux Jazz Festival with Don Ross and Oliver Schroer, the Calgary Folk Fest with Gil Scott-Heron and worked with saxophone legend David Sanborn.

He was the long-time bassist for Canadian folk legend Stan Rogers, worked extensively with Loreena McKennitt, Valdy, and visionary violinist and composer Oliver Schroer. Recently he has toured the US, UK and Australia with master songwriter James Keelaghan.

The band is the perfect vehicle for his genre-defying musical eclecticism: melodic fretless bass, harp-like fingerstyle ukulele, intriguing time signatures and some unexpected chord changes. All are blended seamlessly together in riveting compositions that range from the quirky to the kick-ass to the contemplative.

Not surprisingly, the Confabulation is also a showcase for Toronto’s hottest musical innovators, counting among its 20-odd alumni artists such as Jaron Freeman-Fox, Rich Brown, Anne Lindsay and the Shuffle Demons’ Richard Underhill.

Doug Wilde – Keyboards

Colleen Allen – Reeds

Rich Greenspoon – Drums

Bob Cohen – Guitar

Dave Woodhead – Bass

Andrea Superstein Quartet Vancouver
May 27 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Andrea Superstein

“if you thought that no vocalist could ever bring anything new to a classic, think again.” – The Whole Note

You have to know the rules in order to break them. Andrea Superstein knows the rules. And she breaks them. Gleefully,taking swing, blues, Latin and ballad and subtly infusing pop, indie rock and other unexpected styles and elements, she as Tom Harrison, music critic for the Vancouver Province, said, is “redefining jazz.” Playing on her eclectic tastes and broad musical knowledge, Superstein takes listeners on a musical trip that starts in Tin Pan Alley and twists its way to today. Re-envisioning standards like I Love Paris, giving them a trip-hop facelift, while turning pop anthems like Venus into dark sultry film noir scores, she invites us to question genre and ask why music has boundaries at all.

Yes, you can call Andrea Superstein a Jazz singer, but she’s redefining what that means. Think Amy Winehouse meets Portishead. Superstein’s debut performance at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in 2010, earned her a nomination for a Galaxie Rising Star award and launched her into the limelight. She is an in-demand performer across the country, and has appeared at a variety of festivals, events, and venues. She shared a triple bill with Canadian female heavyweights Laila Biali and Brandi Disterheft at the 2014 Vancouver International Jazz Festival. And during her most recent tour, she was featured at the Calgary all-Canadian jazz festival and the Yardbird Festival in Edmonton

Here is Andrea with “I Want to be Evil”

Ray Podhornik Sextet
Jun 2 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Jeff King’s “Catalyst”
Jun 3 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Juno award winning musician Jeff King is a Toronto-based saxophonist and woodwind specialist that performs all over Canada, the U.S., and internationally. As a student in university he studied classical saxophone, flute and clarinet. After finishing his degree he quickly moved to Toronto to study jazz he has been based there ever since. Along with running his own band, he has performed and recorded with the likes of Paquito D’Rivera, Paul Shaffer, Tony Bennett, Randy Brecker, Paul Anka, Lonnie Smith, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Jeff Healey, Lorne Lofsky, Hilario Duran, David Braid, Joel Haynes, Keiran Overs, Rich Brown, Alexis Baro, Robi Botos, Archie Alleyne…and pretty much everybody else in the Canadian jazz scene! Jeff has been teaching woodwinds for over 20 years.
Jeff King – tenor sax and flute.
Luis Deniz – alto sax
Rich Brown – bass
Ted Quinlan guitar,
Mark Kelso – drums
Ryan Cassidy
Jun 9 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Joe Bowden Sextet
Jun 10 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Jun 17 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Montuno Police
Jun 23 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


Six accomplished musicians playing original instrumental compositions, combining wicked grooves and creative interplay. They mix the harmonic and improvisational traditions of North American Jazz with the rhythmic influences of Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Arabic music. The result is an aural explosion of global grooves taking the ear in new and riveting musical directions.

The core band is:

Gord Sheard – Piano

Geoff Young – Guitar

Mark Kelso -Drums

John Johnson -Saxophone,

Collin Barrett – Bass

Rick Shadrach Lazar  – Percussion and Leader

Special Adjunct  Members:

Kevin Turcotte, Demetri Petsalakis.

Geoff Keezer and Gillan Margot
Jun 24 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


With his highly regarded discography, unique compositions, and acclaimed performances in a variety of configurations, multiple GRAMMY®-nominated pianist Geoffrey Keezer commands the attention typically reserved for the living legends of jazz. Whether recording with jazzy chanteuses Diana Krall or Dianne Reeves, touring with trumpet king Chris Botti, or collaborating with pop icon Sting, sax legend Wayne Shorter, guitar wizard Jim Hall, star bassist Christian McBride or vibes master Joe Locke, Geoffrey “has more than enough virtuosity and sheer musical wit and intelligence to weave all of his apparently disparate strands of influence into an original and compelling whole” (Time Magazine).


Gillian Margot is the rarest sort of singer – the kind that makes people sit up and listen. She has an exquisite voice, a disarmingly wide range and a style that eschews jazz singer clichés in favor of an original, interpretive delivery grounded in a song’s lyrical and emotional content. Her voice can be heard in commercials and in film and television programs, from which it is clear that Ms. Margot feels equally at home in many musical worlds including jazz, R&B, and pop. She offers a stage presence and confidence honed through years of performing major venues on several continents with top-tier talent.

A native of Toronto (Canada), Margot started in jazz the hard-working, old-fashioned way. Performing several sets a night and leading a wide variety of ensembles, she also studied under a generation of jazz legends including Oscar Peterson, Freddy Cole, Carol Welsman, and Norman Simmons before expanding her talents beyond borders through collaborations with artists in the United States, Australia, and Asia, where she’s earned devoted followings.

Her vast experience includes sharing the stage with a host of great talents including rock icon Sting, famed soprano Kathleen Battle, conductors Wayne Marshall (London Philharmonic) and Jukka-Pekka Saraste (Toronto Symphony Orchestra), jazz voice Kevin Mahogany, New York trumpet star Jeremy Pelt, jazz innovator Robert Glasper, the Strickland Brothers, and multiple GRAMMY-nominated pianist Geoffrey Keezer.  She has also had the privilege to perform for prestigious audiences including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Peter Gabriel, and the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander PC CC OOnt CD QC.

Geoff and Gillian with “Suddenly I See”