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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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Big Band Theory – Special Event!!
May 24 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


 This is a last minute booking but we are making the show free to passholders!!

The Big Band Theory had its genesis in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, without any clear idea where this project might end up. And… WOW! what an explosion of sound when seventeen of Kitchener-Waterloo’s (and beyond) most talented jazzers showed up for that first rehearsal in October 2011.

The band’s music ranges from the danceable swing music of Benny Goodman’s orchestra and Sammy Nestico to Jazz Rock of the 1970s right up to the extraordinary contemporary sound of the Big Phat Band of L.A. The Big Band Theory is an exciting band to listen to and hear live.

Music Director – Robin Habermehl

Vocals – Robin Habermehl


Ken Hadley Flute, soprano & alto sax

Mark Laver Soprano & alto sax

Robin Habermehl soprano, alto & tenor sax, vocals

Ryan Cassidy Tenor sax

Taylor Ellingham Baritone sax

Tim Moher Alto sax


Bruce Gordon Trumpet

Chris Alcantara Trumpet

Kevin Kalbfleisch Trumpet

Randy Brown Trumpet

Rob Gellner Trumpet

Paul Ellingham Bass Trombone

Robin Jessome Trombone

Ron Schirm Trombone

Steve Hagedorn Trombone


Andriy Tykhonov Piano

Andy Macpherson Drums

Greg Prior Bass

Stephen Zurakowsky Guitar

Can we fit them all on the stage? Yes we can!!

BBT plays “The Count is In”

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”

Jaymz Bee’s One Stop Vocal Jazz Safari @ The Jazz Room
Jun 1 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

JAZZ.FM91 presents The One Stop Vocal Jazz Safari

24 Stellar Vocalists in One Show!

Produced and hosted by Jaymz Bee

Musical Director John Sherwood (piano) with Mark Kelso (drums), George Koller (bass) and Eric St-Laurent (drums)
vocal-jazz-safari24 vocalist in a three hour showcase!
Featuring June Garber, Genevieve Marentette, Jay Douglas, Joni Nehrita, Denielle Bassels and many many more!

Dinner at 6, show at 7.
This show is only available to donors of JAZZ.FM91.
Donate $250 for one, $500 for two or get a $1,000 tax receipt and reserve a table of four.
A full tax receipt for your donation – this concert is a thank you gift for supporting Jazz & The Arts.

For more information visit www.jazz.fm or donate now at 1-800-811-2400

Ray Podhornik Sextet
Jun 2 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


“…his solos and horn section work will drop your jaw” – The Soul Mission.

“Ray Podhornik has been “rated as one of the top three trumpet players in Canada” – BarbaraFulton.com

The Ray Podhornik  Sextet brings a Latin touch to what approaches a big band sound. A versatile and accomplished artist, Ray’s high energy trumpet lead can take many turns from soul and blues to rock to swing.

Randall Coryell drums
Brian deWolfe guitar
Sean OConnor sax
Ray Podhornik trumpet
Howie Southwood percussion
Androy Tykonov piano
Tyler Walker bass

This ain’t jazz, but check out Ray wailing with Shawn Kellerman at the Starlight……


Jeff King’s “Catalyst”
Jun 3 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Jeff King
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


Local multi instrumentalist Ryan Cassidy  grew up with  the tutelage of Robin Habermehl  as well as music staff at Forest Heights Collegiate. Ryan developed his skills to become one of the area’s top young jazz musicians. He continued his formal training through the Applied Music program at Mohawk College, immersed in the musical theory and practice that would support his growth as a musical practitioner, composer and arranger.

Ryan’s musical influences are broad, from the powerful and expressive style of such saxophonists as Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, to the rock guitar sound of Eddie Van Halen. His personal jazz style is touched by his lifelong fascination with a broad range of musical genres, including soul, funk, R&B and rock.

He’s played with and learned from such notable musicians as Don Thompson, Tom Scott, Adrean Farrugia, Darcy Hepner and Pat Collins.

Currently, Ryan plays lead tenor with KW Big Band Theory and lends his sax and flute stylings to the Dan Howler Band, an “eclectic band with a rock’n roll soul.”


Joe Bowden Sextet
Jun 10 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Joe Boden

A drummer, composer and arranger, Joe Bowden spent his formative years in the projects of Halifax, Nova Scotia. He moved to Toronto in the 80’s to pursue his music career. He toured with Salome Bey from ’84-’88, which included a performance at Expo ’86 in Vancouver. He also performed at the ’99 Barbados Jazz Festival, which featured Wynton and Brandford Marsalis, Regina Belle and Luther Vandross.

Joe then pursued his Music degree and Business diploma at Humber College. Since then, he has worked with some of Toronto’s top jazz, R&B and pop artists: Divine Brown, Alana Bridgewater, Maestro Fresh Wes, Jackie Richardson, Rich Kidd and Dave Young, to name a few.

“African Dream” at Hugh’s Room

Bernie Carroll Project
Jun 16 @ 8:30 am – 11:30 pm

Following their triumphant performances at The Jazz Room during The Winter Jazz Festival in 2016, and The Registry Theatre in 2017, The Bernie Carroll Project returns to The Jazz Room.

Veteran Drummer Bernie Carroll will be joined by outstanding local Jazz musicians Dave Wiffen, Tenor Saxophone, Flutist Doug Wicken, Bassist Al Richardson and Pianist Ralph Hetke. Collectively, the band represents well over 150 years of playing Jazz in all of its formats, from duos to 18 piece big bands – and everything in-between.

An eclectic mix of music from some of the Jazz legends… Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others, will be featured alongside original tunes penned by band members Doug Wicken and Dave Wiffen, as well as the late Jazz Pianist Barry Wills, a great musician and dear friend who is sorely missed by our local Jazz community and musicians alike.

From subtle, expressive ballads, to energetic, foot-tapping, wailers The Bernie Carroll Project is one band that you don’t want to miss



Jun 17 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


Innovative and electrifying, Toronto jazz drummer Ernesto Cervini has energy to burn, whether radiating it from behind his kit or working on any number of musical and educational projects.  With his sextet Turboprop Cervini flexes his arranging muscles, creating a vast landscape of musical textures, and moods on which these monster musicians can play.     The band’s sound is reminiscent to the hard swinging Jazz Messenger bands of Art Blakey, although they tackle a wide range of music; from Charlie Parker to Claude Debussy to Radiohead, plus originals from all the band members.   They have already toured across Canada to rave reviews, and released their debut album on ANZIC Records (NYC) in the spring of 2015.

Joel Frahm -  tenor saxophone,

Adrean Farrugia – piano,

Dan Loomis -  bass

Ernesto Cervini – dums

Tara Davidson – alto saxophone

William Carn -  trombone.

Jun 22 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


Pilar’s statement….

met my father when I was six, he died when I was eleven, and I only saw him about 12 times in my life.   Without knowing him well as a child, I  seemed to have inherited his love for words. I did not know his story or that he was a poet until my thirties.

My parents met in Spain fighting the fascists. Ramon, my father, was a soldier and Becky, my mother, was a nurse. My father broke his leg crossing the Pyrenees, and ended up in the hospital, which is how they met. They were both Communists – true revolutionaries.  Expatriates who found a home in Cuernavaca, Mexico. After the war he stepped deeply into his African American hueritage and began to speak a radical position on racism. His poetry was born from the unique perspective of being black but looking white.
You may have heard Italian singer.  Pilar the last time she played the Jazz Room with the Sicilian Jazz Project. One on of the world’s great singers.
Pilar with Dopo L’Amore
Montuno Police
Jun 23 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Montuno Police

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.

Genevieve Marentette
Jun 24 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Genevieve Marentette

“She is, to me, the perfect balance of fragile beauty and a burning intensity that makes her and her music irresistible.” – Don Thompson (Canadian Jazz Giant, Order of Canada)

“A lovely muse of music…a femme fatale from film noir…jazz improvisation at its best…that’s Geneviève “Gigi” Marentette” - Don Franks (Actor, musician)

“This fresh new jazz singer puts as much originality into her covers of the newer repertoire as she does the standards from long ago. With the most minimal of backing, she makes all of this material exciting. ”Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio

“I plan my calendar around Geneviève’s performances…You should too.” - Jaymz Bee JAZZFM.91

Geneviève (Gigi) Marentette lived in Hong Kong for 8 years, then Europe and now has returned to home town of Toronto. In March 2015 she released a six-song EP produced by George Koller and titled after her nickname “Gigi”. She was also featured in a duet with Hall of Fame vocalist David Clayton-Thomas on “Combo”, his latest record of jazz standards. In October 2015 she began producing a community concert called Cover One Another, featuring Toronto’s top artistes interpreting each others tunes. In one evening with Gigi you can expect to hear a mix of standards, modern interpretations, Brazilian, French and a bit of the Blues!

Genevieve Marentette – Vocals

George Koller – Bass

Mark Kieswetter – Piano

Primrose Samba at Lula Lounge


In Orbit
Jun 25 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Yamaha Performing Artist and saxophonist with Dave Matthews Band Jeff Coffin rejects all labels and categories other than “music” and “musician” when asking how to describe his playing, writing and himself.

Jeff is an internationally recognized saxophonist, bandleader, composer and educator, and has been traveling the globe since the mid-1990′s. He is a three-time Grammy Award winner with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, with whom he began playing in 1997. In July 2008, Jeff began touring with Dave Matthews Band, and officially joined the group in 2009, following the passing of founding member LeRoi Moore.

Some of the artists with whom Jeff has shared the stage and the recording studio include a “who’s who” of musicians, such as Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Dave Matthews Band, Branford Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, DJ Logic, New Orleans Social Club, Maceo Parker, McCoy Tyner, Baaba Maal, Phish, Mike Clark’s Prescription Trio, Galactic, Kirk Whalum, Widespread Panic, Chris Thile, Willie Nelson, Chester Thompson, Garth Brooks, Van Morrison, J.D. Souther, Vinnie Colaiuta, The Dixie Chicks, ‘Rakalam’ Bob Moses, Stanton Moore, Brooks and Dunn, Tuvan Throat Singers – the Alash Ensemble & Konger Ol Ondar, George Porter Jr., Umphrey’s McGee, Del McCoury, John Scofield, Yonder Mountain String Band, Marc Broussard, Martina McBride, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Wailers and many, many others.

Jeff is a heavily in-demand Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician and, since 2001, has presented over 300 music clinics to students of all ages, from Farmington, Maine to Perth, Australia to Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa, with raving reviews.


  • Jeff Coffin – sax
  • Felix Pastorius – bass
  • David Occhipinti -guitar
  • Davide Direnzo – drums
  • Tom Reynolds – piano

Felix Pastorius