The Georgia Straight Jazz Society

At the Avalanche Bar & Grill 275 8th Street, Courtenay

November 3rd at 7:30pm

Amanda Tossoff

Members $10, non members $12

It's been more than six years since Amanda Tossoff presented a Sunday night concert in Courtenay, and we're really pleased we've finally been able to bring her back.

Amanda is a B.C.-raised pianist, composer, and bandleader, with five albums to her credit. Visit her website at Amanda Tossoff. Along her fascinating career path, she has performed with such internationally recognized artists as Ingrid Jensen, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Phil Dwyer, Christine Jensen, Brad Turner, Kelly Jefferson, and Jodi Proznick. She has also opened for jazz legends Bobby Hutcherson, Renee Rosnes, Oliver Jones, and Brazilian singer Luciana Souza, and her groups have recorded for CBC Radio programs Hot Air, Tonic, Jazz Beat, and Espace Musique's series, Portraits Jazz.

Tosoff has earned critical kudos, the respect of her peers, and such prestigious awards as the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award at the 2007 Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the General Motors Grand Prix de Jazz at the 2009 Montreal Jazz Festival. In 2010, her quartet was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Banff Centre Winter Workshop, and in 2011 Tosoff received a Canada Council grant to live and study in New York City.

Over the course of four earlier albums, Amanda has established herself as one of the most exciting new talents on the Canadian jazz scene. On her brand new release Words she takes an adventurous leap beyond the confines of conventional jazz. She has taken poems and lyrics that possess a personal resonance for her and framed them in original new compositions that utilize vocals for the first time. The result is an eclectic collection that incorporates elements of pop, art song, classical, folk and jazz. The opening piece on Words fittingly shows the impact of words. It is an adaptation of Wordsworth's "Daffodils", a staple of English literature classes given fresh new life here. Tosoff explains, "I came across this poem as I was going through a difficult period in my life, and I just loved it. I actually wrote it out and hung it on my wall as a daily reminder. I've always wanted to write a melody to it."

The catalyst for Words, "Owl Pellet" is a wonderfully evocative piece that musically conveys the sense of darkness, mystery and awe portrayed in the Tim Bowling poem. The poet himself is thrilled at Tosoff's interpretation, commenting that "her haunting composition for 'Owl Pellet' adds layers of beauty and complexity to what can only be described as the mysterious spaces between the words. In that always intriguing and intimate dance between text and sound, she has created an eerie aural homage to the unfathomable being who hovers out there on the black branch between the stars."

Words has introduced Tosoff to a wider audience of music lovers, but she has long impressed jazz critics and aficionados with her earlier albums, all primarily featuring original compositions. Her first two records, 2006's Still Life and 2008's Wait and See, appeared on noted Vancouver label Cellar Live, while 2010's Looking North was released on Amanda's own imprint, Oceans Beyond Records. In 2013, she put out her first live recording, Live at the Cellar, also on Oceans Beyond.

Tosoff currently maintains a busy performing and teaching schedule in Toronto, but she's appearing in Courtenay as part of her cross-Canada Tour featuring her 2016 Words release. Thursday's show extends beyond jazz, into other elements, plus poetic interpretations. A performance not to be missed!

For more information about our amazing calendar of performances between now and late May 2017, please browse our website or follow us on Facebook.

GSJS showcases jazz live in the Comox Valley, giving music lovers an opportunity to enjoys local, regional and internationally-known jazz musicians.

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