Rudy Royston - drums

Rudy Royston - drums

A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Rudy Royston was raised in Denver, Colorado. He began playing drums and percussion as a toddler, playing in church and along with an eclectic array of LPs his siblings would have on rotation. The youngest of five, Royston attributes his musical interests and palate to his siblings and parents. Rudy's older brothers and sister were avid listeners of all genres of music, his mother a constant support, and his father the supervisor of shipping at an established children’s percussion instrument making company. Rudy’s brothers would expose him to a myriad of music, and his father would bring home slightly damaged percussion instruments. As a result, Rudy grew up surrounded by bongos, rhythm sticks and xylophones, recorders, metallophones, glockenspiels, drums, and many other percussion instruments. In the fourth grade, with his mother's ceaseless support, Rudy began studying music more formally, beginning his studies in reading and writing music. He continued his music studies through middle and into high school—receiving some training on viola and tenor saxophone as well.

While a sophomore in high school, Rudy attended the Telluride Jazz Camp in Telluride, Colorado on scholarship, where he studied jazz drum set for the first time with Duffy Jackson and Ed Soph. It was then Rudy knew he would pursue music for the rest of his life. He began studying classical and jazz repertoire, as well as marching percussion, rising to achieve membership into topnotch city and state-wide high school ensembles.

Rudy went on to study marching percussion, classical percussion and Jazz Performance at University of Northern Colorado, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and University of Denver. Rudy graduated with honors from University of Denver, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Poetry. He later received K-12 teaching credentials from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

While in college, Rudy began playing with well-regarded trumpeter Ron Miles, whom Rudy deems his greatest teacher and music mentor. Now a major figure in the Denver music scene, Rudy performed with some of Colorado's finest artists such as Fred Fuller, Dale Bruning, Laura Newman, Fred Hess, Dotsero, Leslie Drayton, Joe Keel, Nelson Rangell and Bill Frisell—with whom he still plays.

Upon graduating college, Rudy went on to play and record in the gospel, alternative rock and jazz scenes in Denver and around the United States. He taught music 10 years in public schools before relocating to the east coast in 2006 to pursue graduate studies in music at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, studying jazz percussion with the great Victor Lewis. Rudy quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with world-renowned artists such as Javon Jackson, Bill Frisell, Les McCann, David Gilmore, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Osby, Jennifer Holiday, Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, George Colligan, Don Byron, Stanley Cowell, Tom Harrell, John Ellis, Jenny Scheinman, John Patitucci, Dave Douglas, Branford Marsalis, Rudresh Mahanthappa and The Mingus Big Band, to name a few. A lover of all genres of music, Rudy continues to expand his horizons as he gains increasing recognition in the world of Jazz. You may see Royston’s performance schedule, as well as music downloads on his webspace: www.rudyroyston.com.

Rich Underhill - Saxophone

Richard Underhill is a Canadian jazz saxophonist. A founding member of the jazz fusion group The Shuffle Demons, he has toured Europe and Canada to critical acclaim for over 27 years. Underhill won a 2003 Juno Award for his jazz solo debut Tales from the Blue Lounge, and was nominated for the Prix du Jazz at the 2003 Montreal Jazz Festival. He followed up with the Juno nominated Moment in Time in 2005, Juno nominated Kensington Suite in 2007 and the CD/DVD Free Spirit in 2010.

The founding member of Toronto's Shuffle Demons, Underhill took the Bop Rap ensemble from the streets of Toronto across Canada and to Europe. The group played jazz, folk, world, and rock festivals from Halifax to Vancouver and from Italy to Estonia from 1986 – 1997, touring across Canada 15 times and through Europe 15 times. They played at several Jazz festivals including the North Sea Jazz, Molde Jazz, London’s Outside In Jazz festival, the Edinburgh Jazz festival, the Sfinks festival, and Jazz a Vienne.

They celebrated their 20th Anniversary with a cross Canada tour and by breaking the Guinness Book World Records for most sax players performing a song (900), although the record was later broken. The Shuffle Demons continue to tour and performed at festivals in India, China, and Europe in 2006 and in Thailand, South Korea, and the USA in 2010. The band is currently working on a new album and toured Australia and New Zealand in 2011.

Richard has performed and recorded with The Neville Brothers/Meters, Han Bennink, Julius Hemphill, Dr. John, Kathleen Edwards, Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur, Rob McConnell, Molly Johnson, Blue Rodeo, Andy Stochansky, Hawksley Workman, The Sadies, Luke Doucet, Bob Wiseman, Soul Rebels, Kevin Breit, NOMA and Toronto jazz stalwarts like Steve Koven, Tyler Yarema and George Koller.

A session player and sideman, he has written horn and string arrangements for Kathleen Edwards, Molly Johnson, Andy Stochansky, Hawksley Workman, Blue Rodeo, Bob Wiseman, Big Rude Jake and Lorraine Segato.

He leads several diverse groups including his jazz quintet, the Funk Explosion, and the improvising electronic groove ensemble Astrogroove. He also leads an improvising/free-jazz group, whose members vary but are mostly horn players, called The Kensington Community Orchestra. They most often play in Toronto's Kensington Market to celebrate car-free Sundays, and annually on December 21 for the solstice party Festival of Lights.

Rich Underhill

Amanda Tosoff - piano

Amanda Tosoff - piano

Amanda Tosoff is a B.C.-raised Toronto-based pianist, composer, and bandleader, with five albums to her credit. Along her fascinating career path, Amanda 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 Montréal 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. Most recently, she was awarded a graduating scholarship – given out to promising graduates – after completing her Master's degree from the University of Toronto.

Over the course of four earlier albums, Tosoff has established herself as one of the most exciting new talents on the Canadian jazz scene. On her latest 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 (sung by highly-regarded singer Felicity Williams of such bands as Hobson’s Choice, Broken Social Scene, and Bahamas). The result is an eclectic collection that incorporates elements of pop, art song, classical, folk and jazz.

Words will introduce 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. Keep and eye out for her next release Earth Voices, featuring a cast of fantastic Canadian vocalists... stay tuned!

Cory Weeds - saxophone

A saxophonist with an expressive sound rooted in Jazz tradition, a label owner tirelessly documenting unsung Jazz heroes, one of Canada’s most important Jazz impresarios, the hardest-working man in Jazz business – Cory Weeds is all of these things, and much more.

Weeds may be best known as the founder and owner of Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, which he successfully ran for more than 14 years. Weeds built the Cellar to become one of North America’s best Jazz clubs, where masters such as George Coleman, Jeff Hamilton, Louis Hayes, David “Fathead” Newman, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and the finest Jazz musicians from Vancouver and across Canada performed before it closed in February 2014.

But he wasn’t just the club owner. As a saxophonist who studied at the University of North Texas and Capilano University, Weeds spent many nights on the Cellar bandstand as a leader and sideman. He held his own when performing with icons like Joey DeFrancesco and Christian McBride. Weeds has also recorded fifteen albums as a leader, including: Live at Frankie’s (with Terell Stafford and Harold Mabern) Explosion (with Gary Smulyan, PJ Perry, Steve Davis and Joe Magnarelli), Let’s Groove (with Mike Ledonne), Dreamsville (with The Jeff Hamilton Trio), It’s Easy To Remember (with David Hazeltine, Joe Magnarelli, Paul Gill and Jason Tiemann, reached #1 on the Jazz Week Charts)  This Happy Madness, (with The Jeff Hamilton Trio, reached #1 on the Jazz Week Charts),  Condition Blue, The Music Of Jackie McLean (with Peter Bernstein, Mike LeDonne, and Joe Farnsworth)., As Of Now (with the Harold Mabern Trio), Let’s Go (with Steve Davis), the Juno-nominated Up A Step (Cory Weeds Quartet), With Benefits (with Lewis Nash and Peter Washington), Just Like That (with the Tilden Webb Trio), The Many Deeds of Cory Weeds (with Joey DeFrancesco), Everything’s Coming Up Weeds (with Jim Rotondi), and Big Weeds (with Peter Bernstein, Mike LeDonne, and Joe Farnsworth).

An expressive sound rooted in Jazz tradition

While the Cellar is now a happy memory, the record label Weeds established in 2001 is alive and well. Rebranded in 2018, The Cellar Music Group has put out over 160 recordings, including many that have spent extensive time on the JazzWeek charts, with many more releases planned. In addition to playing on numerous sessions, Weeds has also served as producer on more than 120 recordings. In 2017 Weeds celebrated a win at the 2017 Juno Awards when Metalwood won for Jazz Album Of The Year: Group.

On the presentation front, Weeds has booked Frankie’s Jazz Club in downtown Vancouver since 2016.  In addition to Frankie’s, Weeds presents music all over the city at various venues including The Italian Cultural Center, Hycroft at The University Women’s Club, Club 45 in North Vancouver and The Emerald.

Pat Collins - bass

Pat Collins, bass

Originally from Qualicum Beach, B.C., bassist Pat Collins moved to Toronto in 1988 and has become one of the more active bassists on the Canadian Jazz Scene.  Pat has performed with such legendary musicians as Oscar Peterson, Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Herb Ellis, Jimmy Cobb and Lee Konitz.  He has also performed with legendary Canadian musicians as Moe Koffman, Rob McConnell, Ed Bickert, Peter Appleyard and Don Thompson.

In January, 2005, Pat released his first CD as a leader, on Cornerstone Records, entitled “In the Moment” featuring some of Canada’s premier jazz musicians, Mike Murley, Reg Schwager and Barry Elmes. The CD has received rave reviews, including “In the Moment is a CD that’s very easy to like”, (Richard Bourcier, JazzReview.com), and “This is a classy contribution to the jazz canon”, (Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star). The Pat Collins Quartet was nominated for a 2005 National Jazz Award as “Acoustic Group of the Year”, “Album of the Year” in 2006, and Pat was nominated as “Acoustic Bassist of the Year” in 2005 and 2006.

In May 2020, Pat released his second CD as a leader, also on Cornerstone Records.  It's a trio recording featuring two of Canada's premier jazz musicians, Tom Szczesniak on accordion, and Reg Schwager on guitar. The album is entitled, "Time Well Spent" and features compositions by all members of the trio, as well as tunes by Paul Simon and Michel Legrand.

Pat is also an educator, and is on the full-time music faculty of Mohawk College, in Hamilton, Ontario.  Pat also taught for many years at Humber College in Toronto, as well as many summer music camps including the Interprovincial Music Camp, Kincardine Summer Music Festival and the National Music Camp.  Pat is currently on the faculty of the Prairielands Jazz Camp in Regina, Saskatchewan as well as the Jazz for Adults camp at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

Pat is active as an adjudicator and clinician at music festivals across Canada, including Musicfest Canada, The Golden Horseshoe Musicfest, and the West Coast Jazz Festival.

Brad Turner - trumpet

Trumpeter, pianist, drummer and composer Brad Turner is one of Canada’s most in-demand
and highly esteemed jazz musicians. Brad has performed and/or recorded with
such artists as Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, Kenny Wheeler, John Scofield, Michael Moore,
Reneé Rosnes, Jimmy Greene, Ingrid Jensen, Peggy Lee, Dave Douglas, Mike Murley,
Seamus Blake, Kenny Werner, Mino Cinelu, Russell Malone, Charles McPherson, Phil
Dwyer, Roy McCurdy, Harold Mabern and Ernie Watts. Brad's groups have opened for
McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry, Diana Krall, Ahmad Jamal and
Tony Bennett.

As a leader, Brad has released nine albums, seven as a trumpeter with the Brad Turner
Quartet, and two as a pianist with his trio. Three of those releases have been nominated
for Juno awards.

In 1997 and 1998 Brad won Juno Awards for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and
again in 2017 for Best Jazz Album recognizing his work in the internationally acclaimed
electric jazz group Metalwood.

Winner of National Jazz Awards for Jazz Composer of the Year (2000 and 2002), Brad
was awarded Musician of the Year for 2005, and was a recipient of 2006 Victor Lynch-
Staunton Prize for excellence in musical achievement.

In 2008 and again in 2009, Brad took home National Jazz Awards for Trumpeter of the
Year and Producer of the year, and was the recipient of the 2014 Vancouver
Mayor’s Art Award for music.

Brad has been a member of the jazz studies faculty at Capilano University in North Vancouver, BC, since 1992.

Brad Turner, trumpet

Ryan Oliver - Saxophone and Flute

Juno-nominated saxophonist Ryan Oliver honed his craft living on Canada’s west coast, and in Amsterdam, Toronto and New York.  He has maintained a busy schedule as one of Canada’s most in-demand saxophonists, recently releasing Strive!, featuring jazz legend Victor Lewis. Or the last 10 years, Oliver has toured throughout the world with legendary Canadian group, The Shuffle Demons.  He is a member of Juno-award-winning Aboriginal blues/rock performer Derek Miller’s band, and appears on Miller’s most recent recording, featuring Stevie Ray Vaughn’s rhythm section Double Trouble and Willie Nelson.  Oliver is also a member of the house band for Miller’s television series, airing on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Oliver’s band, The Cookers, has toured extensively throughout Canada, appearing on numerous recordings and broadcasts including live video and radio broadcasts for CBC. He has received numerous Canada and Ontario Arts Council grants for touring, recording and education and was nominated for the 2013 Prix De Jazz.

Oliver holds a Masters degree in Music Performance from Rutgers University, where he led the undergraduate big band, and has taught saxophone and ensemble clinics at universities and schools throughout the world for over 20 years. He has worked as an adjudicator for the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship Fund and the Victoria Jazz Festival. In addition to his faculty position for the Island Jazz Intensive, Ryan is the new Executive Director for CYMC beginning 2018. The passion for innovation and forging meaningful connections with communities that Ryan brings with him stands well for guiding CYMC through the next years.

Ryan's website

“Ryan Oliver is one of the most promising Canadian jazz musicians to emerge on the scene at the dawn of the 21st century” – ALL MUSIC GUIDE

“Canadian jazz is in good hands with players like Ryan Oliver.” – Pat Labarbera