Since moving to Montreal from Lévis, Que. in 1984, Yves Léveillé has been celebrated by both Canada and France as one of the most skilled jazz pianists in either country.
He is in high demand both at home and abroad, with performances as far away as Singapore, and this demand brings his quartet back to the West End Cultural Centre on Thursday, Feb. 9.
Léveillé has been touted as “one of the most gifted composers of the current scene of every stripe” by Dominique Denis of Toronto’s L’express.
In the 1990s, Léveillé created his ensemble in order to play his original works, but he is also known for backing and working with other singers and artists, most notably Paul McCandless in New York in 2007.
Léveillé released his first album in 1999, entitled Signal Commun, which was released on the then fledgling Montreal-based jazz label Effendi. In the time since, the pianist has released five additional albums on Effendi, all of which were critically acclaimed.
Léveillé’s most recent work, 2010’s Chorégraphie, has been called “indispensable or essential” by Le Devoir, and received nearly perfect star ratings.
Christophe Rodriquez of Le Journal de Montreal called Léveillé a “choreographer sensitive to the slightest movements of the soul with a remarkable sense of cohesion and adventure.” The album covers his work over the previous three years, and features many collaborations with other Montreal talent.
See Yves Léveillé at the West End Cultural Centre on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16 in advance at the WECC, Ticketmaster, Music Trader and The Winnipeg Folk Festival Music Store, and are $20 at the door. Visit www.yvesleveille.ca.
- Kaeleigh Ayre
After spending a good part of the last year going back and forth over the 49th parallel, Winnipeg/Montreal-based vocal group Chic Gamine is happy to be playing a half-homecoming at the West End Cultural Centre this Friday.
“We have a lot of friends and family here that are super supportive, so it always feels good,” singer Alexa Dirks says a day before the band heads south again, this time to shoot a video in Minneapolis.
Between touring the States with musician Marc Broussard and a fall showcase in New York, the band - which also consists of percussionist Sacha Daoud and fellow singers Andrina Turenne, Ariane Jean and Annick Bremault - has been winning over fans everywhere with their intricate harmonies.
They are looking to spread the love with their first American release, a collection of freshly remixed tracks from their first two albums.
January saw the Juno Award-winning group perform a delicious rendition of their song I Don’t Lie (re-written as I Love Pie) on the CBC Kids’ show Mamma Yamma.
“It’s not every day you get to interact with a puppet,” Turenne says. “We met the puppeteer, Ali Eisner, at the Dauphin City Music Festival this summer and we totally hit it off with her.”
Eisner loved the band’s set, and took some CDs back to her producers at the CBC who were also won over by the group’s dulcet tones.
“Sure enough, they booked us a month later,” Turenne says.
Catch Chic Gamine Friday, Feb. 10 at the West End Cultural Centre. Advance tickets are $20 at the WECC, Music Trader and the Winnipeg Folk Festival Music Store, and $25 at the door. Visit www.chicgamine.ca.
- Alex Krosney
This versatile transplanted Winnipegger returns to the city on a solo tour of Canada.
Ross, not one to be idle about music, has built an impressive repertoire of songs since his last tour across Western Canada.
Musically evolved out of a Paul Simon-like songwriting style, he has been known to emulate the pop sound of Jason Mraz or even get bluesy in a John Mayer vein.
However, his influences have combined to create a sound with sincerity and heart; thoughtful and honest is how Marc Ross performs.
Ross is a natural collaborator, having worked with many local musicians over the years.
He spent five years with the Winnipeg rock band Elyon, before branching off to other projects including working with folk singer-songwriter Matt Epp and pop chanteuse Jodi King.
In 2010, Ross collaborated with producer Adrian Bradford to produce his heartfelt and catchy EP, Blue Sky Behind. The EP shows incredible diversity, from simple piano and guitar reflections, to lively clap-along-style pop tunes.
With constant touring across Canada, Ross has kept his musical muscles in great shape.
Ross is constantly writing songs and tinkering with his craft. Whether it’s an album cut or played acoustically on a ukulele, Ross can play his songs with a disarming honesty. He’s nothing if not dedicated.
This current tour sends Ross as far east as Montreal. With his Winnipeg date coming on the end of his string of shows, it is bound to be a good one.
Marc Ross is playing at Dylan O’Connor’s Irish Pub, 2609 Portage Ave., on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. with local acts Mitten Claps and The Mighty Oak. Tickets are $5 at the door. For more information, visit www.marcrossmusic.ca.
- Timothy Dyck
Published in Volume 66, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 8, 2012)