show: Saturday 23 February, 9pm
This six-piece group, featuring the instrumentation of a fairly conventional modern jazz ensemble, is the primary conduit for Ken Aldcroft's compositional and conceptual work. In performance, a set list serves less as a road map for the execution of Ken's varied and dynamic pieces and more like a menu of possibilities; the group's members can, individually or collectively, spontaneously arrange any of the available material. Employing a system of aural and gestural cues, the group playfully and creatively reshapes each piece in the spirit of free improvisation, the approach that underpins the ensemble's composite musical experience. The current personnel of the Convergence Ensemble is the result of the amalgamation of various Aldcroft ensembles of and, with numerous recordings and national tours under their collective belt, the sextet is a thoroughly cohesive musical unit. Each player is as dynamic a soloist on his or her instrument as they come not only in Toronto's lively creative music scene, but Canada-wide as well. They have released four CDs on the Trio Records and Production label: Sneaky Pete-Slugs' (2012) Our Hospitality (2009), Trolleys (2008) and The Great Divide (2006).
With a rigorous and pan-idiomatic approach to both composition and improvisation, guitarist Ken Aldcroft is a key practitioner in Toronto's dynamic creative music scene. After establishing himself as a compelling new voice in the jazz scene of his hometown, Vancouver, Ken moved to Toronto in 2001 and quickly made connections with like-minded collaborators. Since then, his own multi‐faceted development as an improvising guitarist, bandleader, composer, producer, and organizer has corresponded with the re-emergence of Toronto as an important centre for creative improvised music-making. As a guitarist, Ken extends the jazz tradition that lies at the core of his music education. Through his commitment to a wide-open field of musical influence and to forging new collaborative ties, Ken has systematically sought new and challenging contexts in which to improvise. As a result, his playing reflects the breadth of his interests, from the extended bebop of a jazz repertory project like Hat and Beard, performing the composition of Thelonious Monk, to the language free improvisation that he explores in collective improvisation settings such as with the Ken Aldcroft/William Parker duo. This variety comes into its fullest view with Ken's two solo recordings; Home: Solo Guitar Compositions and Vocabulary: Solo Guitar Improvisations, both are passionate musical reflections on his ongoing development as an improvising guitarist.
Bassist Wes Neal combines sympathetic and rock‐solid accompaniment on song-based material with fabulous improvising instincts that put his technical command of the bass to compellingly creative use. Apart from several of Ken Aldcroft's projects, Wes has been part of several key groups in Toronto's creative music scene: Kyle Brenders Quartet, Marcel
Aucoin, The Rent and the Halcyon Science Band.
Alto saxophonist Karen Ng received her education from Humber College's renowned jazz program and earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Music at York University. She has had the great opportunity of studying with the country's top saxophonists including Pat LaBarbara, Alex Dean, Kirk McDonald, Mike Murley and Kelly Jefferson. Noted for her involvement with Toronto based bands Do Make Say Think, Broken Social Scene, Woodshed Orchestra and Contemporary Jazz Juno award winning group the Happiness Project, she has had the pleasure of touring Europe, Asia and North America. Canadian festival appearances include
Hillside, Ottawa Folk Festival, Guelph Jazz, Halifax Jazz, Sappy Fest and TD Toronto Jazz.
Nicole Rampersaud's trumpet playing can switch facilely from harmonically rich lyricism to playful aggression on a dime, and her improvising instincts make her an ideal partner (or foil) in the context of polyphonic improvisation that the Convergence Ensemble provides. In Toronto Nicole is a member of the Halcyon Science Band, the improvising trio cRL with
Allison Cameron and Germaine Liu, Brodie West's Eucalyptus and continues to develop her solo trumpet project.
Joe Sorbara is a highly inventive drummer and percussionist with a penchant for coaxing music out of practically anything. Joe's drumkit is regularly augmented with found and prepared material that ensures that the sounds at his ready disposal are practically orchestral in scope. He combines these skills with an extraordinary time-feel that makes
him one of the most swinging drummers in Canada when the music demands it of him. Joe's primary creative outlet is his 'seven-or-more-tet' Other Foot First. Elsewhere, he plays in the Remnants Trio, Ronda Rindone's Quorum, the AIMToronto Orchestra and a trio with Wes Neal and British saxophonist Evan Parker.
Scott Thomson is a trombonist and composer who works in Montréal and Toronto. He plays in regular ensembles in many styles, and prizes ad hoc improvising as a way to meet many creative people. He has studied with Roswell Rudd, Jean Derome, Eddie Prévost, and John Oswald. He leads The Rent, a quintet dedicated to repertory by Steve Lacy as well as
Scott's songs. The Rent's all-Lacy self-titled debut recording was released on Ambiences Magnétiques in 2010. Scott has composed a series of site-specific works that he calls 'cartographic compositions' for mobile musicians and audiences in unconventional performance contexts for which he has had several notable commissions and residencies.
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