Pro Series gig launches season and tour

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BRANDON – Two Toronto-based jazz musicians — saxophonist Tara Davidson and her spouse, trombonist William Carn — are back in Brandon after a three-year absence to kick off both the 2018–19 pro series and their Western Canadian tour.

They won’t be alone when they play at Brandon University’s Lorne Watson Recital Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Joining them to form a special Brandon edition of the Carn Davidson 5 + 4 ensemble will be lead trumpet player Alex Brown, acoustic bassist Dan Fortin, and drummer Ernesto Cervini from Toronto, as well as trumpet player Dean McNeill from Saskatoon, and three local musicians from Brandon: tenor saxophonist Greg Gatien, baritone saxophonist and bass clarinetist Matt Steckler, and bass trombonist Aaron Wilson.

“We are very excited to return to Brandon to perform,” said Davidson, who has previously played here with Mike Murley as well as with her own quartet and her Duets project, while Carn brought his quintet and his electric-rock-jazz group Run Stop Run for local audiences to enjoy.

“We both have had very positive experiences performing in Brandon,” she said. “This engagement is particularly special because we get to perform with four local, non-Ontarian musicians. This collaborative Carn Davidson 5 + 4 tour will be the first time (this) project has performed outside Ontario borders. We’re very excited to share our music with new audiences.”

Poster for Carn Davidson 5 + 4 tour features an image of a cat on top and of Davidson and Carn in the middle, with dates of Sept. 18 in Brandon, Sept. 21 in Edmonton, Sept. 22 and 23 in Saskatoon, Sept. 26 in Lloydminster and Sept. 28 in Regina. Images of cats line the bottom of the poster
The Carn Davidson 5 + 4 Western Canadian tour will also include performances in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Lloydminster, Sask., and Regina.

Since 2012, the Carn Davidson 9 has released two recordings entitled “Nine” and “Murphy,” both of which received Juno nominations for Jazz Album of the Year. The band’s pro series’ programme features tracks from both recordings and offers opportunities to all of the performers to display their individuality.

“We’ve tried to create a balanced set of music for the night. Since William and I both contribute compositions for the group, we often try to split the number of compositions in our sets to include 50 per cent of mine and 50 per cent of his. We also have to consider the style and energy of the songs and balance the flow of the set accordingly.”

The Carn Davidson 5 + 4 concert is the first of 10 concerts in this year’s pro series season, presented by the School of Music at BU. Also included will be a Homecoming jazz recital with Gatien and jazz pianist Michael Cain on Oct. 11, an evening with pianist Eve Egoyan on Oct. 30, the 2018 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition winner’s recital presenting violinist Amy Hillis and pianist Katherine Dowling on Nov. 20, and a Holiday event featuring Vancouver’s Pacific Baroque Orchestra and Winnipeg’s Canzona Baroque Choir. This concert will take place on Dec. 4, at Knox United Church.

In the first three months of 2019, the pro series will continue with the Ensemble Made in Canada’s Mosaïque Project on Jan. 29, followed three weeks later, on Feb. 12, with the annual favourite Faculty Concert. On Feb. 26, BU School of Music alumnus cellist Yuri Hooker returns with his spouse – conductor and collaborative pianist Michelle Mourre. To close the season, on March 5, operatic tenor Jeremy Dutcher will give a concert of his own compositions, inspired by the music of his Wolastoq First Nation culture.

New this year will be a special pro series subscriber recital, which will take place at the Music Studio on Nov. 5, introducing the Ethan Ardelli jazz quartet. Finally, returning under the auspices of the pro series is the annual New Music Festival, directed by pianist Megumi Masaki. It will be held on March 19 and 20, with guests — composer Ken Steen and visual-media artist Gene Gort — along with BU ensembles.

“This season, the pro series’ offerings are wide in scope, from well-loved Baroque works to newly composed, award-worthy jazz charts. Many of these compositions will be new to Brandon audiences, and I truly hope that you will join me to hear the exceptional performers who will grace the Lorne Watson Recital Hall stage,” said Gatien, who is the Dean of Music at BU.

“It is my distinct pleasure to welcome both musicians and audience members to the School of Music for another unparalleled concert series.”

The Carn Davidson 5 + 4 concert will take place at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building at Brandon University. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and alumni. Subscriptions are also available for the entire pro series and are $75 for adults and $50 for students, seniors and alumni. Tickets and subscriptions are available at the door or in advance in the Main Office in the School of Music. So that this event may be enjoyed by all, please contact Joyce Burba in the School of Music Main Office at  204-727-9631 or in advance with any accessibility considerations.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant through Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit


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