On Wednesday December 13th at 7:30pm at the Crescent Arts Centre, Jazz Winnipeg will be presenting the phenomenal singer and pianist Laila Biali in a show called Winter Songs and Holiday Classics. This is sure to be marvelous a holiday concert that will feature not only the incredibly talented Laila Biali, but also the renowned Juno Winning and Grammy nominated Canadian saxophonist and flute player Jane Bunnett. They will be joined by a group that consists of rhythm section with some added strings to give the concert some extra warmth and holiday goodness.

For those unfamiliar with Laila Biali, she has won a Juno for Vocal Jazz album of the year. She was also the youngest ever double winner to receive top prizes at the Canadian National Jazz awards where she was named SOCAN’s composer of the year, and Keyboardist of the Year. She has recorded eight albums that have garnered rave reviews from publications such as DownBeat Magazine and Parade Magazine. She has toured with the likes of Sting, Chris Botti, and Suzanne Vega, and has very firmly established herself as one of Canada’s top jazz singers and pianists.

The concert on Wednesday the 13th of December will feature holiday favorites such as “Sleigh Ride,” ‘Let it Snow,” “Joy to The World”  and “Carol of the Bells,” but interpreted in an all new, fantastic way that only someone as singular as Biali can present. “These songs will be totally reimagined as they have never been heard before…it’s that wonderful interplay of that which is familiar and that which is new that will really help the audience to enjoy what they’re hearing,” says Biali

The concert will also feature what Biali calls holiday adjacent tunes such as Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” Jane Siberry’s “Calling all Angels” and Joni Mitchel’s “River.” As Biali explains, “These are not Christmas songs…but it is really important to me that folks who come out to the shows…that they are not just hit over the head with all that holiday sparkle. Of course there is going to be some of that, but we also want to offer songs that feel a little more poignant, for those who might be experiencing some bitter sweetness this holiday…and I think that’s a lot of us.”

One of the other highlights of the show is that Biali will be premiering for Winnipeg audiences a suite of winter songs that she wrote at the Banff Centre, while she was doing a writing residency there. “While I was there I was in my little cabin in the woods just surrounded by trees and snow-capped mountains…just in the magic of winter and so suddenly I found myself writing winter songs. Much of the first half of the night will be the premiere of these original songs,” says Biali.

Joining Biali on stage to help present this marvelous line up of music, will be some of the finest musicians on the scene today.  Notably Biali will be joined by Canadian jazz icon Jane Bunnett on Saxophone and flute. For Biali this opportunity is a dream come true. “Jane is someone I’ve admired mostly from a distance for most of my career. She is one of these powerhouse women in jazz. She is so diverse…she is also an incredible ally to have musically and otherwise. I just knew she was the right fit for ‘Winter songs and Holiday Classics,’ because she is such an incredible flautist and soprano saxophonist.”

Biali will also be accompanied by her husband Ben Whittman on drums, and Daniel Fortin on Bass. Adding to this powerhouse rhythm section will be violinist Rebekah Wolkstein, John Sellick on viola and Samuel Nadurak on cello. The strings helping to add some holiday glimmer, warmth and smoothness to the show.

Laila Biali’s “Winter Songs and Holiday Classics,” as presented by Jazz Winnipeg is going to be an event that should not be missed! A stellar line-up of musicians performing winter music that is sure to give warmth and holiday spirit to anyone.

The concert takes place on Wednesday, December 13th at 7:30pm at the Crescent Arts Centre. For more details visit Jazz Winnipeg’s website.