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This Sunday, September 17th, at 6:30pm and 8:30pm, Jazz Winnipeg will be presenting the first concerts of the Jazz at the Fort Garry series for this 2023-24 season.

The concerts on Sunday will feature the multi-Juno Award winning pianist David Braid. Hailed as “one of Canada’s true Renaissance men,” Braid has established himself as one the pre-eminent jazz pianists in the country while at the same time pushing the bounds of composition, and successfully infusing non-jazz elements into his own music such as classical and traditional folk melodies   

What makes David Braid’s performances here in Winnipeg so particularly special is that he will be giving two 60-minute shows with two different completely different quartets. The two quartets will be performing Braid’s own compositions that combine multinational folk melodies with jazz inspiration. These are going to be two fantastic shows!

The first show is at 6:30pm and features Kerry DuWors on Violin, Cathy Wood on clarinet, Serkan Alagök on bassoon and David Braid on piano. The second show starts at 8:30pm and will feature Greg Gatien on saxophone, Marika Galea on bass, Serkan Alagök drums, and David Braid on piano.

The music that will be heard on Sunday melds jazz with music from the former Soviet Republics, such as Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. One of the big inspirations for Braid was travelling to these parts of the world and discovering their traditions and music.  As Braid explains, “For the last little less than ten years I’ve been doing quite a lot of concertizing in areas that I guess you could connect economically and politically with the silk road. After visiting this amazing ancient instrument museum in Uzbekistan…where I was certain that what I was looking at was the DNA of Western classical music…in the sense that these prototypes of instruments which looked like pre-cursors to some of our instruments. For me…it was this though experiment that in these cultural places I was going, I was in touch with the DNA of Western art music. So what I started to do was collect these melodies and the rhythms that I found very interesting…it was very natural that with a background in jazz which is fundamentally informed by a rhythmical system…it seemed very natural to combine all these things together to form a new musical program.”

The concerts on Sunday at the Fort Garry Hotel will, at times, actually feature two different interpretations of the same musical material. The quartet of piano, clarinet, violin and bassoon will be a more classical interpretation of these melodies, whereas the quartet of saxophone, piano, drums, bass will be a freer more improvised interpretation of the melodies. “I think it will be very interesting for the audience to hear the same types of melodies twice but two completely different rendering of them,” says Braid.

For virtuoso Turkish bassoonist and jazz drummer Serkan Alagök, the opportunity to play Braid music is a thrill. “David’s approach is so natural…the music is also very natural for me, but its’ also so sophisticated. He understands the bassoon really well as a composer. As a drummer…I’m familiar with the odd time signatures of Middle Eastern music but he’s writing very sophisticated bass lines and also harmonies…it’s so much fun and it’s amazing music,” says Alagök.

The two concerts this Sunday night at 6:30pm and 8:30pm at the Fort Gary Hotel with David Braid and his to quartets are going to be truly memorable experiences. For tickets visit the Jazz Winnipeg website.