Jodi Proznick Quartetjodiproznick.com
JUNO-nominated jazz bassist Jodi Proznick is a stalwart on the Vancouver jazz scene as a performer and educator (she is a professor of music at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley, BC). Her latest album Sun Songs (eight years in the making) will be featured in this concert. She wrote the songs as a dedication to her mother who recently passed away after a 10 year journey with Alzheimer’s Dementia and as celebration for the birth of her son. Sun Songs invites the listener into a musical experience that explores the depths of and reverence for the dualities of life. Sun Songs represents the unbridled potential of every woman’s most powerful contribution – her story. In fact, the album may become a beacon for other artists aspiring to share their own stories with the world. Inside each song, a radiant beauty echoes, and there’s a gateway to the many different ways we can all light up the sky. In the land where jazz and pop meet, two genres that have always been intrinsically woven together, Sun Songs becomes the template for a new weave. Every track is an exquisite tapestry of modern harmonies and rhythms, layered with memorable melodies and potent lyrics. With the addition of singer Laila Biali, whose luminous vocals lift the songs to unparalleled heights. The other players on the album are Jodi on acoustic bass, her husband Tilden Webb (piano), Jesse Cahill (drums), and Steve Kaldestad (tenor saxophone). Infinitely talented as a songwriter, producer, and player, Jodi Proznick is also a mentor for the next generation of musicians.
Laila Biali would like to reintroduce herself.
The raven-haired musician has won awards (SOCAN Composer of the Year and Keyboardist of the Year at Canada’s National Jazz Awards) and played the world’s most prestigious venues (North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, Carnegie Hall). She’s toured with GRAMMY award winners (Chris Botti, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega) and recorded with an international icon (Sting). In short: She’s established herself as one of Canadian jazz’s brightest young stars. And now, almost two decades into a successful career, she’s ready for a change.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Laila says of her upcoming self-titled album. “I’ve been playing music professionally for years but this album feels, in a way, like a new beginning.”
Led by the funky single, “Got to Love,” LAILA BIALI is the culmination of everything the acclaimed singer-songwriter has achieved thus far. “Writing this album, I felt like a kid in a candy store, wanting to try everything,” Laila explains. “It took some time for me to find my voice as a songwriter, and I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself into any one particular genre.”
The end result is an eclectic-but-focused album that Laila describes as “fully representative.” “There are elements of improvisation, so the jazz is there,” she says. “There’s also an edgier songwriting persona that I think has always been there but took some time to hone in on.”
Catchy, sophisticated, and unlike anything currently on the radio, it’s pop music, but not the kind that can be neatly tagged by an algorithm. Melodies take thrilling left turns and pre-choruses give way to instrumental interludes. One minute Biali is soaring over a bluesy storm of handclaps and hard-charging keyboard riffs (“Got to Love”), the next she is pouring out her soul on an impassioned, slow-burning plea for empathy (“Refugee.”) It’s pop music, but the experimental, distinctly human variety popularized by Regina Spektor, Rachael Yamagata, and Sara Bareilles.
Balancing the competing impulses was a challenge, but the final outcome was worth it. “I’m more excited about this record than any other project of mine to date,” Laila declares. Fans should be too.