Allison Au Jazz Quartetwww.allisonau.com
Alto saxophonist Allison Au refuses to be defined – or as All About Jazz reviewer David Wayne put it: “Au is an artist with a mind of her own. She panders to no-one.” Born to a Chinese father and a Jewish mother, and raised in multicultural Toronto, Allison soon turned to jazz as an outlet for self-expression and artistic experimentation. Her beautifully bittersweet compositions weave a mosaic of influences – including images of nature – into a seamless and soulful sound that’s steeped in the tradition of jazz, but skillfully laced with elements of classical, pop, R&B/hip hop, Latin and world music.
The Allison Au Quartet (Allison, saxophone; Todd Pentney, piano; Jon Maharaj, bass; Fabio Ragnelli, drums) has taken its “imaginatively written and performed modern jazz” (Mike Gates, UK Vibe) to the JUNO Awards twice (a nomination for its 2013 debut release “The Sky Was Pale Blue” and a win for the 2016 follow-up album “Forest Grove”). The band’s latest recording, “Wander Wonder” (2018), is nominated for a 2019 JUNO. On it, Au once again proves to be a marvelous composer of engaging, accessible and melodic tunes, which explore a lot of playful territory while maintaining a cohesive mood.
In 2017, the Quartet received a series of additional honors: the TD Grand Prix de Jazz at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Stingray Rising Stars Award at the TD Halifax Jazz Festival. Allison also was named a 2017 Finalist for the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award and made CBC Music’s first annual list of the 35 best Canadian jazz artists under the age of 35.