Categories Archives: Jazz Combos

“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!”

As the song says, jazz swings, whether it makes you want to dance, “mellow out” or sing along to the popular standards. Jazz shouldn’t be intimidating — in fact, it’s one of the most popular types of music being performed these days. Functions from wedding receptions to large corporate events have successfully used jazz ensembles and are rebooking groups for their subsequent events.

Jazz lends a cool sophistication to your event, whether it’s a two-piece sax and keyboard ensemble or a piano/percussion duo. Other examples include: sax/keyboard/bass trio; piano/vocal duo; with flute and clarinet as popular additions to these groups. With the addition of a drummer, you can dance the night away…

Large ensembles (12-15 members) recreate the sounds of the Big Band era, performing the classic standards made famous by greats such as Bennie Goodman, Duke Ellington and others.

So the choice is yours and Nova Scotia’s finest musicians are available to fill your jazz needs.

Los Primos

The Los Primos Project (Cultural Exchange with Cuba) has developed a program that has created 5 young ensembles who are looking for places to play. They are called The Satellite Primos and there are bands in Tantallon, Rockingham, Dartmouth, Preston and Truro. These serious young musicians are taught by local professionals and gain experience through performance at various Los Primos events, school concerts and community based public performances. Their music is Jazz and Latin Jazz with improvised solos that have the maturity of much older players. Under the direction of Jeff Goodspeed this project is gaining a great reputation throughout Nova Scotia.

      Holly Arsenault

      Pianist

      Pianist

      In a career that spans 30+ years, jazz pianist Holly Arsenault has earned acclaim as a leader, soloist and sideperson. She has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia, The Daniel Matto Quintet, Karen Myatt, and has many shows to her credit as a pit musician at Neptune Theatre. Her original compositions have been lauded nationally and abroad, and have been featured in Global/ABC TV’s Rookie Blue; her work in musical theatre has been recognized with Dora and Merritt awards. She is the producer and host of Holly Arsenault Presents, a series showcasing some of her favourite vocalists from her extensive work as an accompanist, and is currently in collaboration with playwright Bruce Graham on a musical about Charles Tupper and the founding fathers of Confederation. (more…)

          Dave Staples

          Pianist and Trombone Player

          Pianist and Trombone Player

          Dave Staples is a well known pianist, trombone player and music educator from Nova Scotia. Along with his duties as a teacher in the Halifax school system, he is also very active on the local scene as a freelance musician. He has performed with such national and international artists as Dionne Warwick, Bobby Curtola, Lena Boudreau, Kenny Wheeler, Mike Murley and Kurt Elling and continues to work with the best of the East Coast Music scene, including Scott Macmillan, John Chaisson, Ian Janes, Jeff Goodspeed, Tom Roach, Jamie Gatti, Nova Sinfonia and the Maritime Jazz Orchestra. Dave has also recorded extensively and has been on at least six ECMA-nominated projects in the last few years. In 1996, he received the ECMA Jazz Artist of the Year award with Jeff Goodspeed for their album Eastern Passage.

              Karen Myatt

              Vocalist

              Vocalist

              Vocalist Karen Myatt has appeared on stages in Toronto, New York, Mexico, and throughout Canada in musical theatre, cabaret and jazz performances. She has trained at the Randolph Academy in Toronto and is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She has studied privately with acclaimed Canadian soprano and new music interpreter Janice Jackson, and with New York City Opera star Eileen Schauler. In NYC she was named one of Broadway’s Rising Stars and performed in the Broadway Summer Series under the direction of Tony-Nominated Emily Skinner. (more…)

                  Daniel Matto

                  Daniel began his musical training as a trombone player in his hometown of Adelaide, South Australia. For seven years, he performed and toured throughout Australia, Sweden and Finland in big bands and other ensembles. Daniel then realized his true musical passion was singing and went on to study voice at the Australian Conservatory of Music in Sydney.

                  As a jazz vocalist, Daniel had the opportunity to perform and mentor with some of Australia’s top jazz musicians including Joy Yates, Catie Halliday, Dave MacRae and Adrian Whitehead before embarking on his solo career. He then showcased his unique brand of swinging entertainment throughout Australia and New Zealand, receiving stunning reviews at numerous world-class events including the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, the Manly Jazz Festival and the Tarunga Jazz Festival, being dubbed “Adelaide’s very own Frank Sinatra…a promising young crooner” (The Adelaide Advertiser, 2001). Daniel has also had the honour of performing for the Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Mary of Denmark at the 2005 Red Cross Royal Performance Gala. (more…)

                      Mike Cowie

                      Mike Cowie is a trumpet player, singer and songwriter in a funk/jazz/blues style.

                      After the success of his Big Night Out CD, which brought Mike’s original jazz/funk based music to audiences in Canada and Europe. Mike has followed up with the release of his latest CD Lucid Blue. A stunning fusion of Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way period with hip-hop beats and electronica. Ten new Mike Cowie originals, combine computer/DJ soundscapes with his stunning trumpet tone. The funky beats, beautiful melodies and sophisticated chord progressions create a sound that is new, fresh and timeless. (more…)

                          Latin Groove

                          Latin Groove is one of Halifax’s hottest dance bands. It is a salsa band that grew out of the cultural exchange between musicians in Cuba and Nova Scotia called Los Primos. Many music students have toured Cuba with Los Primos and have learned to play this infectious music from the best salsa musicians in the world. Los Primos graduates and professional musicians from Halifax work together to bring the sounds of Cuba to dance events in Nova Scotia all year round.

                          (more…)