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Double CD release concert features U of M’s Richard Gillis

March 20, 2014 — 

Come out to a double CD release concert, featuring U of M’s Richard Gillis, who releases his new CD The Journey (a collaboration with Bjorn Thoroddsen), and Jeff Presslaff, who will release The Complete Rebirth of the Cool.

In The Journey Richard Gillis and Icelandic guitarist Bjorn Thoroddsen team up for their eighth CD. The recording is a collection of 11 originals that reflect some of their musical travels together. The opening track, “Life of Whales,” was written on a recent trip to Iceland that involved an unfortunate encounter with a whale watching vessel named “Life of Whales.” “Patha” (path), “Asa” (hope), “Yatra” (the journey) are a suite exploring exotic sounds and rhythms. Other tracks include: “Ciro” (named for a drummer Richard met and played with in Cuba), “Parado” (means lazy or idle in Spanish), and “O” (a beautiful piece by Bjorn). Perhaps the most meaningful track is “Precious,” written in the few days following the Newtown shootings on December 14, 2012. Performers on the recording and concert are: Richard Gillis, Bjorn Thoroddsen, Will Bonness (U of M), Gilles Fournier, Eric Platz, Scott Senior, Greg Gatien, Shannon Kristjanson and Jonathan Gillis.

Jeff Presslaff’s new recording is comprised of original compositions using the nine-piece instrumentation that Miles Davis used on his album The Complete Birth of the Cool (alto sax, baritone sax, trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba, piano, bass and drums). The goal of the album was to recreate the conditions of that famous record: the most active musicians in a scene writing for each other, with the aim of creating a new sound. The compositions are all by Manitoba composers with two contributions from musical colleague Dean McNeill of the University of Saskatchewan (director of the newly formed Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra). The project was recorded live at Brandon University, and everyone on the recording is associated with WJO.


The event will be held at the Neil Bardal Centre, 3030 Notre Dame Avenue on Saturday, March 29 at 8:00 PM.

Tickets are $10 and are available at the WJO website, Neil Bardal’s (949-2200).


Jeff Presslaff was born in Manhattan and educated at Princeton and Wesleyan universities. Since moving to Canada, Jeff has been involved with performing and writing for a number of ensembles, including the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra.

Richard Gillis is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, and brass chair at the Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba.


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