Laila Biali Trio with Larnell Lewis and George Koller (CONCERT ONLY)
This concert is the Finale to the 16th Annual McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind NeuroMusic Virtual Conference
Registration for this day long event that includes the concert is also FREE and all are welcome!
Visit NeuroMusic.ca for Conference Information
**If you have already registered for the conference, you do not need to register for the concert**
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.
LARNELL LEWIS is a Grammy Award winning musician, composer, producer, and educator. A Toronto native, Larnell has quickly established himself as one of the most diverse and in-demand drummers currently on the music scene. Along with his long-standing position behind the drums in Snarky Puppy, Larnell has led many highly successful groups of his own and toured the globe with some of the most well known names in music, including Etienne Charles, Gregory Porter, Benny Golson, Lalah Hathaway, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Lisa Fisher, Kurt Elling, Gary Burton, and more.
Larnell’s immense talent, fierce creativity, and continually evolving musical style is what has kept him at the top of the list as a musical collaborator for artists across the globe. In June 2018, Larnell released his highly anticipated debut album In The Moment, which featured ten original compositions in a variety of musical styles. His vast talents not just as a musician but as a producer also landed him the opportunity to act as Musical Director for a performance during the Toronto International Film Festival’s premiere of the critically-acclaimed documentary of Quincy Jones, Quincy, (directed by Rashida Jones & Al Hicks), where he led performances from the likes of Yebba Smith, Mark Ronson, and Chaka Khan.
Among his many accolades, including the 2004 Oscar Peterson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music (Humber College), Larnell was named as the fourth recipient of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Emerging Jazz Award (2017), which is a $10,000 cash prize intended to support the creation of a project that features original compositions from each recipient.
Larnell’s talents can be seen worldwide via his various social media platforms, which have a combined total of over 100,000 followers. His reach to fans and musicians of all generations is proof that he not only possesses undeniable talent, but a spirit unlike any other that excites, inspires, and encourages music fans of all ages to further explore their musical tastes and follow him on the road he has paved for himself.
George Koller is a bassist, producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and promoter of jazz, world and folk music through concerts and his home grown label ZSAN Records (the zenith of science art and nature). In a wildly diverse and expansive career, he has worked with everyone, including Peter Gabriel, Eartha Kitt, Chaka Khan, Eddie Harris, Loreena Mckennitt, David Clayton-Thomas, Jim McCarty (The Yardbirds), Ian Tyson, The Shuffle Demons, Laila Biali, John Mcdermott, Larry Coryell, Karrin Allyson, Phil Woods, Michael Mcdonald, Carvin Winans, Sonny Stitt, Valdy, Eliana Cuevas and Holly Cole and many others.
A prolific composer, producer and bassist, George plays a variety of instruments many of which are featured on his award-winning debut solo album “Music for Plants, Animals and Humans”. He has performer/bassist/ credits on over 1600 albums in various genres and producer credits on at least 250 albums. Some recent producer credits include: Laila Biali, Fern Lindzon, Eliana Cuevas, David Clayton-Thomas, Rita Chiarelli, Monsoon, Near East, June Garber, Lara Solnicki, Julie Michels, Linda Carone, Shuffle Demons,Toronto Tabla Ensemble, and Jim McCarty of the Yardbirds. George has also recorded numerous yoga/meditation/wellness albums such as Cello by the Sea, India, Bali, Breathing for Relaxation, Peaceful Harmony, Zen Tranquility, Zen Harmony, Zen Serenity, Rest Well for labels such as Dan Gibson’s ‘Solitudes’, Sommerset Records and Avalon Records.
George was awarded the HMV “fresh blood” grand prize, has been voted National Jazz Awards “Bassist of the Year”, has a Toronto Star critics award and 2 “Porcupine” awards and has been on many Juno award-nominated and winning albums. His latest solo album is called “Secret Space Program”. George continues to release digital singles on his ZSAN Records label and in 2020 has begun a special series of singles from various artists recorded in studio sessions called “Orphan Songs”, where he is highlighting unique and stand alone compositions that have not found their homes in an album.
Born in 1958 and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, George was fortunate to have great teachers and a thriving musical community to work in. Tommy Banks, Big Miller, Bob Stroup and Judi Singh were his mentors. George studied classical music at the University of Alberta and jazz at Grant McCewan University, where he also became the bass instructor. George then moved to Calgary during what he would describe as an artistic renaissance period and he flourished as a gigging jazz musician and studio session player. In 1984, at age 26, George moved to his now home Toronto. He has toured Canada at least 35 times, the USA, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Brazil, Ecuador, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, Estonia, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, India, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, South Africa and New Zealand.