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News

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Biography

Biography

After nine albums of original material, François Bourassa has become an ambassador for Québec’s thriving jazz community at an international level. A paragon of both consistency and evolution, he continues to seek out new challenges for himself, his colleagues and his growing community of listeners. His most recent album, Number 9 (2017), chronicles his discography while also providing a subtle namecheck to the Beatles’ psychedelic oeuvre, “Revolution #9” and The White Album. One highlight of the album, “C&K,” salutes two more of Bourassa’s guiding influences: Carla Bley (to whom he paid tribute at the Montreal Jazz Festival with the Orchestre National de Jazz de Montréal) and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Number 9 was heralded as one of the best Canadian jazz albums of 2017 (Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen) and praised by Bley herself as a “wondrous piece of work.” 

His eponymous quartet has been a staple of Montreal’s artistic landscape since the early 1980s. The band features founding bassist Guy Boisvert, longtime saxophonist André Leroux, and Guillaume Pilote as the most recent addition in Bourassa’s mentorship of young drummers. Initially formed as a trio, Bourassa won the Montreal Jazz Festival’s New Talent prize in 1985, kickstarting their touring career throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. In 1998, Bourassa’s trio joined forces with André Leroux, a saxophonist and flutist equally at home with contemporary saxophone quartet music as a featured soloist in jazz orchestras. Their 2001 Live album, recorded at Toronto’s Top O’ The Senator. received a Juno award. Over the past decade, the quartet have garnered multiple Québécois Félix and Opus awards for their recordings and live performances, respectively. In celebration of his compositional output, Bourassa was also the recipient of SOCAN’s Hagood Hardy award in 2011.

– David Ryshpan

Bourassa has continued to pursue artistic projects outside of his quartet, including a trio with multi-reedist Jean Derome and percussionist Pierre Tanguay, both pillars of Québec’s improvised music community; artistic residencies in New York and Paris; and a growing list of orchestral commissions, chamber music works and ballet scores. Other active collaborations include En Trois Couleurs with fellow pianist/composer Yves Leveillé and percussionist Marie-Josée Simard; the award-winning Re: Bill Evans with legendary bassist Michel Donato, saxophonist Frank Lozano, and Tanguay; and a tribute to Dave Brubeck led by renowned saxophonist and educator Rémi Bolduc.

Born in Montreal in 1959, Bourassa was initially captivated by the electric guitar and the blues-rock of Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix. Keyboard-centric progressive rock was the catalyst to return to the piano at the age of 17. Through the gateway of Chick Corea’s Return To Forever, Bourassa worked his way backwards through the jazz tradition. After completing a degree in composition at McGill University, Bourassa pursued a Master’s at New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Fred Hersch and George Russell, among others. Now, Bourassa finds himself on the faculty of McGill University, Université de Montréal and Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM), teaching jazz piano and supervising small ensembles. He is also an in-demand clinician, giving master classes throughout Canada.

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Music

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Live

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Calendar

Calendar

05 Dec 2020
8:00pm
François Bourassa Quartet
La Chapelle Spectacles Québec, CA.
20 Dec 2020
3:00pm
François Bourassa Solo
Théâtre du Vieux-Terrebonne Terrebonne, Québec CA. – Salle Desjardins
03 Sep 2020
7:00pm
François Bourassa Trio (avec Guy Boisvert et Guillaume Pilote)
Diese Onze Montreal, Québec CA.
26 Aug 2020 François Bourassa & Samuel Blais
Les Midis Aramusique – Chapiteau du Parc de l’Île-Lebel Repentigny, CA.
16 Jul 2020
7:00pm
François Bourassa Trio (avec Guy Boisvert et Guillaume Pilote)
Diese Onze Montreal, Québec CA.
27 Jun 2020 François Bourassa Quartet
Astral Montreal, CA. Annulé-Cancelled
23 Apr 2020 François Bourassa Quartet
JazzAhead Showcase Bremen, DE. Annulé-Cancelled
22 Apr 2020 François Bourassa Quartet
Sunset Sunside Jazz Club Paris, FR. Annulé-Cancelled
21 Apr 2020 François Bourassa Quartet
Maison des étudiants canadiens (Festival international Jazz de la Cité internationale universitaire de Paris) Paris, FR. Annulé-Cancelled
19 Apr 2020 François Bourassa Quartet
Teatro Magda Olivero Saluzzo, Turin IT. Annulé-Cancelled
18 Apr 2020 François Bourassa Quartet
Opus Jazz Club Budapest, HU. Annulé-Cancelled
28 Mar 2020 François Bourassa avec Hove, Boisvert et Pilot
Diese Onze Montreal, Québec CA. Annulé-Cancelled

Some dates to be rescheduled.

View past concerts.

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Recognition

Recognition

2018 / Nomination aux Prix Opus 2017-18 – Concert de l’année – Jazz

2018 / Nomination aux Prix Opus saison 2017-18 – Album de l’année –  Jazz

2018 / Nomination au Gala ADISQ 2018 – Album de l’année – Jazz

2016 / Récipiendaire aux prix Opus pour Disque de l’Année – JazzZ avec la formation En Trois Couleurs

2015 / Récipiendaire d’une bourse du CALQ –résidence de six mois au studio du Québec à Paris (janv-juin)

2014 / Gagnant d’un Prix Opus pour Concert de l’année Jazz avec la formation En Trois Couleurs

2013 / Nomination aux Prix Opus pour Concert de l’Année Musique du Monde avec la formation Cordâme

2012 / Gagnant d’un Prix Opus Disque de l’année jazz pour le disque Autour de Bill Evans avec Michel Donato, Frank Lozano et Pierre Tanguay; 2 nominations à l’ADISQ: catégorie jazz création pour l’album : Idiosyncrasie et catégorie jazz interprétation pour Autour de Bill Evans : Donato Bourassa Lozano Tanguay

2011 / Prix Hagood Hardy de la SOCAN; (musique instrumental); nomination JUNO  pour Idiosyncrasie

2010 / Prix André-Gagnon  de la Fondation SPACQ, catégorie compositeur de musique instrumentale de l’année

2008-09 / Prix OPUS (CQM), Jazz Musiques du monde Rasstones disque de l’année; nomination JUNO, pour Rasstones; nomination FELIX pour Rasstones

2007 / Prix Oscar Peterson au Festival International de Jazz de Montréal; Récipiendaire d’une bourse du CALQ – volet recherche et création : développement de compétences en orchestration et création d’un concerto pour vibraphone, marimba et orchestre symphonique

2005 / Récipiendaire d’une bourse du CALQ –résidence de six mois au studio du Québec à New-York; Gagnant du prix FELIX – meilleur album de l’année pour Indefinite Time

2004 / Gagnant de trois prix OPUS

2003 / Spectacle de l’année jazz et musiques du monde   2003 /album jazz de l’année– Nomination au prix JUNO pour Indefinite Time; Outstanding Contribution  to Jazz Education à la conférence  de l’International Association of Jazz Educators, Toronto

2002 / Prix JUNO (Contemporary jazz recording) et Prix OPUS (disque jazz de l’année) pour Live

2000 / Outstanding Contribution  to Jazz Education à la conférence de l’International Association of Jazz Educators, New Orleans, États-Unis

1999 / Nomination au prix JUNO (Best composer), et nomination au prix FELIX (meilleur artiste jazz)

1995-2000 / Récipiendaire de bourses du CALQ pour l’écriture musicale

1994 / Porte-parole du Concours de jazz Du Maurier Ltée pour le Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

1988 / Messe Jazz commandée en 1988 par les Pères Dominicains et présentée depuis, tous les ans, dans le cadre du Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

1987 / Academic Honours et Distinction in Performance. Parmi les quatre premiers finissants au New England Conservatory, Boston, États-Unis

1986 / Mise en nomination du microsillon Reflet 1 pour l’obtention d’un Félix au Gala de l’ADISQ; Reflet 1 premier album du Trio François Bourassa, microsillon enregistré et lancé par la Société Radio-Canada

1985-87 / Bourses d’Études du New England Conservatory, Boston, MA; Prix du concours Bose du Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

1983 / Quatre pièces de musique contemporaine  pour violon et piano interprétées par A. Bronstein et A. Lanza et diffusées à Radio Canada; trois pièces jouées aux Concerts McGill par le Contemporary  Music Ensemble; musique pour trio jazz, quatuor à cordes et voix; Bon printemps oeuvre pour orchestre à cordes, commandée par l’Ensemble Amati; Ballet et Pas-de-Deux commandés par les Ballets jazz de Montréal; Notes, deux pièces de musique électronique, dix pièces de musique classique

1982-présent / Bourses du Conseil des Arts du Canada, projets variés

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Projects

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Press

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Promo

Promo

Downloads

Download a presskit

Download the discography

Download the tech rider

Download the poster (18 x 24 PDF)

Program text

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François Bourassa is one of the leading artists on the Canadian jazz scene. An Oscar Peterson Award winner at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (2007), he has also won recognition from the public here and abroad, thanks to creative, inspired and sensitive compositions. Funky or contemplative, François Bourassa’s music is also that of its excellent musicians and longtime friends, for whom his music is “tailored”. The complicity between them on stage gives a unique concert atmosphere. ” What amazes (me) is how well the musicians understand the language of their leader” (Le Soleil). Virtuosity, synergy, audacity, but also humour and love of music – a jazz meeting not to be missed!

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Composer/pianist François Bourassa, 2007 Oscar Peterson Prize recipient (Montréal International Jazz Festival) leads one of Canada’s most successful  jazz ensembles with André Leroux (sax), Guy Boisvert (bass), and Philippe Melanson (drums). The quartet’s recording, Idiosyncrasie (Effendi) – the latest in a catalogue of critically-acclaimed CDs – has received a JUNO Award nomination (Canada) for Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year.  Rasstones, released in 2007, won the OPUS (Québec) award.  A previous recording, Live at the Top of the Senator, won Canada’s highest recording honour, the JUNO, and his Indefinite Time garnered him a FÉLIX, Quebec’s equivalent to the Grammy. Numerous tours have taken him all over  the world, from festivals and concerts in Europe, to the US and Canada, Russia, India, China, Korea, Japan and Mexico, where he has performed in such prestigious events as the North Sea, Cork, and Paris Jazz Festivals; Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City; and twice at the International Association of Jazz Educators’ conference (in New Orleans and Toronto). Francçois Bourassa has appeared onstage with many of the greats of jazz, including Wayne Shorter, Dave Brubeck and Dizzy Gillespie. “A pianist and composer of high stature in his native Montréal, Mr. Bourassa favors avant-gardism of a liquid and often lyrical sort.” – Nate Chinen, New York Times

Photos

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Photos : ©2017 Mathieu Rivard