Known for her lyrical and soulful clarinet playing, Virginia MacDonald has been described as a “powerful new voice in the Canadian scene” by Juno Award-winning bassist Mike Downes. Born and raised in Toronto, Virginia began playing clarinet at the age of seven. She has since established herself as a highly in-demand bandleader, sidewoman, and composer, and regularly performs across Toronto and Canada with different iterations of her quartet and quintet. Virginia has performed in several Canadian and International jazz festivals including the Cambridge Jazz Festival, the Jaipur Jazz & Blues Festival, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, the TD Markham Jazz Festival, the TD Halifax Jazz Festival, the Beaches International Jazz Festival, the Kensington Market Jazz Festival, and the Cape Breton Jazz Festival. Virginia has had the opportunity to work internationally in the United States, India, and Europe.
Juno Award-winning pianist and composer Brian Dickinson has been a mainstay on the Canadian jazz scene for close to 40 years. His skills as a jazz pianist, composer and arranger have been heard on well over sixty recordings including over ten of his own releases as leader. As a sideman, Brian has performed and recorded with many of the greatest international players including: Jerry Bergonzi, Randy Brecker, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, Pat LaBarbera, Kirk MacDonald, Maria Schneider, Vince Mendoza, Dave Liebman, George Garzone, Donny McCaslin, Seamus Blake, Ron McClure, Bob Mintzer, Phil Nimmons, Rob McConnell, Mike Murley, Tom Harrell, Lee Konitz, the Woody Herman Band, Cab Calloway, Nick Brignola, Sonny Greenwich, Eddie Daniels, Don Thompson, Jane Bunnett, and Dewey Redman. As well as touring Canada extensively, Brian has also toured the US, Europe and Asia.
Four-time Juno Award winner & recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Toronto Musician’s Association, Neil Swainson began working with Paul Horn in 1975, for two years. He also backed up such musicians as Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, and Sonny Stitt. In 1977, Neil moved to Toronto. He became very active in the local jazz scene, playing with Canadian greats: Moe Koffman, Ed Bickert, Rob McConnell, Peter Appleyard, and many others. He has played with many visiting jazz artists, to name a few: James Moody, George Coleman, Jay McShann, Tommy Flanagan, Lee Konitz, Joe Farrell, Slide Hampton, and Woody Shaw. Neil travelled and recorded with Woody Shaw, and Neil’s own recording, 49th Parallel, features Woody Shaw on trumpet and Joe Henderson on saxophone. In 1986 Neil began working with George Shearing. Together, they worked worldwide with many other great artists, such as Mel Tormé, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson, Robert Farnon, and Diana Krall. Neil has made numerous recordings with George Shearing, and with a number of other artists. Several of the recordings on which Neil plays have won Canada’s Juno Award. Neil continues to compose music and freelance extensively in the Toronto area.
Award-winning Austrian drummer Bernd Reiter, who studied in Graz & New York & now lives in Paris, always delivers a rock-solid beat. He has worked with many international jazz stars such as Harold Mabern, Charles Davis, Don Menza, Kirk Lightsey, Ralph Lalama, Mundell Lowe, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Grossman, Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, Grant Stewart, Joe Magnarelli, Andy McKee, Claudio Roditi, Dick Oatts, Gary Smulyan, Dusky Goykovich, John Marshall, Dmitry Baevsky, Jeb Patton, Joe Haider, Max Greger sen. & jr., Martin Weiss, Renato Chicco, Tony Lakatos, Heinz von Hermann, Rob Bargad, Gabor Bolla, Olivier Hutman, Al Porcino Big Band, Jazzfactory Orchestra, and many more.