Two Semiahmoo Secondary alumni – now distinguished stars of the Canadian jazz scene – are returning to White Rock to headline a concert at Blue Frog Studios.
The High Standards Quartet – which plays Saturday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at the venue, as part of a Western Canada tour – is led by bassist Jodi Proznick and pianist Amanda Tosoff, both Juno-nominated bandleaders, under the umbrella of their music education company, Music Arts Collective.
The project also involves two other bright lights in Canadian jazz: clarinetist Virginia MacDonald (2020 International Clarinetist Corona Competition winner) and vocalist Laura Anglade, described by Radio Canada’s Ici Musique as one of the “top five female jazz musicians to watch out for”.
A media release from Blue Frog, which is presenting the concert as part of its ongoing Canadian Music Unearthed series, said the concert promises “an evening of joyful and swinging jazz,” combining classic songs from the Great-American Songbook with “charming originals.”
The concert will also be filmed for later online streaming on Blue Frog TV, debuting March 13.
The work of Anglade, born in a small village in the south of France and raised in Connecticut, bears the influence of her parents’ gypsy jazz and classical backgrounds.
Her singing style is also notably rooted in traditional jazz and the work of such celebrated 20th century jazz vocalists as Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Anita O’Day, Shirley Horn, Mel Tormé and Blossom Dearie.
Known for her lyrical and soulful clarinet playing, MacDonald has been described as a “powerful new voice in the Canadian scene” by Juno Award-winning bassist Mike Downes.
Among her credits are a 2019 Stingray Rising Star Award and a 2020 International Clarinetist Corona Competition first prize, and she has worked extensively as a leader and side woman at many venues across Toronto as well as performing in Canadian and International jazz festivals.
Multi-award winning bassist, composer and educator Proznick – daughter of Dave Proznick, well-known former head of the Semiahmoo Secondary jazz program – has received many awards, including the Western Canadian Music Award for Jazz Artist of the Year, National Jazz Award for Bassist, Album and Acoustic Group of the Year, and two Juno nominations for her CDs Foundations and Sun Songs.
She is also currently the chair of the jazz department at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music and artistic director of the Summer Jazz Workshop and Girls’ Jazz Day.
Tosoff, who has six albums to her credit, is also a composer and educator, and has received various honours, including the Montréal Jazz Festival Grand Prix de Jazz, the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award – and most recently, a Juno nomination for her album Words, which blends poetry, jazz, art-song and folk.
She is also a passionate educator, on faculty at Humber College, at her own studio, and also as co-artistic director of Music Arts Collective, an online music school co-founded with Proznick and arts administrator Francesca Fung, in which they share their love of music, art, learning, and community through interactive workshops, conversations, videos and more.
Other upcoming concerts in the series at Blue Frog include country-blues and Southern rock group Matlen Starsley (Feb. 27), Steely Dan tribute Steelin’ In The Years (live stream only, March 5), folk group Stone Poets (March 11), roots rock troubadour Wil (March 12) and Tiller’s Folly (March 17).
For tickets and information on all concerts, visit www.bluefrogstudios.ca