As a lead up to the VOICE OVER mind Festival, UK/Toronto’s John Southworth and Andrew Downing lament the never-ending winter with the surreal cabaret song cycle of Easterween. Southworth’s genre-defying balladry meets up with Downing’s Klezmer-Stravinskyesque arrangements yet again in selections from Southworth’s new release Niagara- two starkly different suites of songs reflecting the water’s division between Canada and the US. Meanwhile, graphic artist Yesim Tosuner lights up the room with video for the live performance of Easterween.
For a special treat, Southworth totes his Toronto based group The South Seas including Andrew Downing (bass), Jean Martin (drums), Thom Gill (guitar/rhodes), and Craig Harley (piano/organ). Vancouver sidemen Jesse Zubot (violin), Brad Muirhead (trombone), Rebecca Wenham (cello), François Houle (clarinet), and JP Carter (trumpet) later join them to realize Downing’s exquisite orchestration of Easterween– “It’s dreamy eccentricity; a little crazy and courageous, and a strong statement.” Sarah Green, Exclaim, September 2014.
John Southworth is one of Canada’s most distinctive and iconoclastic music artists, respected for forging ahead with his own unique brand of music-making, while garnering high praise for his inimitable contribution. His songs have been covered by great Canadian artists like Sarah Slean, Martin Tielli (Rheostatics), Mary Margaret O’Hara, and Veda Hille. He has also written songs for artists as diverse as Hawksley Workman, Buck 65, and Jully Black. John has authored a children’s book in the realm of Edward Gory and Lewis Carroll, with illustrations by New York artist David Ouimet, to be published in fall 2012. John is also a regular collaborator with Toronto’s Art of Time Ensemble.
Toronto-based double bass player, cellist, composer and bandleader Andrew Downing plays primarily in the creative jazz scene in Canada, but also performs classical chamber music, improvised music, folk and roots music, and world music. He has written pieces for Ensemble Meduse, Toca Loca, Runcible Spoon, The Prince George Symphony and The Urban Arts Brass Ensemble and has written arrangements for Patricia O’Callaghan, The Gryphon Trio and The Art of Time Ensemble. Upcoming projects include a composition for Orchestra London with banjo player Jayme Stone. Andrew leads his own chamber jazz ensemble, has seven albums as a bandleader, and is also a member of the David Occhipinti Quartet and the Lina Allemano Four. He has won Juno, SOCAN, Grand Prix de Jazz (Montreal Jazz Festival), and two West Coast Music Awards. Andrew is on faculty at the University of Toronto and has taught at Wilfred Laurier University, the Banff Centre’s Jazz Workshop and the Creative Music Workshop in Halifax.