Saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, guitarist Lorne Lofsky and trumpeter Derrick Gardner lead a newly assembled all-star ensemble called the Canadian Jazz Collective, who are set to release their debut album Septology – The Black Forest Session.
The septet also features clarinetist Virginia MacDonald, pianist Brian Dickinson, bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Bernd Reiter.
The group takes a collaborative approach to the presentation of original Canadian jazz, upholding the country’s storied jazz tradition while each displaying their virtuosic, world-class artistry through the performance of original work.
“The idea is to put together musicians with a similar aesthetic, who approach the music with openness and respectfulness of each other’s personalities, and to bring them to the forefront,” says MacDonald. “It’s the idea that the whole should be greater than the sum of the parts.”
MacDonald is a two-time Juno Award winner and a recipient of the Toronto Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He has appeared on more than 50 albums as either a leader or sideman and has more than 100 compositions to his credit.
Lorne Lofsky is a master guitarist known for his pianistic voicings and virtuosic skill. Over a career of more than 40 years, the Toronto native has left an indelible mark through his definitive solo work, collaborations with fellow guitarist Ed Bickert, and earlier as a member of the Oscar Peterson Quartet.
Chicago native Derrick Gardner, the lone American in the group, has performed with a who’s-who of jazz greats as well as some of the most revered large ensembles in jazz, including the Count Basie Orchestra, Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Band, Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band and more. An associate professor at the University of Manitoba for more than a decade, Gardner has garnered international attention for his two most recent works, 2019’s Still I Rise with the Big dig! Band and this year’s Pan Africa with the Jazz Prophets.
In May 2022, the Canadian Jazz Collective embarked on a string of dates in Europe which culminated at London’s famous Ronnie Scott’s in front of a sold-out house. The recording of Septology was the centerpiece of that first outing.
The album was recorded at the iconic MPS Studios in Villingen, Germany, located on the eastern edge of the Black Forest. The studio has the distinction of being one of Oscar Peterson’s favourite places to record; some of Peterson’s most notable recordings were born there, including the Exclusively for My Friends series between 1963 and 1968.
Septology includes six original compositions, with each of the band’s leader contributing two tunes apiece. (CD and digital versions of the album also include two additional tracks written by Lofsky and Gardner.)