Montréal, Tuesday, June 18, 2019 — On Wednesday, June 26 at 7 p.m., the contest to give out the first Oliver-Jones Award in the history of the festival will begin. Hosted by Stanley Péan, that evening will feature performances from four young student musicians: Théophile Abellard, Thania Veilleux Gomez, Corey Thomas, and Jacob Do. They will each play three pieces on the stage of L’Astral in front of an audience (free admission), in the format of their choice (from solo to quintet). The jury, made up of Cécile Peterson, Jim Doxas, Rafael Zaldivar, and Pierre-Jean Lavigne (Stingray) will evaluate their performances and determine the winner at the end of the night.
Since its creation, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto has always introduced a new award on the occasion of its anniversary editions. The 40th anniversary is not exception, with the creation of the Oliver-Jones Award, named after this mythical figure of Montréal jazz. Born in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood, this iconic pianist left an indelible mark in the history of the Festival de jazz.
The Oliver-Jones Award: A History of Recognition and Transmission
When the Festival was approached by two of Oliver Jones’ closest collaborators to create an award in his name, it was important that it reflects his dedication to youth. During his entire career, Oliver Jones spent countless hours advising and listening to young musicians. Furthermore, he appeared as a success story for Montréal’s Afro-descendant communities, and a source of inspiration for every cultural community in Canada.
This connection and this history are the reasons why the Oliver-Jones Award became a contest organized as part of the Festival. This contest is intended for university-level young musicians from visible minorities or indigenous communities.
In addition to the $5,000 Stingray Rising Stars Award, the winner will receive an invitation from the Festival to perform on one of its stages next year.
About the Stingray Rising Stars Award
This program sets out to discover, encourage, promote and champion new up-and-coming Canadian artists. For the past 15 years, Stingray has given more than a million dollars and more than 1000 grants to artists from various musical backgrounds.
Introducing the candidates!
Born in Gesgapegiag, Corey Thomas is an artist from the Mi’gmaq First Nation. His music brings together the past and the present to create a sound combining jazz music traditions in an accessible way for a contemporary audience. His ensemble Backwater Township created the Jazz Nations project, with the objective of sparking a more important presence of First Nation people in jazz.
Corey received a bachelor’s degree in Arts from St. Thomas University, and more recently, a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies. Coreyand his band Backwater Township recently recorded a self-title album that is well worth listening to. You’ll also be able to see Corey Thomas perform this summer at the Présence Autochtone Festival, and later this year at Forêt Urbaine.
Theophile Abellard is one of the leaders of the new generation of young jazz musicians. A self-taught pianist and prolific composer, he was born and raised in Montréal. At just 22 years old, Theo is already a well-established artist in the Montréal jazz scene. He’s a member of the legendaryKalmunity Vibe Collective, and he can often be found at Dièse Onze. He recently completed his first year at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in the Jazz Schulich School of Music of McGill University Schulich School of Music of McGill University Performance program, where he notably studies with Marianne Trudel. The young musician will record his debut EP this fall with his new project.
Thania Veilleux Gómez
A 24-year-old Jazz Performance student at Université de Montréal, Thania Veilleux Gómez started playing music at 20. She always loved to express herself by singing and writing poetry, and she chose to change career paths after meeting a singing teacher at Cégep du Vieux-Montréal. Since then, Thania composes music and uses spontaneous improvisation to find inspiration.
Jacob Do is a saxophone player from the Canadian jazz scene who received his musical training in Edmonton. Jacob moved to Montréal in 2017, where he just completed his second year studying Jazz Performance at McGill University with Rémi Bolduc. This year, he played as a tenor in the main musical band at McGill, Jazz Orchestra, led by Christine Jensen. Jacob played in multiple venues in Montréal and Edmonton, as well as in an orchestra at Yardbird Suite, accompanied by his quartet. He has shared a stage with many Canadian jazzmen, including Kevin Dean, Jens Lindemann and the late Tommy Banks.