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Musician Bios: Saturday, July 1

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Saturday, July 1

Alana Davis (Vocal jazz) In the late 1990's, Alana Davis had a pop hit with her rendition of Ani DiFranco's "32 Flavors." But that was just scratching the surface of Davis's vocal abilities. Raised by a jazz singer (her mother, Anna Schofield) and pianist (her father, Walter Davis Jr.), Davis has the chops to go wherever she decides to take her vocal gift. (RN) alanadavis.com

Balkun Brothers (Blues rock) Like Muddy waters waiting for the Mothership, this duo plays broke-down Southern-fried blues, funked up and fortified with some psychedelia and a savage back beat. Sweaty, greasy, and rockin'. (FD) balkunbrothers.com

Benny Green (Straight-ahead jazz) Pianist Benny Green was a teenager when he started playing in a band with veteran bassist Chuck Israels. After the inevitable move to New York City, Green worked with Betty Carter, Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, and many others. His greatest endorsement came in 1993 when the great Oscar Peterson selected Green as the first recipient of the City of Toronto's Glenn Gould International Protégé Prize in Music. (RN) bennygreenmusic.com

Bonerama (Trombone-centric brass) For more on Bonerama, click here.

Colin James (Blues) Canadian singer and guitarist Colin James plays blues rock in the style of fellow Canadian slinger Jeff Healey. Although he's a good lookin' fella, it seems most of his songs have him being done some wrong. (FD) colinjames.com

Cynthia Sayer (Jazz banjo) Ten years in Woody Allen's New Orleans Jazz Band has honed sharp jazz banjo plucker Cynthia Sayer's swing chops. She doesn't stop there; Sayer ventures out of the swing idiom to syncopated sojourns that astound. (FD) cynthiasayer.com

Danielle Ponder and The Tomorrow People (Heavy soul) Like Etta James wielding a flamethrower, Danielle Ponder positively roars as she tackles funk, soul, and hip-hop with a socially conscious agenda. The band's shows frequently sell out, leaving the audience spent. Power to the people. (FD) daniellepondermusic.com

Donny McCaslin Group (Straight-ahead jazz) For more on McCaslin, check out the feature here.

Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity (Avant-garde jazz) If you wonder where the cutting-edge in jazz is currently located, you might try Norway. That's where drummer Gard Nilssen and his compatriots are stirring up a storm of free improvisation. Nilssen, saxophonist André Roligheten and bassist Petter Eldh have obviously absorbed American and European avant-garde music and are now making their own contributions to the genre. (RN) gardnilssen.com

The Hooligans: The Musicians of Bruno Mars (Pop) Seeing as how Bruno Mars's stage antics remind me of a modern James Brown, here's your chance to dig (sans Mars) the BM horns aplenty along with the instruments that make up the seven-piece, crackerjack band. (FD) brunomars.com

International Orange (Jazz jam) this New York band jams, swirls, and sanctifies. It plays with authority and resolve, and keep it a little more condensed than many that crowd the genre. (FD) internationalorange.band

Jam Sessions with Bob Sneider Trio (Jazz jam) Click here for more information.

John La Barbera Big Band (Big band) This show celebrates 100 years of Buddy Rich, a pioneer La Barbera has worked closely with, along with Woody Herman, Count Basie, and Dizzy Gillespie (to name a precious few). A big band on the Kilbourn stage? Playing "Caravan"? That's what I'm talking about. (FD) johnlabarbera.com

The Majestics (Reggae) With the lazy lope and precise punch on the one-drop, Rochester reggae rockers in The Majestics are back for their second XRIJF appearance. You may remember the band as Bahama Mama back in the 1900's and as The Lawnmowers in this century. (FD) facebook.com/majesticsreggae

Matthew Stevens (Straight-ahead jazz) In-demand Canadian guitarist and sideman Matthew Stevens has some of the most enlightened chord phrasings you'll ever come across. He can let fly with a honeyed flurry, but it's his chordal structure that'll surely knock you out. What can't the guitar do? (FD) mattstevensmusic.com

Sammy Miller & The Congregation (Soulful jazz) For a bio, click here.

Tessa Souter (Vocal jazz) You can find more information here.

Toronto Community Soul Project (Funk) Check out the band's bio here.

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