Lots of instrumental artists send me links to their music and while much of it is very nice, it’s difficult to decide what I should cover. But when Shannon Graham sent me a link to her music, I was instantly intrigued by not only the quality of the performances and production but by the style. I’d never really heard anything like it before. Somewhere between jazz, classical and avant garde, Shannon’s music is striking and unique and worth a listen. Not the kind of album you put on in the back ground, Shannon Graham and The Storytellers demand your attention, taking you from lilted poignancy to pointed urgency, sometimes all within the same song.
The Canadian composer is a saxophonist, violinist and vocalist and an Artistic Producer at the music collective Spectrum. Since 2010 the group of like-minded musicians have banded together to support and facilitate Canadian musicians, particularly in the field of the country’s burgeoning chamber jazz fusion scene. Spectrum “strive to create innovative, genre-defying themed concerts which explore intersections between subcultures in Canada. Rooted in jazz and creative music, the core of our philosophy is the idea that the future of jazz music lies in its synthesis with other genres, and the ability jazz performers possess to use improvisation not just an aesthetic convention, but as a medium of true expression.”
Having been university educated in Jazz performance at the University of Toronto and currently studying composition under Roger Bergs, Shannon’s who love of pop and classical saw the creation of a kind of instrumental art music that blends jazz, pop and classical which engages the audience with it’s honest emotion. The highly narrative, peculiar shifting moods invite the listener to reflect on their own lives while hearing Shannon’s history played out through the group of ten performers. Shannon Graham and The Storytellers would be at their best performing live, but for those of us who can’t be in Toronto to catch a performance, their first album is available to stream on bandcamp and you can buy the digital files or CD for $10 via the official website, shannongraham.bandcamp.com