With the City of Culture initiative, Toronto Downtown Jazz celebrates Toronto as a cultural destination generally, and a must-see destination for jazz lovers in particular. This series of eight concerts, each featuring a different artist in a different venue, performing an outstanding cross-section of jazz and jazz-related music, highlights some of the incredible musicians whose talent is on display here in Toronto every day throughout the year – and on our stages at the annual TD Toronto Jazz Festival, celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2022.
Tara Davidson is an award-winning alto and soprano saxophonist who has performed at prestigious venues and festivals around the world. She has produced six recordings, four of which were nominated for JUNO Awards; as a woodwind specialist she has performed with companies ranging from the Stratford Festival to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Ballet Orchestra. Recorded at The Jazz Bistro, located in the same building once known as Top of the Senator, an acclaimed jazz club which helped to confirm Toronto as an international home for jazz, and just a short block away from bustling Yonge Street, a stretch of downtown Toronto which, for more than 60 years, has been home to some of the best venues for jazz, blues, soul, R&B and more.
Concert premieres December 16 below or on the JAZZ.FM91 YouTube page - tune in for the premiere then watch anytime. On YouTube, click "set a reminder" to get a notification when it's time for the premiere!
The City of Culture initiative has been made possible by the generous support of Reconnect Ontario, from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. We’re grateful for the continued support of our title sponsor, TD, and we’d like to thank our media partners JAZZ.FM91 and The Toronto Star.
Click here for the complete list of City of Culture concerts and mini-documentaries.
Tara Davidson Quintet
Tara Davidson - alto & soprano saxophones
William Carn - trombone
Jen Lo - piano
Dan Fortin - bass
Ernesto Cervini - drums
Tara Davidson is an award-winning alto and soprano saxophonist who has performed around the world at such prestigious venues as New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the acclaimed North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, the International Jazz Festival in Lima, Peru, the JZ Jazz Club in Shanghai, China, and The Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C.
Davidson is a ten-time JUNO Award-nominated artist. As a bandleader, Davidson has produced six recordings since 2004 and performed on more than thirty recordings as a side musician. Four of her six
recordings as a leader or co-leader have been nominated by the JUNO Awards for “Album of the Year” in the “Traditional”, “Solo” and “Group” jazz categories. Her bands have been comprised of various
configurations from duo to nonet and have included such personnel as Mike Murley (saxophone), William Carn (trombone), Laila Biali (piano), Kelly Jefferson (saxophone), Andrew Downing (bass and cello), David Braid (piano), and Ernesto Cervini (drums), among many others. Davidson has been associated with six additional JUNO nominations for her work as a side musician with Andrew Downing’s Otterville, Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop (x2), the Mike Murley Septet, CBC Records’ “Jazz Legends Live” project, and Jens Lindemann’s Order of Canada Band (Yamaha Big Band member). In 2020, Davidson won a JUNO Award for Jazz Album of the Year: Group as a member of Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop.
Some of Davidson’s other honours include being selected as the lead alto saxophonist for the European Broadcasting Union’s “European Youth Jazz Orchestra”, being selected as one of five finalists in the Mary Lou Williams “Women In Jazz” saxophone competition, and being selected as one of three finalists for the Toronto Arts Foundation’s “Emerging Jazz Artist Award” in 2015. In 2013, Davidson was awarded the Ontario Arts Council’s “Chalmers Professional Development Grant” to study with saxophone legend, Dick Oatts, in New York City.
Davidson also enjoys a diverse freelance career as a woodwind player (saxophone, clarinet, and flute). She has worked with musical theatre companies such as the Stratford Festival, the Musical Stage Company (formally Acting Upstage), and Drayton Entertainment, and with such symphonies as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet Orchestra, and the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony. Studio and performance opportunities have allowed Davidson to perform alongside such artists as Joel Frahm, Shirley Bassey, Oliver Jones, Tommy Banks, Wycliffe Gordon, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Phil Dwyer, Jim McNeely, Ingrid Jenson, Christine Jensen, Brad Turner, John Riley, and Gary Versace.
Davidson is an active educator. She is on faculty at the University of Toronto, York University, and the National Music Camp of Canada (Jazz Faculty). Davidson has been a guest faculty member for Ottawa’s Jazzworks Jazz Camp, the Interprovincial Music Camp (IMC Jazz Faculty), Saskatoon’s TD Jazz Intensive Workshop, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop.
Tara Davidson is proud to be a Yamaha Artist and plays their Custom Z alto saxophone, Custom CSVR clarinet, and YFL-577 Series flute.