Canefire – Jeremy Ledbetter’s High Octane, Caribbean Jazz Powerhouse in Concert at Jazz Bistro in Toronto, on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8:00 pm.
Toronto-based Caribbean jazz powerhouse CaneFire is NOT your grandfather’s jazz band. As one of the most explosive and energetic jazz ensembles on the planet, CaneFire delivers a rollicking, high-octane show combining the white-hot energy of Cuban rhythm, the blinding musicianship of modern jazz, and the unbridled joy of the music of the Caribbean.
CaneFire’s signature sound revolves around its unconventional use of the steelpan – the only petroleum byproduct in the world that is actually good for you. Led by Canadian pianist/composer Jeremy Ledbetter, CaneFire also features steelpan virtuoso Mark Mosca, Alexis Baro (trumpet), Braxton Hicks (saxophones), Chendy Leon (drums), Yoser Rodriguez (bass), and Alberto Suarez (percussion).
In recent years CaneFire has taken their unique brand of Caribbean Latin Jazz from BC to Newfoundland, to South America, and to the Caribbean, including three years in a row at the Trinidad and Tobago Jazz Festival. CaneFire celebrated their fifth birthday in 2010 with the release of their sophomore album, Pandemonium. The long-awaited follow-up to their 2005 debut, Kaiso Blue, Pandemonium embodies all the sizzle and twice the sophistication of its predecessor, and features guest performances by Trinidadian calypso superstar David Rudder and Brazilian jazz legend Hermeto Pascoal.
Jeremy Ledbetter – Piano
Originally trained as a classical pianist in his hometown of Kitchener, Ontario, Jeremy Ledbetter studied jazz in Toronto until a violent allergy to cold weather led him to relocate to the sunnier climes of Trinidad and Tobago in 1999. Ledbetter spent several years in Trinidad studying and performing Caribbean music, eventually landing a job as musical director for calypso legend David Rudder. Ledbetter’s meandering route back to Canada included extended stays in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Brazil, and provided the inspiration for CaneFire, the band he formed in 2005 to play his original compositions.
Mark Mosca – Steelpan
A graduate of both the Royal Conservatory and the Humber College jazz program, Mark Mosca has established himself as one of the world’s leading exponents of his instrument, the steelpan. He has won the respect of peers such as Robert Greenidge and Andy Narell for his combination of virtuoso technique and improvisational mastery.
Alexis Baró – Trumpet
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Alexis Baró plays the trumpet with all the force of a Category 5 hurricane. Alexis’ jaw-dropping work in Canada with groups such as Kollage, the A-Team, and the Hilario Duran Big Band has earned him several National Jazz Award nominations for “Trumpeter of the Year”. He has also released two albums under his own name — Havana Banana and From the Other Side.
Braxton Hicks – Saxophones
Recently returned to his hometown Toronto from an extended stay overseas, Braxton Hicks is an exciting and flamboyant woodwind player and bandleader who is proficient in a wide range of styles and genres. Besides his main axe, the tenor, Hicks also plays alto and baritone saxophones and flute on Pandemonium.
Yoser Rodríguez – Bass
Yoser Rodríguez has been Toronto’s premier salsa bassist since moving here from his native Cuba in 2003. Originally trained as a classical guitarist, Yoser is a versatile, communicative performer who is proficient on electric, upright, and baby basses. He has also worked with crossover artists such as Andy Narell, Alex Cuba, and Odessa-Havana.
Rosendo “Chendy” León – Drums
Working with Jesse Cook, Amanda Martinez, Sultans of String, CaneFire, and others makes for a very busy schedule. Add a teaching position at Humber College to that and you can see what makes Cuban drummer/percussionist Chendy León one of the most in-demand Latin musicians in Canada. His work with CaneFire showcases his innovative approach to Caribbean rhythms.
Alberto Suárez – Percussion
Rounding out the Cuban contingent is flamethrowing conguero Alberto Suárez. Hailing from Matanzas, Cuba, Alberto honed his chops with a variety of salsa and Latin jazz groups in Cuba and Canada and has now expanded his expertise to include Trinidadian and Brazilian percussion. Alberto specializes on the congas, but the djembe, atabaque, and batá also form part of his arsenal.