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Katie Thiroux: The First Canadian Swing

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It is her passionate belief that exposure to jazz history, culture and styles is vital in keeping the music alive and thriving.

Watch out Montreal, Quebec, Edmonton, Alberta, and watch out Vancouver, British Colombia… In fact, watch out Canada because here comes composer, vocalist and bassist, Katie Thiroux, who will be bringing her magical musicianship – and firing on all cylinders – with two other musicians bristling with talent: pianist Glenn Zaleski and drummer Matt Witek. Ms. Thiroux’s Canadian Swing will begin on March 3 and 4, at Frankie’s Jazz Club, Vancouver, British Columbia, followed by an appearance at the Upstairs Bar & Grill in Montréal, Québec on March 10. The trio will return to the United States before descending upon the very happening (since 1957) Yardbird Suite in Edmonton, Alberta on April 8 courtesy of the Edmonton Jazz Society. Too bad for Americans who still think that there is nothing North of North Dakota. And not too shabby for Jazzophiles who will soon be ‘in’ the deep end of The Music as things heat up with the crown-princess of the double bass, Katie Thiroux.

As I’ve always maintained: “Move over bassists who sing…” Katie Thiroux is one of those rare musicians (and yes, that includes Esperanza Spaulding a.o.); an once-in-a-lifetime comet with a very long and enduring tail. She has a delicious soprano, but can wail, lament and seduce with her vocalastics and her artistically long, dainty fingers can ‘attack’ the strings of the bass as robustly as any man. She plays Ray Brown as good as Ray Brown does (simply watch the video below). She flies in the face of convention in her far-left-of-Broadway version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oh What A Beautiful Morning” (watch same video below). Small wonder then why Katie Thiroux has attracted the attention of John Clayton (her mentor), Tierney Sutton (voice coach), Larry Fuller and pianists Bill Cunliffe, Geri Allen, Helen Sung, Tamir Hendelman and Eric Reed; trumpeters Brian Lynch and Terrell Stafford; saxophonists Jeff Clayton and Ken Peplowski; guitarists Mundell Lowe and Larry Koonse and vocalists Niki Harris and Tierney Sutton.

Katie Thiroux has performed at venues and Jazz Festivals in the United States, Mexico (yes, that soon-to-be-walled-off Mexico), Germany (no walls here anymore), Finland, Serbia (now relatively free of despots), Singapore and Switzerland (known for more than the alarm clock and the wrist watch; also for the Montreux Jazz Festival – so shame on you Orson Wells), where she has performed both as leader and sideman, often incorporating clinics and workshops for students and audiences. Ms. Thiroux will feature that unbridled talents of Glenn Zaleski – a pianist associated musically with Ravi Coltrane, Lage Lund, Ari Hoenig and his brother and saxophonist Mark Zaleski – as well as that of regular sideman and drummer Matt Witek – who was once mentored by Jeff Hamilton and whose name has appeared on the marquee with Ken Peplowski, Larry Fuller, John Pizzarelli and Justin Kauflin.

In the Fall of 2017, Katie Thiroux will also release her sophomore album, as yet unnamed, but will feature Ken Peplowski and Justin Kauflin; a follow up to her debut, Introducing Katie Thiroux (Capri, 2015). It is Katie Thiroux’s passionate belief that exposure to jazz history, culture and styles is vital in keeping the music alive and thriving. Meanwhile Ms. Thiroux’s swinging bass, clear vocals and inspired instrumental arrangements are reflective of her musical idols both past and present. But more than anything else the musicianship of Katie Thiroux thrives on the timbral richness and melodic warmth of her bass lines just as surely as her knowledge, perseverance and fervour for the music. And it is in the greatest measures of all of these things that the comet of Katie Thiroux burns brightly as she streaks across the proverbial stratosphere of music.

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