Presented by OLG

Geoffrey Keezer & Gillian Margot

Fri, Jun 21, 2024
Fourth Stage
National Arts Centre

The Grammy-winning pianist Geoffrey Keezer is celebrated internationally for his highly regarded discography, unique compositions, and acclaimed performances in a variety of configurations. Keezer has been a major figure in NYC's jazz piano scene since 1989, when he became the last pianist with the legendary Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Keezer has toured and recorded with Ray Brown, Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Barbara Hendricks, Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, David Sanborn, Chris Botti, Sting, Joe Locke and Christian McBride. Time Magazine wrote, “Geoffrey has more than enough virtuosity and sheer musical wit and intelligence to weave all of his apparently disparate strands of influence into an original and compelling whole”, and pop icon Sting said “In the universe of piano players that I have been exposed to over the years, Geoffrey has proved himself to be not only a superb technician and improviser, but also above and beyond this, a composer and conceptualist who can maintain the overall line and the DNA of the song in everything he plays. A musician’s musician.”

Gillian Margot is a singer with a rare gift that makes people sit up and listen. She possesses an exquisite voice, a disarmingly wide range and a style that eschews jazz singer clichés in favour of an original, interpretive delivery grounded in a song's lyrical and emotional content. A student of a generation of jazz legends including Oscar Peterson, Freddy Cole, Carol Welsman and Norman Simmons, she has since been invited to perform in major venues worldwide with top- tier talent, including rock icon Sting, jazz trumpeters Chris Botti and Jeremy Pelt, pianist Robert Glasper, famed soprano Kathleen Battle, conductors Wayne Marshall (London Philharmonic) and Jukka-Pekka Saraste (Toronto Symphony Orchestra). Equally at home in the musical worlds of jazz, R&B, chamber, and pop, her voice and music can be also heard in commercials, feature films, and television programs including Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees (IMAX 2002), New Year (Doublesee 2010), Lethal Weapon (FOX 2016), The Young and The Restless (2016-2019), and One Good Reason (Alone.Calm 2020).

In 2018, Margot collaborated with pianist Geoffrey Keezer on his latest album, On My Way to You (MarKeez). With Margot featured on five of ten tracks, Ted Panken writes that the vocalist and pianist “achieve an uncanny mind-meld on the co-composed ‘You Stay With Me’ — Margot projects her magnificent contralto to equally compelling effect both when conveying her tender, sensuous lyric and then improvising in dialogue with the piano during the latter section. They also co-wrote the percolating ‘Guanajuato’ (named for the Central Mexican city where they performed a duo concert), in which the protagonists engage in a protracted, intuitive musical conversation."

Her 2016 album, titled Black Butterfly (Hipnotic) is an artfully crafted set that showcases her multifaceted musicality and speaks to the singer's passion for diversity. The album blends Great American Songbook standards, intriguing jazz originals, gutbucket blues, contemporary hip-hop flavours and uniquely personal covers of songs by Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, and 80’s English rockers Simply Red. Margot’s new album, Power Flower was released on vinyl in March 2021 (CD released October 2020) on Ropeadope Records.

Keezer and Margot have been touring, writing and recording together for several years, including their 2018 album On My Way to You (MarKeez). They bring their unique vision of the vocal and piano duet to Canadian festivals this summer, performing familiar jazz standards, beloved pop songs and vibrant original compositions, in a varied and intimate set. Don't miss these two world-class artists in concert together!