Toronto Jazz Festival presents Latin Jazz

TORONTO ( -- The TD Toronto Jazz Festival and Lula Lounge proudly present an evening of Latin Jazz with Laura Fernandez and Alexis Baro on Thursday June 28.

Acclaimed vocalist Laura Fernandez and award winning Cuban trumpet player Alexis Baro bring their distinct Latin sounds to the Lula Lounge stage as part of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival on Thursday June 28.

Actively touring from 2011 to 2012 and producer/host of JazzFM91’s Café Latino, the multifaceted, award winning Laura Fernandez is a singer, song writer, pianist and visual artist. Her recent album, Un Solo Beso, fuses pop-folk songwriting with the expansive sounds of Latin and jazz styles.

Laura's primary creative outlet had been for many years art; with a distinguished career consisting of commercial illustration, children’s book illustration, and other commissioned work. Some of her commissioned portraits include Margaret Atwood, and Sir Richard Francis Burton.

Her transition to a career as a recording artist and performer was a natural extension of her work as a visual artist, who sees her musical compositions as paintings, but expressed in a different medium. Laura says: “Painting, and especially illustrating for 25 years, had become limiting for me and wasn’t answering all my creative questions. Music has become a voyage of self-discovery for me. There are no rules here, and this is exciting and liberating to me. I love the social aspects of making music, and the fact that it is a more direct route to the heart than painting.” Laura launched her debut CD The Other Side in 2003, an English language collection of songs described as lyric driven, melodic folk, rock-pop with a groove. She won the Best Soft Rock Award at the 2003 New York International Independent Music Festival, which included performances at Madison Square Gardens.

Billy Bryans, who passed away earlier this year, produced Laura's second CD Un Solo Beso. Un Solo Beso was recorded at Toronto recording studios Hallamusic, Canterbury Sound and Serpent One, and features three arrangers creating diversity that was true to Laura’s songwriting styles: JUNO award winning pianist Hilario Duran, guitarist/bandleader Luis Mario Ochoa, and keyboardist Roberto Linares Brown.

“The musical quest for me was to find each song a ‘home’ where they could have a distinctive flavour and personality that supported the lyrics and the melody. Some songs ended up in specific Latin American styles like merengue, bolero, and salsa, some ended up with a kind of hybrid sound, and some stayed in their original singer/songwriter structure.” - Billy Bryans

Laura also found expression and joy in working with musicians who shared her Spanish language mother tongue; and did not feel constraint by genre barriers, instead preferred to let each song take on its own shape organically: Laura explains: “This made for an amazing connection, as language brings people together in a different way. We wanted to give every song its own personality. Instead of focusing on a record that would sound the same, I made a record that has a variety of characters. I don’t stick to convention in my life, so why should I in music? I have to write what I feel inside and I also want to reach out and bring people and elements together.”

Alexis Baro's new album titled “ From The Other Side” refers to both his Cuban musical roots as well as his most recent influences since living in Canada. Baro brings a fusion of Latin, Blues, Soul, R&B, Rock and Funk on his latest offering. Baro has been nominated for the National Jazz Award in the "Best Trumpet Player" category for 2005, 2006 and 2007.

“My compositions can change fluidly from Funk to Latin. This allows me to draw upon all of my experiences. I have the freedom to unite these diverse influences in my own way.”

Alexis plays a P.mauriat custom trumpet. Baro says, "This is the most versatile horn I've ever owned, It has the warmth and body in the middle on lower registers that I look for but unlike a lot of other brands, it doesn't lose it's depth in voice as you ascend, it sings beautifully in the higher registers."

His new album "The Other side" has been called, "An aural exploration that takes the listener on a journey that starts in Africa with the hypnotic spiritual rhythms of the batá drum who’s origin dates back some 500 years ago from the land of Yorùbá in Nigeria." The title refers to his Cuban roots and Canadian influences of Latin jazz compositions. Baro has previously performed as part of the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival main stage. His extensive list of performances and collaborations include: the 2008 Ottawa Jazz Festivl, 2008 Montreal Jazz Festival and concerts with David Foster, Andreas Botticelli, and Hilario Duran.

Reservations available through the Lula Lounge website or by phone 416 588 0307



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