This week is proving to be a busy one! In addition to recording more tracks for my new album, I’m heading to KAMA restaurant in Downtown Toronto on May 7th to play as a guest artist with the Canadian Jazz Quartet. Next week, I’m adjudicating at MusicFest Canada at the University of Toronto. Then on May 15-16, I’m at the Rex for the return of Alex Dean’s Travelling Wall-Barries.
New show and album news! My quartet is heading back to The Jazz Room on April 4th. We’ll be premiering a number of new compositions as a preview of my forthcoming album (to be completed this summer). This show will feature Robi Botos on piano (fresh from his own album release the previous weekend!), Mike Downes on bass, and Mark Kelso on drums and percussion. Check out the Facebook event page for more info on this upcoming show.
Surprise!!! It’s my pleasure to announce the release of “The Pretty One” and “Coolin’ Out”, two singles composed and featured in the FX TV series “Fargo”. Written and recorded in the span of 48 hours, these songs are featured in episodes 102 and 104 respectively as background music for Lou’s cafe. The cast of the show includes Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk, Keith Carradine and Oliver Platt. Click the links below to download!
Shirantha Beddage – baritone saxophone
Brian O’Kane – flugelhorn
Brian Dickinson – piano
Mike Downes – bass
Ernesto Cervini – drums
Recording, mixing and mastering: Andy Pryde
Recorded on February 6, 2014 at Humber College, Toronto, Canada
From the CDBaby website:
Shirantha Beddage wears many hats, and he wears them well. The JUNO-nominated Toronto saxophonist and educator can now add one more feather to his cap: composer for television. “When I got the call to provide some original music for Fargo,” Beddage writes, “I was thrilled.” The Coen brothers movie is one of my favourite all-time films… It was an honour to be considered for this exciting new show.”
He quickly realized that time was of the essence. “The producers needed the music within about two days, so I had to move quickly. I needed to book the musicians, the studio, write the tunes… It was a bit of a whirlwind. They wanted a Gerry Mulligan ‘West Coast’ vibe, so I quickly hired Brian O’Kane, Brian Dickinson, Mike Downes, and Ernesto Cervini to play the parts.” Within the span of 48 hours, Beddage had written three original compositions. The group recorded these original tunes in the Humber College auditorium with the help of Humber’s resident sound technician Andy Pryde. “’Coolin’ Out’ and ‘The Pretty One’ were eventually selected for the show. My composition ‘The Pretty One’ was written about a half-hour before the recording session, and as it turned out that’s the first one the producers picked! Go figure.”
Having written a host of original compositions for his own group, Beddage is an experienced composer. “Composition is a labour of love for me. At times it can be very challenging, as my ideas don’t flow quickly onto paper. Writing in this situation was quite different, as I didn’t have the time to let my perfectionist tendencies get in the way… probably a good thing!” Beddage has written original compositions exclusively for this group for the past 10 years, and has recorded two albums as leader: “Roots and Branches” (2007) and the Juno-nominated “Identity” (2012). Compositions from this recording garnered him the Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2013. As a performer, he’s quickly becoming known as a powerful and compelling voice on the baritone saxophone. In addition to leading his own groups, he performs regularly with ensembles led by Toronto heavyweights Mike Downes, Nancy Walker and Bruce Cassidy. He also teaches full-time at Humber College in Toronto, where he is the Director of Theory and Harmony in the Humber Music department.
I was recently featured as an interview guest on The Jazz Session, a fantastic jazz interview podcast from the U.S. I spoke at length with host Jason Crane about many issues such as jazz education and the baritone saxophone. Check it out!
I’m thrilled to report the Shirantha Beddage Quartet will be giving a FREE concert this week in Toronto! Join us Wednesday November 20th @ 5:30pm at the Canadian Opera Company as we perform songs from “Identity”, and some other surprises. View the Events page for more details.
I’m excited to report that on Friday, July 5, 2013 I won the Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival! This prize was based on a performance at the Festival by my quartet, which included Dave Restivo, Mark Kelso and Mike Downes. The award is given for the most outstanding Canadian composition amongst the groups performing in the outdoor concerts, and it is a cash bursary accompanied by airplay on Galaxie Satellite Radio in Canada. The jury selected two of my tunes, “Baker’s Dozen” and “Winds of Change”, both from my Juno-nominated new album, “Identity”. As a result, I was interviewed by Mark Ruffin (Sirius / XM Satellite Radio – USA) and Michael Bourne (WBGO – New York City) during the festival. This is an incredible honour for me; thanks to all my fans for your continued support. Stay tuned!
Summer festival season is here, and my quartet will be performing at the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival (June 22) and the world-renowned Montreal Jazz Festival (July 2). Also, I’ll be going in to the studio with the Nancy Walker Quintet to put the finishing touches on her new album, which we began recording last summer. I also recently performed on Bruce Cassidy’s CD “My African Heart”, and on the upcoming album from the Mike Downes “In the Current” ensemble. Look for it in the fall!
I’m thrilled to announce that Identity has been nominated for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year at the 2013 Juno Awards!! I’m shocked, amazed and thrilled by the announcement. Thanks to all the fine folks involved in making this album a reality.
In a related story, in 2002, my last year as a student at Humber College, I was the recipient of an award given by CARAS (the organization that puts on the Junos). The award included scholarship money that helped me afford to buy my first flute and clarinet. The award also included free tickets to the following year’s Junos in Ottawa, including all the associated festivities. In the fall, I moved to New Jersey to begin my Master’s degree, and I flew back to Ottawa in April of 2003 for the Junos. It was a thrill to be part of the festivities as a spectator. And here we are, 10 years later… Wow.
P.S. If you’d like to purchase a physical copy of the album, please use the PayPal link on my Store page, and I will sign it and mail it to you myself!!
Also, my April 20th trio gig at the Old Mill Inn is now on May 25th! See the Events page for more info.
On Saturday, February 16th, I was honoured to be a guest on CBC’s “Fresh Air” radio program, in an interview with host Mary Ito. Here’s a link to the recording of the interview.
It’s been a busy holiday season, and I’m excited for upcoming events in February, March and April. Look for me with Christian Overton, Nancy Walker and Mike Downes’ “In the Current” ensemble (plus a CD recording with Mike’s group). Also, I’ll be at the Homesmith Bar (Toronto) with my trio in April, and I’ll be debuting some compositions on piano and baritone saxophone.
“Identity” has been turning some heads in Canada and the U.S. Check out this recent review on modernbarisax.com. Look for updates on summer performances, coming soon.