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Mike Janzen Trio / Bio

Biography – October 2011

“Clearly, Mike is one to watch in Canada’s music sphere." - Terry McElligott (JazzFM 91 )

“What’s enthralling is Janzen’s writing, woven with wit and inventiveness, and his playing’s sheer exuberance” - Geoff Chapman (The WholeNote)

Born in the heartland of Manitoba, Mike Janzen grew up with music. Classical music, hymnody and gospel singing were his first influences. Early formative explorations took in rock and funk, and along with advanced training in both piano and composition (Mike holds a Master of Composition from the University of Toronto) came forays into the wilds of jazz and modern contemporary classical.

Over the last 16 years, Mike has focused on composing, improvising and playing jazz. He has studied with Hilario Duran, Jim McNeely, Chan Ka Nin, Christos Hatzis, David Braid, Dave Restivo, Mark Eisemann, Paul Read and Wayne Bowman.

He has worked and recorded with Phil Dwyer, Kevin Breit, George Koller, Hugh Marsh, Daniel Lanois, Steve Bell, Ben Riley, Davide DiRenzo, Larnell Lewis, Mark Rogers, Andrew Downing, Frank Botos, Anthony Michelli, Pat Collins, Lori Anna Reid, Julie Michels, Jenni Burke and Jacob Moon.

Mike has toured internationally and across North America and last year completed a cross Canada symphony tour with Steve Bell. His orchestrations have been called, “imaginative (Holly Harris, Winnipeg Free Press), “full of virtuosic craftsmanship (Vincent Ho, Composer in Residence WSO), and “some of the finest and most creative (arrangements) our orchestra has played in years (Gwen Hoebig / Concert Master / WSO). Mike Janzen will make his Massey Hall debut on Dec.3/11 when he performs with Steve Bell and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

In January 2011 The Mike Janzen trio released their latest CD, “Try to Remember” and celebrated by performing to a sold out audience at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, ON. Dennis Patterson (head CBC engineer) later commented, “that’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard in here!”

Over the past couple of years Mike has performed at the Wreckhouse Jazz Festival, Oakville Jazz Festival, Markham Jazz Festival, Port Hope All Canadian Festival, Brantford Jazz Festival and a year ago he was featured in the Grimsby Artist Series. The Mike Janzen Trio is regularly featured on Jazz FM.91 and his “Mrs. Robinson” arrangement made the top jazz songs of 2008 playlist. The trio is also highlighted on the new World Jazz for Haiti CD (featuring Holly Cole, Laila Biali) with the song, “There’s No Escaping Spring This Year”. The Trio regularly plays at, and sells out, the Rex Jazz Bar in Toronto, ON and is well-known on the Canadian music scene.

The Mike Janzen Trio is an award winning group - “Best Jazz/Blues Album of the Year” at the GMA music awards in Calgary in both 2007 and 2009. Mike was also commissioned by the CBC to write a piece for electric guitar and orchestra entitled, “Bending Hendrix” which was performed in February, 2010 as part of the New Music Festival in Winnipeg.

Mike’s orchestral writing, arranging and piano playing will be featured late this year as he makes his Massey Hall debut playing with Steve Bell and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on December 3rd, 2011.

Mike lives in Toronto with his wife Jodi and their daughter Hadassah. He is currently working on a South African documentary (which will air on CBC).

FOR BOOKING the Mike Janzen Trio email: jazz@mikejanzen.ca

General Info

Band Members
George Koller (bass), Ben Riley (drums)
Artist Name
Mike Janzen Trio
Home Page
Active Since
Jazz / Blues Jazz

Contact Info

Toronto, ON, CA

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