Supreme Saxophonists Stretch Boundaries in Solo Performance

Award winning saxophonists Yves Charuest from Montreal and Kelowna’s very own Craig Thomson will be giving rare solo performances on November 15th at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art in Kelowna. For the performer, solo saxophone performance may well be the definitive creative risk. For the audience, the degree musical intimacy can be arresting as the musician explores the relationships between spontaneous conceptions, composed form, the instrument, and the room.

This special concert is the fourteenth installment of the Skin And Bones Music Series. Now in its second year of production, Skin And Bones is an Okanagan Arts Award nominated concert series devoted to the presentation of experimental music in the Okanagan, produced through the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art.


Hailing from Montreal, Yves Charuest has been performing freely improvised music since the 1980s. A recipient of the François-Marcaurelle prize, Charuest has toured throughout North America and Europe with many of the world’s best improvisers. Past performances and recordings include collaborations with pianist Georg Graewe, multi-reedist Roscoe Mitchell, bassist William Parker, as well as playing in the Peter Kowald Trio with the late bassist Peter Kowald and drummer Louis Moholo. Yves describes his cerebral approach to improvisation: “I’m not so much interested in music stacked up in layers, like in free jazz, but in finding ways of getting the parts to fit together like a puzzle. So it’s not a matter of how I play on top of others but more of inserting myself into the spaces that occur in the music.”

Kelowna’s very own saxophone hero, jazz educator, and BC Interior Jazz Festival coordinator Craig Thomson will also be performing. Winner of many prestigious awards including the 2013 Okanagan Arts Award for Music, Thomson is very much an in-demand musician having just released his own debut CD “Bright Beginnings” to great acclaim. Fully fluent in all aspects of jazz, including the more progressive post-bop works by Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson, this concert is a rare opportunity to hear a Craig perform purely in a solo context. Says Thomson: “There’s an immense sense of satisfaction in being able to pick up my instrument and create something beautiful instantaneously or to be able to convey my emotions out of the instrument.”


Yves Charuest and Craig Thomson perform at the Alternator as part of the Skin and Bones Music Series on November 15th. Doors open at 7:30 pm and the concert will begin at 8:00 pm. Admission is $10 for the public and $8 for Alternator members. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the Alternator. Non-members also have the option to purchase tickets at Milkcrate Records on Ellis Street.



 Montreal saxophonist Yves Charuest has worked on the jazz and new music scene in the 1980-90s with many Canadian musicians such as Michel Ratté, Jean Beaudet, Lisle Ellis, Jean Derome and Pierre Cartier in many different groups and projects:  I Like Jazz, Evidence, Duo Charuest-Ratté, Trio Michel Ratté, and Wreck’s Progress among others.  Charuest was also a member of the Peter Kowald Trio (1985-1990) with German bassist Peter Kowald and South-African drummer Louis Moholo, with whom he played extensively in Europe and in the USA.  Other collaborations include performances and recordings with John Betsch, Mathias Schubert, William Parker, Agustí Fernández, Nate Wooley, Georg Graewe, Roscoe Mitchell and Mike Vlatkovich.  Yves has also presented solo concerts in Quebec and Europe, and collaborated with electroacoustic composers Jean-François Denis, Jef Chippewa and Jean Piché.  Currently Charuest is involved in many projects:  the duo CharuestCaloia, Still (with Nicolas Caloia and Peter Valsamis), Four-sided Circle (with Caloia, Lori Freedman and Josh Zubot), the Murray Street Band, the Ratchet Orchestra, and the Montreal/Toronto Art Orchestra.  He also collaborates regularly with several Montreal improvisers such as Philippe Lauzier, Scott Thomson, Sam Shalabi, Ellwood Epps, choreographer Susanna Hood and dancer Alanna Kraaijeveld.

Yves Charuest:

Video of Yves Charuest with Nicolas Caloia, Peter Valsamis, and Georg Graewe

 Craig Thomson is an award-winning saxophonist and educator currently based in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia.  Through his dedication to the arts and music education, Thomson’s students have earned numerous national and international honours over the past decade.  Craig was inspired by his teachers at an early age to pursue a career in both music performance and music education, leading to study at Grant McEwan University in Edmonton, Capilano University in Vancouver, and the University of British Columbia.  Thomson is also the coordinator for the BC Interior Jazz Festival, an annual three-day educational event that brings together over 1500 students from across Canada and the United States for performing and workshopping with some of North America’s finest music professionals.  As well as promoting music education on a local and national level, Craig is an extremely busy and in-demand performer and session musician.  His 2012 debut CD of original compositions, entitled “Bright Beginnings,” has garnered much acclaim and is a staple on CBC radio.

Craig Thomson is a fantastic saxophonist with a muscular, rich sound and exciting, blues-drenched ideas.  Also, he is one of Canada’s best music educators.

(Dr. Gregory Yasinitsky, Washington State University)

Craig Thomson:

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