Merging the deep, powerful messages of poetry with adventurous modern jazz, Toronto-based pianist/composer Amanda Tosoff leads a hybrid ensemble with strings and seven rotating vocalists on Earth Voices, the follow-up to her Juno Award-nominated 2016 release Words (“a grand achievement” – CBC Radio). The album is being released by Empress Music Group, a label and company founded by award-winning vocalist Emilie-Claire Barlow.
Earth Voices is Tosoff’s sixth album as a leader and the second to feature vocals. But whereas Words featured the marvelous singing of Felicity Williams straight through, Earth Voices adds six additional vocalists to the lineup in turn, each ideally suited to the song at hand. The compositions and orchestrations are sonorous, texturally rich, with a string quartet, guitarist Alex Goodman, and guest saxophonists Allison Au and Kelly Jefferson augmenting the lineup. The performances, full of eloquence and fire, are centered by Tosoff’s assured and lyrical pianism, revealing an artist at the peak of her powers.
Released January 29, 2021
Featuring the voices of:
Emilie-Claire Barlow, Laila Biali, Michelle Willis, Lydia Persaud, Robin Dann, Felicity Williams, and Alex Samaras
Kelly Jefferson (soprano sax), Allison Au (alto sax), Amanda Tosoff (piano), Alex Goodman (guitar), Jon Maharaj (bass), Morgan Childs (drums), Aline Homzy (violin), Jeremy Potts (violin), Laurence Schaufele (viola) Beth Silver (cello)
Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Rumi, Pablo Neruda and Marjorie Pickthall
Track 6 – Joni Mitchell
Track 5 – Mike Ross (Soulpepper Theatre)
Track 3 – Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Stuart Duncan, Aoife O’Donovan (from Yo-Yo Ma’s Goat Rodeo Sessions project)
All arrangements by Amanda Tosoff