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The Relative Quartet – Chet Doxas (saxophone), John Stetch (piano), Michael Bates (bass), and Owen Howard (drums), is made up of four gifted jazz leaders. All four led multiple bands and projects for nearly 20 years, sharing a passionate commitment to creativity, artistic beauty, humour, and the mystery of sonic resonance through human emotion.
Chet Doxas comes from an inspired musical background. Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Chet has vivid memories of falling asleep to his father, George, either hosting jam sessions or directing full choir rehearsals in their family home. It was not long before Chet was able to join in the fun.
Chet first started violin and piano lessons when he was three years old, and then at the age of nine began studying clarinet and drums. His brother, Jim, also started percussion lessons at the same time and is now one of Canada’s most sought after musicians. Chet eventually made the switch to saxophone. He can still recall the life-changing moment when he first heard a Charlie Parker recording; at the age of twelve years old, Chet knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to music.
Throughout his teenage years, Chet received many accolades and awards, most notably, an appearance at Carnegie Hall at the age of sixteen in an evening which featured some of North America’s most promising young musicians. Since then, he was chosen to represent Canada in the European Broadcast Union Jazz Orchestra with which he toured in Europe and Asia. Chet won “Le Prix d’Argent” in Le Concours de Jeune Soloiste, presided over by renowned pianist Martial Solal in Fribourg, Switzerland. He also won the Jeunesse Musicale award which afforded him the opportunity to perform and record as a guest soloist throughout Europe with the Croatian National Radio Jazz Orchestra.
Chet’s post-secondary education began at Marianopolis College where he completed his DEC. He then earned a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance at McGill University and was awarded with two Seymour Schulich fellowships to complete his Master’s degree at the same institution. He is now a member of the part-time faculty at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music where he teaches private students and small ensembles.
With the support of two separate grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, he recorded his first CD as a leader, “Sidewalk Etiquette” (Justin Time Records), and then spent a year in New York City studying privately with saxophonist, Mark Turner. “Sidewalk Etiquette” received much critical acclaim, including a 4-star review in Downbeat Magazine and a spot on their list of “The Best Discs of the Year”. His time in New York was well spent attending jam sessions, playing concerts and meeting some of his favourite musicians. Chet’s last CD, “Big Sky” (Justin Time Records), represents a new stage in this young artist’s career. Since the success of its release in May 2010, Chet’s quartet has appeared at many of Canada’s major festivals, including a concert at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and appearances at the Vancouver and Victoria international jazz festivals. “Big Sky” received much praise from the media, most notably, a 5/5 star review from the Montreal Gazette, which heralded the CD as “a career-defining milestone”. The quartet features Academy and Grammy award nominated guitarist, Ben Charest, Zack Lober on bass and Chet’s brother, Jim, on drums. Chet has recorded or performed alongside many great artists such as Oliver Jones, Guido Basso, Dave Douglas, John Abercrombie, Sam Roberts, Rufus Wainwright, Maria Schneider, Joe Lovano, Jason Moran, Tim Hagans and Bill Stewart, to name a few. Chet’s work can be heard on over one hundred albums.
Born in Edmonton, Canada, John Stetch began piano studies at age 19, after several years of clarinet and saxophone. Upon graduation at McGill University, he moved to New York City for many years and later upstate New York. Stetch has performed across Canada, The U.S., Japan, Europe, Ukraine, Brazil, and Israel. He has released 11 CDs under his own name, has 5 Juno Award nominations (Canada), and won the Prix Du Jazz at The Montreal International Jazz Festival. He has been frequently recorded by the CBC and NPR and has appeared on such programs as Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz and Weekend Edition with Leanne Hansen.
Stetch has performed and/or recorded with many jazz greats—Rufus Reid, Mark Turner, Seamus Blake, Jeff Ballard, Jim Black, Chris Cheek, Ben Street, Javon Jackson and others. He has recently been collaborating with classical and world musicians such as Alex Fiterstein, Sasha Vassiliev, Daniel Binelli, and has been commissioned to write for The CBC Radio Orchestra, The Borealis String Quartet, and recently premiered his own Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano.
His latest CD, released in August 2011, is entitled “Fabled States” on Addo Records, funded by The Canada Council For The Arts. It features 12 original and diverse trio compositions by Stetch—displaying sounds from his own Ukrainian ancestry, the plateau of Tibet, classical music, quartertone tuning, free-improvisation, and the tradition of swinging jazz. Stetch recently played his first all-classical piano recital and is preparing for a recording of his own arrangements, re-compositions and improvisations on Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Shostakovich. John Stetch is currently based in Brooklyn, NY, and also teaches at Cornell University.
Michael Bates is a compelling example of what it means to be a musician in the new millennium. He is a near virtuoso double bassist, visionary composer, active bandleader, curator and educator who thrives in many musical worlds. With an eye to the future, his music draws from jazz, classical, world music, rock and blends them into a lyrical, visceral and cinematic style. For over a decade he has been performing cutting edge music and “simply put, Bates has the ability to make a huge impact on the existing state of modern jazz”– (Glenn Astarita). He has been called “a charismatic player who manages to navigate that most difficult and rarely traveled road leading to accessible experimentation… “(Chris Watson, “The View”).
His five recordings as leader: “Outside Sources”( 2004), “A Fine Balance” (2006), “Clockwise” (2008) and “Live in New York (2009)” and Acrobat (2011) have been recorded for Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music, Sunnyside Records, Between the Lines and Pommerac records. All been released to wide acclaim and publications such as Downbeat, Jazztimes, Jazzman, Double Bassist, Signal to Noise, Jazz Podium and many more have lauded him as an emerging innovator.
His 2011 release on Sunnyside Records, “Acrobat: Music for, and by, Dmitri Shostakovich” showcases a brand new quintet with Chris Speed-saxophone, Russ Johnson-trumpet, Russ Lossing-piano and fender rhodes and Tom Rainey-drums and is clearly Bates’ most important release to date. It features the band filtering pieces by one of the great Russian composers through a fender rhodes driven band and 7 other compositions written by Michael in tribute to one of his musical heroes.
He grew up in Vancouver, Canada and even though he was exposed to musicians such as Sun Ra, Thomas Chapin, the Clusone Trio and Dave Holland, Michael began playing music in hardcore and punk rock bands before turning to jazz and classical music. He studied with the principal bassist of the Tokyo Symphony, Yoshio Nagashima, Don Thompson, Dave Young, Mark Helias and Tony Falanga. In 2002, he relocated and began performing with many of the New York’s best including Michael Blake, JD Allen, Tom Rainey, Chris Speed, Jeff Davis, Donny McCaslin, Russ Johnson, Dave Douglas, Michael Sarin, Gerald Cleaver, Russ Lossing and Marty Ehrlich. He has performed on dozens of recording as a sideman and Michael has toured all over Europe, Asia, the United States and Canada. As an educator, he has taught at the Banff Centre of the Arts and several universities worldwide.
Brooklyn based Jazz Drummer/Composer, and recent Juno nominee, Owen Howard has been on the cutting edge of the New York jazz scene for the past twenty years.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Canada his passion for the drums began at the age of 15. As a young up and coming drummer in Edmonton, Owen had ample opportunities perform and hone his skills as a sideman with many fine Canadian and International artists passing through town. In 1988 he made the move to New York, to complete his BFA at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.
â€œThese performances are thoughtfully conceived and rendered with maturityâ€, has been written of Owenâ€™s role as a bandleader and a composer. Owen currently has five cds to his credit, Sojourn, Pentagon (both on Koch), Days Before and After (co-lead with Andrew Rathbun) and Time Cycles (both on Fresh Sound). His most recent CD â€œDrum Loreâ€ (BJUR Records) received a 2011 JUNO award nomination for Jazz Album of the Year and has garnered much high praise from fans and critics around the globe!
With his personal approach to the drums, Owen is much in demand as a sideman as well. He has shared stage and studio with greats such as Joe Lovano, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, Dave Liebman, Kenny Werner, George Garzone, Dave Holland, Sheila Jordan and Tom Harrell, to name only a few. Being a vital part of a community of creative improvisers, Owen continues to collaborate with contemporaries such as John Oâ€™Gallagher, Andrew Rathbun, Frank Carlberg, Adam Kolker, Benedikt Jahnel, John Hebert, Ben Monder, Chris Potter, Andy Middleton, and many, many others. Owen has over 40 appearances on recordings as a sideman and continues to tour the world over, both as a leader and a freelance artist in a wide range of musical contexts.
As an educator, Owen has conducted workshops and clinics throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. He has been on faculty at The Banff Centre Of The Arts, The Maine Jazz Camp and has held guest professorships at St. Francis Xavier University (Nova Scotia) and The University of Fine Arts, in Berlin.