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Francois Bourassa

François Bourassa—now with ten albums of original music under his belt—has become an ambassador for Canada’s thriving jazz community at an international level. A paragon of both consistency and evolution, he continues to seek out new challenges for himself, his colleagues, and his growing community of listeners. On April 16, 2021, Bourassa released his first solo piano album L’Impact du silence and is releasing “Swirl”, a new live album with his Quartet on July 7th, 2023.

Bourassa’s talent was initially recognized by the Festival international de jazz de Montréal in 1985, kickstarting his trio’s recording and performing career throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. In 1996, Bourassa’s trio joined forces with saxophonist and flutist André Leroux. Bourassa’s eponymous quartet has been a staple of Montreal’s artistic landscape for 25 years. The band features founding bassist Guy Boisvert, longtime saxophonist André Leroux, and Guillaume Pilote as the most recent addition.

Their 2001 Live album recorded at Toronto’s Top O’ the Senator received a Juno award. In 2007, he received  the Oscar Peterson Award from the Montreal International Jazz Festival for his contribution to the development of Canadian jazz. In celebration of his compositional output, Bourassa was also the recipient of SOCAN’s Hagood Hardy Award in 2011.

Number 9 (2017) was heralded as one of the best Canadian jazz albums of 2017 (Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen) and praised by Bley herself and Steve Swallow as a “wondrous piece of work.” Over the past decades, the quartet has garnered multiple Félix and Opus awards for their recordings and live performances, respectively.

For more than 30 years, Bourassa, in parallel with its activities related to the Quartet, has continued to multiply artistic projects and collaborations (Jean Derome, Pierre Tanguay, Myra Melford, Rémi Bolduc, Yannick Rieu, Michel Donato, Yves Leveillée, Marie-Josée Simard, Jeanne Rochette and more) orchestral commissions, chamber music works, ballet scores, among others. Several of his projects have been in nomination or winners of Prix Opus and Félix. In 2022, he presents a new project: Duo Confluence with Philippe Côté, album to come in 2023.


  • 2022 Juno Award 
  • 2005 Félix Award 
  • 2007 Oscar Peterson Prize of the Montréal International Jazz Festival 
  • 2011 SOCAN Hagood Hardy Award
  • Between 2002 and 2022 - Won 10 Opus Award 
  • Plus more nominations and numerous citations in other projects


Album Review

Philippe Cote / Francois Bourassa: Confluence

Read "Confluence" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Confluence, on its surface, may come off as a minor work of art. It is the juxtaposition of just two instruments--saxophone and piano--braiding sounds together in what seems an improvisational mode. Francois Bourassa stays in the piano chair. Philippe Cote's seating arrangement shifts between tenor and soprano saxophones, piano and prepared piano. But the limitation of instrumentation in the hands of these Montreal-based artists contains mysterious depths--intricate swirls of silts appearing beneath the surface of crystalline water. Influences of modern ...

Album Review

Francios Bourassa Quartet: Swirl: Live @ Piccolo

Read "Swirl: Live @ Piccolo" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Canadian jazz artist Francois Bourassa, a seasoned musician boasting eleven albums of his original music under his name, went into Studio Piccolo, Montreal in July of 2022 to record Swirl. He employs a quartet to realize his artistic vision here, a classic line-up of piano, bass, drums and a saxophonist who doubles on flute. The pianist proves himself here a writer of unorthodox beauty, crafting circuitous tunes full of intricate and unexpected twists and turns. The twelve-plus minute ...

Album Review

Francois Bourassa: L'Impact du Silence

Read "L'Impact du Silence" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Solo piano outings often serve as a baring of the artist's soul. Montreal-based pianist Francois Bourassa does just that on his tenth album, L'impact du Silence. Influenced by the piano artistry of Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau and Bill Evans, Bourassa has concentrated on small ensemble work—trios and quartets—on his previous recordings. Bringing his classical music influences into play, he transforms the blank canvas of silence into a work of introspection, notes chosen with a solemn deliberation which allows the open ...

Album Review

Francois Bourassa Quartet: Number 9

Read "Number 9" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Number 9 è il titolo del nono album a proprio nome del pianista e band leader di Montreal Francois Bourassa, alla testa del suo classico quartetto, ormai attivo da oltre diciotto anni, che lo vede a fianco del multistrumentista André Leroux, del contrabbassista Guy Boisvert e del batterista Greg Ritchie. La formazione propone un jazz moderno vario e spigliato, basato su composizioni originali di Bourassa tutte piuttosto lunghe—due sole di circa sei minuti, le altre oltre i nove—e ...

Live Review

Francois Bourassa: Quid Pro Piano

Read "Francois Bourassa: Quid Pro Piano" reviewed by Robert J. Lewis

François Bourassa 2010 Festival International de Jazz de MontréalChapelle historique du Bon-PasteurMontreal, CanadaJune 30, 2010 When pianist/composer François Bourassa performed in the mid-1980s at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the sound he produced registered like a doubled-up fist of angry, aggressive music that, stylistically, recalled attack dog pugilist Roberto Duran, when he was at his bellicose best. And then, a chance encounter in 2008, with an up-and-coming local club singer, demonstrated ...

Album Review

Francois Bourassa Quartet: Indefinite Time

Read "Indefinite Time" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

The Francois Bourassa Quartet is not content to just play jazz straight; and thankfully for the listener, that's a good thing, as they present some forward-looking and contemplative music. The core members have performed together for over twenty years, and the ensemble is one of Canada's premier jazz groups, having thrilled audiences and impressed critics at events such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Led by pianist Francois Bourassa, the ensemble is rounded out by bassist Guy Boisvert, drummer Greg ...

Album Review

Francois Bourassa Trio + Andre Leroux: Live

Read "Live" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Let me preface any commentary about this record by first saying this; it's hard. Hard as nails. Excuse the reviewer for indulgence in hype but I will venture to say this is one of the most intense jazz records these ears have heard in some time. It's that hot.

It all starts with the opening track “30 Octobre 85". If that sounds like the date a revolution went off, that's all well and good because there is definitely a minor ...

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Francois Bourassa Quartet Releases "Number 9" on Effendi Records

Francois Bourassa Quartet Releases "Number 9" on Effendi Records

Source: Jason Byrne, Red Cat Publicity

Featuring Francois Bourassa (piano, compositions), André Leroux (saxophones), Guy Boisvert (bass) & Greg Ritchie (drums) Available October 27 on Effendi Records (distributed worldwide by Naxos) Award-winning, critically-acclaimed pianist/composer Francois Bourassa’s new album—Number 9, his ninth album of all original music, dropping on October 27, 2017 on Effendi Records (distributed worldwide by Naxos), features his Quartet of longtime collaborators, saxophonist/clarinetist/flutist André Leroux, bassist Guy Boisvert and drummer Greg Ritchie. This elite squad of musicians, and their singular telepathy and esprit de ...


Performance / Tour

Francois Bourassa Quartet Tours the States June 14-16

Francois Bourassa Quartet Tours the States June 14-16

Source: Jason Byrne, Red Cat Publicity

"A pianist and composer of high stature in his native Montreal, Mr. Bourassa favors avant-gardism of a liquid and often lyrical sort. He has an established rapport with the saxophonist Andre Leroux" --The New York Times (Nate Chinen) “Elegant and concise compositions... full of rhythmic energy... generous lyricism... a true collaborative effort... Invites you to watch out for the next live performances of this excellent band" --Jazz Magazine (France, October 2008) 2007 Oscar Peterson Prize Recipient at Festival International de ...


Performance / Tour

Award-Winning Canadian Pianist/Composer François Bourassa At The Jazz Gallery Nov. 9th

Award-Winning Canadian Pianist/Composer François Bourassa At The Jazz Gallery Nov. 9th

Source: All About Jazz

Pianist/composer François Bourassa, leader of one of Canada’s most celebrated jazz ensembles for the past 22 years, will make a rare New York appearance performing in a trio with saxophonist André Leroux and bassist Miles Perkin on Wednesday, Nov. 9th at The Jazz Gallery. Bourassa’s music is distinguished by a pronounced European sensibility and approach to harmonics, improvisation and performance that links him stylistically closer to Paul Bley than to other Canadian jazz pianists with a more blues-oriented sound like ...


''His solo piano music is right on the line between composed and improvised; certain things must happen, yet there’s also room to experiment. Is Maurice Ravel dreaming of Paul Bley — or is it the other way around? '' - Ethan Iverson

 ‘’Artfully restrained, thoughtful and sensitive…a virtuoso with an ethereal approach to his material… richly configured’’ – New York City Jazz Record 


“I am compelled to write to let you know that both of us were moved by the music you and the quartet made. … Congratulations on a wondrous piece of work. … And, we should add, it’s thoroughly refreshing to hear music that forces players to stretch to the limit.”  -Steve Swallow & Carla Bley 

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Swirl: Live @ Piccolo

Effendi Records



Odd Sound Records


L'Impact du Silence

Effendi Records


Number 9

Effendi Records



Self Produced


Indefinite Time

Effendi Records


Muted Song

From: Confluence
By Francois Bourassa


From: Swirl: Live @ Piccolo
By Francois Bourassa


From: L'Impact du Silence
By Francois Bourassa


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