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Tara Davidson

Tara Davidson is a JUNO Award-winning alto and soprano saxophonist who has performed around the world at such prestigious venues as New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the acclaimed North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, the JZ Jazz Club in Shanghai, China, and The Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C.

As a bandleader, Davidson has produced seven recordings since 2004 and performed on approximately forty recordings as a side musician. Five of her seven recordings as a leader or co-leader (Carn Davidson 9) have been nominated by the JUNO Awards for “Jazz Album of the Year”. Davidson has been associated with seven additional JUNO nominations for her work as a side musician with Ernesto Cervini's "Joy" project, Andrew Downing’s Otterville, Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop (x2), the Mike Murley Septet, CBC Records’ “Jazz Legends Live” project, and Jens Lindemann’s Order of Canada Band (Yamaha Big Band member). In 2020, Davidson won a JUNO Award for Jazz Album of the Year: Group as a member of Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop.

​Some of Davidson’s other honours include being selected as the lead alto saxophonist for the Canadian National Jazz Orchestra in 2022 and for the European Broadcasting Union’s European Youth Jazz Orchestra in 2008, being selected as one of five finalists in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz saxophone competition in 2008 and being selected as one of three finalists for the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Emerging Jazz Artist Award in 2015. In 2013, Davidson was awarded the Ontario Arts Council’s Chalmers Professional Development Grant to study with saxophone legend, Dick Oatts, in New York City.

​Davidson also enjoys a diverse freelance career as a woodwind player (saxophones, clarinets, and flutes). She has worked with musical theatre companies such as Mirvish Productions in Toronto, the Stratford Festival, the Musical Stage Company, and Drayton Entertainment, and with such symphonies as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Ballet Orchestra. Studio and performance opportunities have allowed Davidson to perform alongside such artists as Oliver Jones, Joel Frahm, Tommy Banks, Jens Lindemann, Jazzmeia Horn, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Wycliffe Gordon, Phil Dwyer, Dave Douglas, Shirley Bassey, Ingrid Jenson, Christine Jensen, Brad Turner, and John Riley.

Davidson is an active educator on faculty at the University of Toronto and York University.

Awards

JUNO Award for Jazz Album of the Year: Group (as a member of Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop, "Abundance", 2020)

JUNO nomination for Best Traditional Jazz Album of the Year (Tara Davidson, "Code Breaking", 2008) JUNO nomination for Best Traditional Jazz Album of the Year (Carn Davidson 9, "Nine", 2014) JUNO nomination for Jazz Album of the Year: Solo (Tara Davidson, "Duets", 2016) JUNO nomination for Jazz Album of the Year: Group (Carn Davidson 9, "Murphy", 2018) JUNO nomination for Jazz Album of the Year: Group (Carn Davidson 9, "The History of Us", 2023)

Gear

Tara Davidson is proud to be a Yamaha Artist and plays their Custom Z alto saxophone.


Tags

5
Album Review

Ernesto Cervini: A Canadian Songbook

Read "A Canadian Songbook" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian


Composer and drummer Ernesto Cervini is a stalwart of the Canadian creative music scene both as an artist and promoter. His ninth release as a leader, the captivating A Canadian Songbook, is a collection of seven intricate pieces, composed by him and other compatriots. Cervini, at the head of his sextet Turboprop, deftly balances collective harmony and individual expressions and delivers all with refreshing spontaneity. The leader starts off his arrangement of pianist James Hill's “Skeletons" with sparse ...

7
Album Review

Ernesto Cervini's Turboprop: A Canadian Songbook

Read "A Canadian Songbook" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Toronto-based drummer, Ernesto Cervini has a “T" theme going with the groups he leads. There is the funky, forward-thinking Tetrahedron. Then we have the terrific trio (bass, drums and saxophone) TuneTown. And the third: Turboprop, presenting their fourth album, A Canadian Songbook, which digs into the musical soul of their home turf. Turboprop is a sextet with a powerhouse three-horn front line, featuring three of Canada's finest, Tara Davidson on alto saxophone, Joel Frahm on tenor saxophone, and ...

30
Album Review

The Nimmons Tribute: Volume 2--Generational

Read "Volume 2--Generational" reviewed by Jack Bowers


If you live in Canada and are not familiar with the name Phil Nimmons, you probably have not been paying close enough attention. Nimmons, who surpassed the century mark in June 2023, is often referred to as the “Dean of Canadian Jazz," and listing his many accomplishments and awards would require far more space than is ordinarily set aside for a complete review. Suffice to say that Nimmons has been active as a composer, arranger, performer and educator longer than ...

5
Album Review

The Nimmons Tribute: Volume 2 - Generational

Read "Volume 2  - Generational" reviewed by John Chacona


Anyone who listened to Canadian radio after the adoption of the so-called Canadian Content requirement in the '70s probably heard a lot of Phil Nimmons' music. To be sure, the clarinetist, composer and arranger had achieved some recognition south of the 49th parallel through his RCA recordings of the '50s but, by choosing to base his career in jny: Toronto, he became a living symbol of Canadian jazz. When the nation celebrated the 100th anniversary of Confederation in 1967, Nimmons ...

3
Album Review

Nicky Schrire: Nowhere Girl

Read "Nowhere Girl" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


The search for identity is a sine qua non of any artist's experience and development. But for a musician like Nicky Schrire, it goes much deeper than most. Born in London, raised in South Africa, studying and entering the professional ranks in New York and working back through her initial points of origin before relocating to Toronto in 2020, this noted vocalist-composer has established herself as a globetrotter of the first order. Stylistically, as with geography, Schrire hits multiple points ...

36
Album Review

The Composers Collective Big Band: The Toronto Project

Read "The Toronto Project" reviewed by Jack Bowers


The term Composers Collective is quite often a thinly veiled phrase that signifies “experimental" or “avant-garde" jazz. Thankfully, that is far from true on the Composers Collective Big Band's irrepressible The Toronto Project, which carries the listener on a buoyant and colorful musical journey through Canada's largest city, capital of the province of Ontario and home to a number of superb jazz musicians. True, there are some moments when the Collective veers from conservative to exploratory, but ...

29
Album Review

Carn Davidson 9: The History of Us

Read "The History of Us" reviewed by Jack Bowers


From north of the U.S. border comes The History of Us, a warm-hearted album by the Carn Davidson 9, a Toronto-based nonet co-led by trombonist William Carn and saxophonist Tara Davidson. The album consists of a pair of three-part suites, one by Carn, the other by Davidson, separated by Carn's amiable composition, “Goodbye Old Friend," a fond salute to his late and dearly loved cat, Murphy. Carn's “Finding Home" suite, which leads things off, was inspired by ...

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Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Magpie

TPR Records
2024

buy

A Canadian Songbook

TBR Records
2024

buy

Nowhere Girl

Anzic Records
2023

buy

The Toronto Project

Self Produced
2023

buy

Volume 2 -...

Self Produced
2023

buy

Volume 2--Generational

Self Produced
2023

buy

Part 1: The Road

From: Magpie
By Tara Davidson

Skeletons

From: A Canadian Songbook
By Tara Davidson

Arf

From: Volume 2 - Generational
By Tara Davidson

West Toronto Ode

From: The Toronto Project
By Tara Davidson

Traveler

From: Nowhere Girl
By Tara Davidson

Love Is For The Birds

From: Nowhere Girl
By Tara Davidson

My Shining Hour

From: Abundance
By Tara Davidson

Granada Bus

From: Rev
By Tara Davidson

The Windup

From: Turboprop
By Tara Davidson

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