Bassist, composer and educator Ashley Summers is a Canadian-born, Chicago-based
artist whose talents have brought her to stages all over the world. Known for a lyrical
style that is punctuated by a sinewy impetuousness, Summers's artistic perspective
has a striking sincerity that is both invigorating and nostalgic.
Summers has brought her "glorious tone that pours forth passion and groove"
(Jazzreview.com, 2010) to the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Umbria Jazz Festival, and
Jazz a Vienne. She has also toured venues throughout the US, from concert halls like
the Kennedy Center for the Arts to Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn and the Lilypad in
Boston. Recent performances have included special guests Aaron Goldberg, Corey
Christiansen, Leo Blanco, Seamus Blake and Kenny Werner.
For more than a decade, Summers has been leading her own large and small
ensembles in an effort to showcase her original music and the extraordinary talent of
her peers in Canada, the US and Europe. Her compositional style emphasizes effusive
melodies and dynamic harmonies derived from a vast range of musical influences.
The result is a compelling narrative that chronicles stories of courage, despair,
resilience, mysticism and more. Recently, the title track on Summers's 2017
ears&eyes Records release, 'True North', was recognized by the International Society
for Jazz Arrangers and Composers as the 2017 "Outstanding New Music Composition"
in the small ensemble category. The piece was performed by members of the Chuck
Owen Big Band at ISJCA's annual symposium in Tampa, FL, in May 2017.
In addition to her busy performance schedule, Summers is an in-demand educator.
For several years she served as director of IAJE Canada's "Jazzmobile" project, which
placed professional jazz musicians in Canadian schools to motivate, educate and
inspire young musicians. She also frequently serves as an adjudicator, guest artist
and clinician at festivals and universities throughout Canada and the US, including the
annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow. She spends considerable time in
Summer months as a faculty member for jazz intensives throughout North America
and frequently works with the Archipelago Project, a non-profit music education
ensemble based in Traverse City, MI. She has also held interim faculty appointments
at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Ashland University and Kent State University and
recently completed a full-time visiting Jazz Studies faculty position at Morehead State
University in Kentucky.
Although she is a proud Canadian citizen, Summers is thrilled to be in Chicago, IL,
where she is perpetually developing her own projects and supporting a variety of
exciting local and international artists in jazz and other genres, both live and in the
studio. She recently debuted a new quintet, ‘Ashley Summers’s Raîson d'Être', at The
Whistler in Chicago, which features longtime collaborators Daniel Bruce, Daniel Murphy
and Chris Baker as well as the outstanding young tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi.
Her long-awaited debut album as a leader, featuring saxophonist Seamus Blake, was
recently released on March 24th, 2017, on the ears&eyes Records label.
"...a glorious tone that pours forth passion and groove." - JazzReview.com, 2010
"...Summers' lyrical and sinewy bass..