Born: December 3, 1978 Primary Instrument: Piano
A relentlessly multi-faceted pianist and composer, Ali Berkok can be seen performing in a variety of settings all over his home base of Toronto.
In demand as a sideman in various jazz settings, Ali is well on the way to discovering a lasting and personal voice in improvised music. Work on his first album of original compositions was completed in February 2007, as Arkana Music's Hyprovisation was released. Shortly thereafter, Ali visited New York on a study grant courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts. Under the mentorship of Vijay Iyer, Ali was further exposed to the rich tradition of jazz and improvised music post-1965. Ahead is a period of exploration and research into alternative methods of musical organization which will manifest itself in a collection of compositions, tentatively titled Kaleidoscope, in September 2007.
Ali is an original member of the band Klezfactor, who have received critical success with their debut album The Golem of Bathurst Manor. Klezfactor is a diverse ensemble based around the compositions of saxophonist Mike Anklewicz, who shrewdly fuses klezmer, jazz, classical and even disco. Other successful collaborations include stints with jazz vocalist Karen Manion, and the Toronto Jazz Orchestra with whom he had the privilege of working with such artists as saxophonist Jane Bunnett and vocalist Kurt Elling.
A recipient of the 2005 Ken Page Memorial Trust, Ali was accepted to the Banff Centre for the Arts workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. Here, he had the opportunity to learn from artists such as Don Byron, Vijay Iyer, Greg Osby, Han Bennink and Dave Douglas. Previously under the instruction of Don Thompson, Ali attended Humber College’s Jazz Studies program. Having also received a Bachelor of Music degree at Queen's University, Ali has a wide perspective and is constantly in search of new ideas.
Tracks: Drive; Monkey News; Brooding; In Stitches; Give; Either Or; Through Sacco's Eyes; Our Man In Cleveland; Re- Stitched; Keep Thinking
Personnel: Ali Berkok: Piano; Mark Laver: Saxophone; Jake Oelrichs: Drums; Gord Mowat: Bass
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