Born: December 9, 1983 Primary Instrument: Piano
Toronto-based jazz pianist and composer Amanda Tosoff has emerged as one of the top new talents on the Canadian jazz scene. Originally from White Rock BC, Amanda grew up in a musical family, and attended Semiahmoo high school, renowned for its big band jazz program under award-winning educator David Proznick. In 2005, Amanda earned her degree in jazz performance from Capilano University, where she studied with Canadian jazz greats Ross Taggart, Mike Allen, Chris Sigerson, Ihor Kukurudza and more. Amanda has performed with a long list of internationally recognized talent, including such luminaries as Ingrid Jensen, Jon Wikan, Phil Dwyer, Jodi Proznick, Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Christine Jensen, Joel Miller, Brad Turner, Steve Wallace, Campbell Ryga and many others. She has received mentoring and private instruction from some of the greatest pianists in Canada and the United States, including Don Thompson, Brad Turner, Bruno Hubert, George Colligan, Phil Dwyer and Uri Caine.
Amanda’s long-time band features fellow award-winning musicians Evan Arntzen (tenor and soprano saxophone), Sean Cronin (bass) and Morgan Childs (drums). With this group, Amanda has released 2 CDs on Vancouver’s Cellar Live label: Still Life (2006), and Wait and See (2008) featuring Juno award winning trumpeter Brad Turner. The Amanda Tosoff Quartet has opened for jazz legends Bobby Hutcherson, Renee Rosnes and Oliver Jones, and has been featured on CBC Radio programs Hot Air, Tonic, Jazz Beat and Canada Live. In 2008, the group was chosen as one of only seven Canadian bands to be featured on Espace Musique’s live concert series Portraits Jazz. They have also been featured on US radio, charting among the top 50 records on JazzWeek, and being chosen along with Oscar Peterson and Diana Krall for the CD sampler Take Five (National Public Radio).
The quartet has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award (2007) at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and the General Motors Grand Prix de Jazz at the Montréal Jazz Festival (2009). In 2010, the quartet was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Banff Centre Winter Workshop. Most recently, Amanda received a Canada Council grant to study with pianist Phil Markowitz in New York City for three months.
Amanda released her 3rd CD as a leader in the fall of 2010, the first release on her own record label Oceans Beyond Records. In addition to her long-time quartet, the album features NY-based trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, and Toronto’s Kelly Jefferson on tenor saxophone and William Carn on trombone. The album features nine new Tosoff originals, with influences ranging from Duke Ellington and Ray Charles to African grooves and modern pop music.
Awards:Montreal Grand Prix De Jazz - Montreal Jazz Festival 2009
“... a gifted musician with refined compositional skills.” - Marke Andrews, (Vancouver Sun Review)
They prove that jazz is in very good hands indeed! - Paul Grant (CBC Radio's Hot Air)
“Tosoff shows a remarkable grasp of the art of the song.” - Raul d'Gama Rose, (Allaboutjazz.com)
“Two things that make Tosoff's jazz fun are the generosity she gives to her backing quartet that leaves it lots of room, and her piano playing, which has a playful curiosity” - Tom Harrison (The Province)
“This group exemplifies so many of the great and positive things that young jazz musicians have going for them; compositional talent, instrumental talent, and devotion to the music and one another.” - Katie Malloch (CBC Radio)
...Tosoff shows great promise: as a composer, leader, and performer... Her quartet swings with a genuine spirit, and she interprets clearly with a crisp motion. .. she brings the piano into full view through her calm demeanor and complete confidence. - Jim Santella (Cadence Magazine)
Amanda performed with her quartet at the Jazz Festival and they were absolutely stunning. Everyone was coming up and asking, 'Who is this band?' ... the quality of her composing is extremely high, and she swings, yet she can be introspective. Definitely an artist and a band to watch. - John Orysik (Coastal Jazz and Blues Society)
There is an obvious cohesiveness and comfort level amongst these musicians. Grooves hang in a common pocket, and the young players show a mature level of sensitivity to each other’s nuances. Perhaps even more impressive is the harmonic sophistication of Tosoff’s writing. These are tunes that flow logically, and form the bed for her lyrical melodies, but the harmonies are interesting and provide a lot of meat for these players to dig into. - Lyle Rebbeck (Medicine Hat Jazz Society)
...an assured, forward-thinking voice on the city's mainstream scene. - Greg Buium (Vancouver Sun)
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Amanda currently teaches private jazz lessons in Toronto as well as over the internet. Contact her through www.amandatosoff.com for more information. She has also taught workshops on composition, jazz history and improvisation at schools such as Lethbridge University, Red Deer College, Capilano College and more.