Primary Instrument: Piano
Alex Clements; so many adjectives can be used to describe the many facets of this talented, creative, well-rounded Canadian jazz pianist and composer. Clements is an internationally recognized artist, performing in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Morocco, and Cyprus. One of Clements’ highest accomplishments is an Alberta Achievement Award, which was presented to him by the Government of Alberta
However, this is only the beginning of his accomplishments; Clements holds a Master's degree in Jazz Performance from McGill University and a Bachelor's degree in Arranging from Berklee College of Music. He also completed two associateship performance diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music and Mount Royal College Conservatory of Music, where he was awarded a gold medal and scholarship.
In the past fifteen years, Clements has received numerous scholarships and awards from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, The Canada Council, The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Record (FACTOR), McGill University (Margaret Houlding Memorial Prize), Berklee College of Music (Achievement Scholarships), and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (Arts Study Grants).
Clements has performed at numerous jazz festivals including, the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Kissimmee Jazz Festival. He competed twice in the Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition in Paris; the competition consisted of 59 top jazz pianists from around the world.
Clements maintains an active performing career in jazz, organizing his own concerts as well as directing and working as a sideman at many venues across the US. He recently performed a concert featuring his original compositions and held a master class at Abilene Christian University in Texas. Clements skills as a composer and arranger are recognized by a series of commissions for Canada’s nationally known Montreal Jazz Big Band, including a 60-minute suite entitled “Jazz Images” portraying the history of jazz. The band was awarded a Prix Opus (Quebec Music Award) after performing this work.
Clements is also an active film composer, recently completing a score and recording of music for the Rockefeller Center’s multi-media exhibit presenting Paramount Pictures re-issue of It’s a Wonderful Life. He also wrote the music for a 45-minute documentary entitled Lewis and Clark: Following their Footsteps.
Additionally, his music can be heard on the McGill Jazz Orchestra’s latest release Ostinatocious which includes Part 1 of his Suite No. 4 ‘Cycles’. In addition to his own album, Clements has recorded with singer Sophie Lapierre on her album entitled They Can't Take That Away From Me, with soprano saxophonist Monik Nordine’s on her album Not Just To But Over The Moon, tenor saxophonist E.J. Hughes on his album Audrey, and more recently, with tenor saxophonist Alain Bradette on his album State of Mind. In December of 2004 Clements was a member of the peer assessment committee for the Grants to Professional Musicians (Non-Classical Music Grants) Program for the Canada Council for the Arts, the principal federal agency for the support of the arts in Canada.
A skillful composer and virtuosic musician, he has performed on numerous CD’s, including his own entitled Suite No. 3 ‘The Cycle of Life,’ featuring his original compositions, as well as a new solo piano album entitled Emily’s Song. The album was recently featured on Radio Palermo La Guagua, Buenos Aires, Argentina, WUCF-FM Orlando Jazz and more, and CBC radio show Afterhours. To support his latest release Clements has made numerous radio appearances and most recently performed on WUCF-FM radio Orlando with his Quartet recording a live performance paying tribute to Bill Evans. He also performs frequently in the Lake Timucua Concert Series in various settings including solo, trio, quartet, Classical and with international jazz trumpeter Tiger Okoshi. He performed with saxophonist Randy Cole for the Central Florida Jazz Society. He also worked with a jazz trio in Seoul, Korea and his music was heard on a local television mini-series.
Continuing his journey, Clements is releasing in September of 2007 his latest works Waiting For You featuring Clements in a quartet setting with internationally renowned drummer Danny Gottlieb, Canadian saxophonist Alain Bradette, and bassist Chris Queenen from Orlando. Danny Gottlieb has performed with all the jazz greats including Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea and more.
Alex Clements paints in watercolor toneson Emily's Song, a heartfelt solo piano disc that puts the Alberta based composer's graceful melodicism front and center. The title track and A Song for Ethan, dedicated to Clements' children, have a sunny, lilting manner that juxtaposes innocence with inner strength, love of today with hope for the future. The other tracks may have stormier undercurrents or somber overtones, but Clements never abandons that core optimism, and his aching rendition of I Love You, Porgy seems bathied in soft light.
Kyle O' Brien, Jazzscene
Every musician has his or her inspiration. For some it is art, for others it’s a city or place, or even literature. For Alex Clements it’s his children and his life. The pianist has produced a lovely collection of solo pieces, two of which were inspired by his offspring, including the loping title track. The other, Ethan’s Song, for his son, is a pretty, light waltz. The other tracks are, according to Clements’s liner notes, “inspired by people and events…in my life.” This kind of personal nature is what draws a listener to his poignant compositions.
Bruce VonStiers, BVS Reviews
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If you like easy to listen to, soft and gentle solo piano music, then Emily's Song is an album you should pick up. Mixing two Michael Legrand songs and one silky Gershwin tune in with some original compositions, Alex Clements has recorded a wonderfully subtle jazz album.
Carmel DeSoto, Jazzpolice
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A solo performance CD is perhaps the greatest challenge of all, exposing every weakness in a player’s communicative skill, which usually results in a non-musical experience for the listener. Clements truly has met this challenge on Emily’s Song. Clements has the ability to create and sustain a musically flowing statement that will keep the listener’s interest. Highly recommended!
Jim Santella, LA Jazz Scene
His session simmers gently wiht a lovely lyrical glow that never fades. Throughout the session, Clements sparkles with a crisp and clean appraoch to hte keyboard that enunciates each melody clearly with a well defined drift. He's dreamy wiht slower pieces and driven on his livelier ones. Clements is an effective communicator who puts his feelings into music naturally.
Carissa Chesanek, featured on TheCelebrityCafe.com, CDInsight.com, PlatterPicks.com, ToTheCenter.com, TrekkerTime.com
The composer/pianist released his first solo album, Emily’s Song, which is inspired by the people in his life, and three of the songs are covers. His piano technique gives off such an incredible, romantic, calming feeling, which could put anybody at ease. This album is deep, passionate, and full of talent, a definite must have for those long, cold, sitting-by-the-fire nights.
George W. Carroll, Ejazz News
What a wonderful experience to just 'sit' & imbibe & listen to such 'raw' piano talent as put forth through the hands of one Alex Clements. This is a jazz pianist with an enormous heart & soul for his chosen craft.. Jazz & The American Songbook!! His choice of Michel Le Grand's music to add to his already beautified project just shows more the fact that he's an inveterate romantic. He'll break your heart...He broke mine! Hearing Alex, one definitely 'feels' the music. Next time your laying In bed with your lover, wife, girl...Whatever...Give he/she a nice warm hug and lose yourself in this guy's art. It's very easy to do. I'm in love again!!
Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
Pianist/composer Alex Clements handles the freedom admirably on Emily's Song, a set of eight original tunes that were inspired by people (a son, a daughter) and events in his life, plus three well-chosen covers. Clements' influences seem to come from the gentler, more introspective group of pianists, those with a light touch and a taste for nuance and pretty melodies: Bill Evans, Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett. His playing reveals a tenderness, a romantic and introspective world view the type of sound an inattentive listener can take for lightweight stuff. But Emily's Song can't be dismissed in that fashion; there's too much depth and beauty and on-the-sleeve emotion here. These are sounds that are, start to finish, captivating, and the pianist seems particulary inspired on Gershwin's “I Loves You Porgy,” a flexible but loving exploration of the classic; while his original “Dinner for Two” has a prickly tone and gathering tension; and he plays Michel Legrand's “You Must Believe in Spring” with a lush, lilting gorgeousness on this top-notch solo piano outing.
Grego Applegate Edwards, Cadence Magazine
He wrties in a lyrical vein. Song for Ethan has a late Evan's feel. It is a waltz witha a sophisticated harmonic sequence and a contemplative melody. The improv that follows has a soaring expansive quality - and makes you want to hear him with a trio, since it swings increasingly. Inspired By features an almost Rachmaninovian rolling left had accompaniment to an increasingly rhythmic overall feel and a restless melody. There is certainly a Romantic Era feel to some of these. The title track Emily's Songhas a Jazz waltz feel with a pendulum chord structure and lyrical line. The improv section shows flow and builds dramatically. A sensitive performance of a Legrand ballad Pieces of Dreams follows. This guy doesn't try to wow you with his technique; sheer musicality and taste predominate. His playing breathes with life. Dinner for Two is a good vehicle to anchor his vividly imaginative inventions. With a rhythmic drive and an interesting synthesis of Corea, Jarrett and Evans influences Clements stands out from the pack. Emily's Song is a joyous listen.
Paul J. Youngman, The Live Music Report
Emily’s Song is an elegant CD that features a wonderfully talented pianist, Alex Clements, who displays a magical touch with an inspirational solo piano performance. A product of our times, Clements borrows from the best in classical, contemporary, jazz and world flavours. He blends them together and delivers them up in an enchanting and delightful manner. A fine offering of solo piano from an exceptional pianist.
Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap
Piano jazzman that's been tearing it up north of the border, as well as around the world, sits still long enough to put the spotlight on just him and his piano. On the best tradition of solo piano dates, Clements is up for the task turning in a wonderfully textured date that almost makes you forget this is a one man army. He wears his feelings on his sleeve and you are never far from the real deal with this cat.
George Fendel, Jazzscene
The key word for Alex Clements, I would think, is pretty. In a solo piano performance, Clements has chosen a combination of standards and original compositions, each with a flowing, uplifting, pretty presence. For example, Inspired By suggests that Clements has played some Chopin someplace in his career. Others, all worthy of hearing, include Pieces Of Dreams, I Loves You Porgy and You Must Believe In Spring. Several additional originals round out a very listenable, disc. Clements possesses a crystalline touch and I hope we‚ll hear more from him.
Edward Blanco, Ejazz News
An enchanting solo effort from Canadian Alex Clements, Emily’s Song conveys an emotion and warmth that shines through in a contemporary/ classical vein with rich lyrical playing by a virtuoso jazz pianist. The album is essentially a set of soft and sensitive piano music presented with a light touch on the keys appealing to ones softer side. Clements plays five original compositions of which two were inspired by his children. The opener, “A Song for Ethan,” written for his son, begins the embrace of beautiful music that last through out the album. Penned for his daughter, “Emily’s Song” is played in a quick tempo mood as the pianist runs through the keys in firm crisp fashion. The next tune, “Inspired By” is an excellent example of an energetic classical sound that one might hear in a concert hall setting of classical music. Prominently featured here are two Michel Legrand standards, “Pieces of Dreams” offered in a simple ballad style, and the familiar “You Must Believe In Spring,” which for me, is one of the most beautiful renditions of this immortal chart ever recorded. The Gershwin/Heyward “I loves You Porgy” is the other standard piece on this disc, presented in a slow ballad style played to the heart in a nine minute tribute to the musical style of the great Bill Evans. Clements solo journey ends with the soft and tender sweet number “Waltz for Peace” completing a masterful performance of a relaxing session of wonderful music that we all have a need for from time to time.
Waiting For You
Tracks: Blues For GB; Nuite De Paris; Waiting for you...; Old Balsam; Time to Heal; New Horizons; Emily's Song; The New Tune; All I Can Give; Mist on the Water.
Personnel: Alex Clements (piano), Alain Bradette (soprano and tenor saxophone), Chris Queenan (acoustic bass), Danny Gottlieb (drums, percussion).
Tracks: A Song for Ethan; Inspired by...; Emily's Song; Pieces of Dreams; Dinner for Two; I Loves you Porgy; You Must Believe in Spring; Waltz for Peace;
Personnel: Alex Clements (piano)
Suite No. 3 The Cycle of Life
Tracks: Birth; Adolescence; Adulthood; Quest for Purpose; Rebirth; Do it My Way; Toyland; Drew's Lullaby; Gingerale Ham; Thank You; Drew's Lullaby(Vocal).
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