Born: February 4, 1975 Primary Instrument: Piano
Born in Seoul, Korea, Min Rager began her jazz career performing in local jazz clubs. Her reputation quickly grew and by 1996 she was performing with some of Korea's top jazz musicians in a variety of settings from clubs to concerts.
In 1997 she moved to Montreal to attend McGill University where she studied with Wray Downes, Jeff Johnston, Kevin Dean, Andre White, Gordon Foote and Jan Jarczyk.
While at McGill, she continued to develop as a pianist and composer and graduated 2003 with the distinction of Outstanding achievement in Jazz Piano.In 2003 Min formed a quintet as a vehicle for her original compositions and arrangements. This group, featuring some of Montreal's finest musicians, has performed in several premier venues including Upstairs and La Maison de la Culture Frontenac and toured nationally with the assistance of the Canada Council for the arts.
In 2004 this group with members Kevin Dean-trumpet, Kieran Overs-bass, Andre White-drums, and Donny Kennedy-alto saxophone completed a studio recording for the CBC Radio II program Jazz Beat. The show aired nationally in October 2004 and presented a repertoire of new compositions written especially for these musicians. The recording was released as Min's debut CD Bright Road on the EFFENDI label in October of 2005.
At the Montreal International Jazz Festival during that same year, her Quintet was nominated for the Grand prix de jazz General Motors. Also that year, Min's Trio (featuring Andre White on drums and Alec Walkington on bass) performed at Montreal's L'OFF Festival de Jazz where she was the recipient of the Best New Artist award. In 2008 Min received a commission from CBC to compose a jazz suite for 2 pianos. The work, lasting 10 minutes, was submitted to the European Broadcasting Union as part of The Handel Project 2009 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the composer's death. Min's suite was recorded by CBC as part of a concert at Pollack Hall featuring NYC tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf and is available to stream on the CBC website Concerts on Demand.
Min is currently on staff both at McGill University as a part-time faculty member where she teaches courses in the jazz department and at the McGill conservatory where she teaches jazz piano.
Pianist Min Rager's debut CD showcases her strong attack on the keyboard and bright world of view. This upbeat outlook is a common thread in these eight original compositions, which she also arranged for this quintet... Trailing and Romanticism are ballades with Trumpeter Kevin Dean where the pianist's lyricism is deeply entrenched. Irwin Block, The Montreal Gazette
...reminded me of Bobby Timmons/Joe Zawinul glory days of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet - crackling, exuberant, rich with the essence of the blues... Min Rager, whose affable yet vigorous style fit perfectly. Not to sleight the rest of the band, but she is a talent to watch out for. Mark Keresman, Prime Time Magazine
Some Seoul music played and composed by one of the larger talents presently on the Montreal jazz scene. An impressive debut. Len Dobbin, Montreal Mirror
She has tremendous spirit and I love her compositions. The band is terrific and well worth paying attention to. Claire Lawrence, Producer, CBC's Jazz Beat
Blessed with the gift of melody, Min Rager has created an album of original compositions full of smiles, hope, laughter, and just plain great listening. The Korean native is now completing her master's degree at McGill University in Canada; Bright Road is her debut on record. The sound created by the quintet is huge, which can only be explained by the sharp arranging of the trumpet and alto sax, and how Rager herself comps and solos on piano behind them.
This is jazz from the mainstream that is anything but flabby or shallow. What you hear is what you get, but the music is so uplifting, so right there it inspires and refreshes. There is no listener fatigue, despite the fact that the music is so up. Look not here for quirkiness or out playing, but rather for music making that soothes the soul while simultaneously engaging the mind in many different ways. Budd Kopman, All About Jazz
1. Nothing to gain, nothing to lose 08:10
2. First steps 07:02
3. Bella 06:04
4. Persistence of the memory 02:00
5. Passing 04:28
6. Song of love 06:26
7. Portrait of Miles 06:38
8. Embrace 07:36
9. Good bye, Manhattan 05:44
10. Always near to you 07:15
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.