Happy New Year 2020!! 

It's a New Year and a New Decade and I'm excited for the future.  2019 was an incredible year for me and I managed to have a couple of career highlights that I have been working towards for ages. It's great when all the hard work starts to pay off, but I still have ambitious goals that I'm working towards.  This year isn't a big resolution year, it's more of a keep working hard plan.

The biggest achievement for the year has to be how well Baritone Madness has been received by Radio Hosts in Canada and around the world. I'm overjoyed that the album debuted at #1 on the Canadian Earshot jazz charts, but more importantly is how it has stayed at the top of the charts. As of this morning, I found out that Baritone Madness has been the #1 album on the Earshot Charts for three consecutive months!! You read that correct, this wonderful project grown here in Calgary has been #1 for October, November and December of 2019! I have to say, it was very cool to be on the same charts as some Canadian Legends of jazz as well as some All Time Legends of jazz.  On the Earshot charts we were on the same list as a couple of amazing saxophonists that I have taken lessons from, Kirk MacDonald and Pat LaBarbera. On the US NACC charts we peaked at #11 and were on the same list as John Coltrane and Stan Getz! The two deceased legends both had unreleased material discovered and both put out albums posthumously around the same time as we did.  

The second big career goal was bringing a band on tour for the first time.  With the release of the CD delayed to September, our summer tour became a "Pre-release tour" and we played three amazing festivals in 2019, with appearances at the Montreal, Ottawa and Edmonton International Festivals.  For the first time it was amazing to see the response from music lovers from outside of our Calgary home. It was heartwarming to get standing ovations in all three festivals. Another highlight was meeting people at the festivals and hearing them gush about the music we played.  We all poured our heart and soul into this project, so it's wonderful to hear that people love the music.  I'm talking with a few festivals about bringing Baritone Madness to their cities for the summer of 2020, so stay tuned for more news.  

Now for what's new.... 

In all things I feel I need to move forward and in keeping with that, I'm working on new music for Baritone Madness for our upcoming date at Lolita's Lounge on February 7th.  I've been inspired by all my listening over the last few months to arrange yet another Mingus song, as well as taking some inspiration from the Canadian Jazz Legend Oscar Peterson in an arrangement of his 'Blues of the Prairies'.  In talks with Pat Belliveau, we decided his song 'La Zona Blanca' from his 1997 CD could be a great song for the band and I'm working on it now.  Of course, no concert would be complete without some brand new compositions from me. As per usual, writing the song is easier than coming up with a title, so I'll have to share that info later.  

At the end of the month I get the privilege of playing with the great Polish bassist Piotr Lemanczyk! I had the pleasure of playing with him not so long ago and he's an exceptional musician and I'm very much looking forward to the gigs we'll be playing together at the end of January.  I know that musicians from out of the country are always a harder sell for tickets, so please consider coming to one of these shows.  Piotr is easily one of the best bassists that I have ever played with and these shows will be spectacular. We have two shows in Calgary and one in Edmonton and it's listed as the Tyler Hornby/Piotr Lemanczyk trio.  I have two of the nights already on my website calendar and the third should be up as soon as I get the specific details. 

If you like wine, make a reservation at the Vin Room West. I'll be joining Sheldon Zandboer for a couple duo performances and it should be a fun night. Sheldon has promised to challenge me, which is one of my favourite things to hear from another musician!  I love when great players take you on a musical journey and this will be one of those nights. Sheldon is so versatile, so I'm looking forward to the interaction on the bandstand playing both familiar and unfamiliar repertoire. Besides the amazing music you'll hear, it is also great that the Vin Room West doesn't have a cover charge.  So book your reservation for dinner/drinks asap, as it should be a busy place.    

Last but not least, I'm working on my own trio project. At the moment, it is in its infancy, but we've had a couple amazing rehearsals.  I don't want to say too much yet, but with this trio I hope to revisit some hardly played standards, arrange some non-jazz songs for the band as well as develop some new repertoire just for this group.  I'm hoping to do a demo in the spring with the intent of having a second group to tour with as well. 

 

That's all for now, so it's now back to the practice room for me.  All great things come from hard work, so that is what I will continue to do.

All the best to you all this New Year/Decade!

Keith

Welcome

Keith O'Rourke is a born and raised Albertan. Growing up in Calgary, Keith developed a love for music fostered by many gifted teachers. Since returning to Calgary in 2008, Keith is now a recognizable figure in the jazz community and he adds his own unique voice to many projects. He is currently leading his own quartet (the Keith O’Rourke Quartet), coleading Baritone Madness with Pat Belliveau and Gareth Bane, as well as co-leading a quintet with fellow Calgarian, Andre Wickenheiser in the Past Present Quintet. He has been involved with numerous projects and played in concerts with nearly every major jazz artist in Calgary. 

Aside from his performances Keith also maintains an active schedule teaching private students and small group workshops. He enjoys passing on his knowledge and fostering a love of music to the next generation of players.

Please stop by and say hello at a live concert or contact me here if you are looking for saxophone for any occasion or music lessons. 

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