Classically trained from the age of 4, as both a Jazz and Classical pianist as well as a composer, Juno award winner , James Gelfand has received critical acclaim in both the jazz world and the film industry. A staple of the Canadian jazz music scene in the 80,s & 90,s performing with artists Sonny Greenwich, Michel Donato, Gino Vanelli and The Merlin factor and his own groups, he veered towards the world of film music in 2002 and has since scored over 80 movies and 200 television episodes.
James has performed on over 40 albums, with 10 under his own name. He has received 6 JUNO nominations for both solo albums and collaborative efforts and a JUNO award for The album “The Merlin Factor” on which he performed and contributed his compositions and arrangements . James won the International Montreal Jazz Festival competition and placed second at the world renowned Great American Jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville. He has performed at many jazz festivals around the world, notably in Switzerland, France, Germany, the United States, and in his home country of Canada.
James has taught Jazz piano and film scoring for many years at the prestigious University of Laval in Quebec and CEGEP Marie Victorin in Montreal . He has had numerous Private students and many of his students have gone on to successful careers in Jazz and Film composition
His latest Album Ground Midnight with his Piano trio was nominated for the ADISQ best jazz album in 2019 . Here is a link to his through composed ‘Transjiguration’ A convergence of jazz/Celtic music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-siVipQtowQ and other pieces from the album and a cross/over tune composed for the group Tricycle called Folk Baroky with Violinist Helmut Lipsky
Reviews and link to his album « Convergence » piano solo album combining Jazz & Classical styles:
Toronto Globe & Mail – Mark Miller
“James Gelfand, one of Montreal’s finest pianists, has a background in the classics and a thriving career in jazz. He brings the two together with rare and striking success on Convergence, taking familar themes from the classical repertoire — you’ll probably recognize the melodies, even if you don’t know that Bach, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Copland, Gershwin or Satie composed them — and improvising on their harmonic structure the way other jazz musicians might play on the chords of a pop song. Gelfand acknowledges some of his cross-influences himself: Keith Jarrett in a Bach Air, Bill Evans in Satie’s Gymnopédie no. 1 and, turning things around, Claude Debussy in Ellington’s Sophisticated Lady”.
Lullaby of Birdland/Chopin Improvisation
All Music – Scott Yarrow
“James Gelfand is a technically skilled pianist with a strong interest and background in both jazz and classical musics. On this consistently intriguing set, Gelfand improvises on the music of Bach, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Copland, Satie, and Brahms plus Ellington, Gershwin, and Shearing. He often extends the harmonies of the original pieces, but he always keeps the theme and the original mood intact. This is a program that grows in interest with each listen, for Gelfand really knows the music and his improvisations are a logical part of each composition. Recommended.”
Sophisticated Lady / Debussy/Ellington improvisation