Live Music at The Jazz Room

Featuring International jazz acts that play the world’s top clubs (the Saturday program features artistic direction from Mark Kelso). For the latest news and & promotions, click here.

Please note that only Grand River Jazz Society events are shown below.

La Banda Local
Sep 6 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Join us for our Season 9 opener!

A great kick-off with the vibrant sound of Latin Jazz featuring La Banda Local.

La Banda Local is a sextet of musicians with roots in the Waterloo Region assembled for the special opening night of the Grand River Jazz Society’s ninth season at the Jazz Room in the Heuther Hotel. Jay Boehmer (drums), Lukas Bouda (guitar), Ken Hadley (flute, sax), Andy Macpherson (congas, vibes), Greg Prior (bass) and John Zadro (piano) are all friends connected through local groups New Vibes Jazz Quintet and KW Big Band Theory. For this special evening, this sextet will offer interpretations of Latin-jazz compositions by Methany, Jobim, “Chucho” Valdez, Zadro, Prado, Ahbez and others for an “extend the summer” kind of evening kicking off another season of great live music at the Jazz Room.

Alexis Baro Quintet
Sep 7 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

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Alexis Baro was born into a musical family in Havana, Cuba. Classically trained, he took up the trumpet at the age of age 8 and completed his musical education receiving a teaching certification at the prestigious Amadeo Roldán Music Conservatory in Havana.

While in school he became a member of the Buena Vista Social Club super star Omara Portuondo’s band, and later at the age of 19 played lead trumpet for the National Radio and Television Orchestra.After moving to Toronto, Canada in 2001, he was discovered by iconic Canadian jazz drummer Archie Alleyne where he florished as a writer and performer for eight years as a member of the Canadian award winning ‘hard-bop” band Kollage. As a band member he was nominated for “Best Jazz Trumpeter” by the Canadian National Jazz Awards in the years 2006, 2007, and 2008. Baro has participated in more than 60 albums and can be heard as a feature solist on some of the most transcendent Latin albums made in Canada such as Hilario Duran’s Grammy Award nominated album “From The Heart”.He has performed with such artists as Nikky Yanofsky, David Foster, Michael Bubble, Paul Anca, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade, Paquito d’ Rivera, Jimmy Bosch, Miguel Zenon, Hilario Duran, Robi Botos, Jesus Alemaney & Cubanismo, David Virelles, Andrea Boccelli, Gino Vanelli, Esthero, David Rudder, Juan de Marco & The Afro-Cuban All Stars, and Horacio “el negro” Hernandez.Highlights in his solo career include opening for Herbie Hancock, and tours of South America and the West Indies. He’s released five albums as a solo artist “Havana Banana”, “From the Other Side”, “Blue Skin”, “Guilty Pleasure” which won a Gold Medal “Global Music Award” in the jazz category November 2015 and his latest offering titled “Sugar Rush” which features a collection of new original Afro Cuban jazz compositions dedicated to the musical influences from the neighbourhood he grew up in Cuba.


  • Alexis Baro – Trumpet
  • Jeff King  – Saxes
  • Yoser Rodrigues – Bass
  • Thomas Francis – Piano and Keyboards
  • Max Senit – Drums



“Bye Bye Blackbird”


Carol Welsman
Sep 12 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm


The Jazz Room is delighted to welcome Carol Welsman to our stage She is an internationally acclaimed singer and pianist whose expressive vocal styling and dynamic stage presence have captivated audiences around the world. She has sold over 60,000 CDs in Canada alone, something few jazz/pop artists in Canada have experienced. She has released 12 CDs to date, and 6 have received Juno Award nominations.  She delivers a mix of American Songbook classics and original compositions in a style that ranges from sensuous and warm to infectiously energetic.

Her passion for jazz led her to Boston’s Berklee College of Music in the 80s, where she majored in piano performance. She later traveled to Europe, and studied voice with Christiane Legrand (sister of Michel) and teamed up as a songwriter with Romano Musumarra, writing lyrics for artists like Ray Charles, Pavarotti, Celine Dion and Nicole Scherzinger.

3 sold-out Japan tours with renowned clarinetist Ken Peplowski and Big Band paying tribute to Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee. Carol’s CD “Memories of You” won the Gold Award in Japan’s Jazz Critics’ Magazine in 2010, and over 60 concerts have been performed to sold out audiences in 1500 seat venues throughout Japan. Carol has enjoyed touring Italy, Brazil, and Canada as well as across the USA. She was invited to perform on “Larry King Live” for the 9/11/04 Commemoration, and Pop icon Celine Dion recorded Carol’s original song “Baby Close Your Eyes” on her “Miracle” CD (2004).

Don Heckman at the Los Angeles Times says: “Welsman is that rarest of discoveries: a fully formed artist with the musicality, imagination and looks to cruise to the top of the jazz vocal genre.”

PLEASE NOTE: This is a Thursday Night concert  8:00 PM start

Check Out:

Carol Welsman HIghlight

“Walkin’ After Midnight”

“Honeysuckle Rose”

Rebecca Binnendyk
Sep 13 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm



The Jazz Room is delighted to welcome the return of Rebecca Binnendyke for her CD release of her second album!

Rebecca is on a mission to use her songs for greater good. The Canadian singer-songwriter is pairing the promotion of her second album,”I Don’t Belong To You”, with raising money for Plan Canada, a global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights, equality and education for girls and the putting an end to female genital cutting.  Rebecca’s authentic style and rich, clear voice is meant to be seen and heard from the stage. Come and see for yourself!

She has been featured with the Stardust Big Band, the Phoenix Jazz group, and The Big Band Theory. As well, she has performed with Jazz Room favourites such as Tim Louis, Dave Thompson, Jimmy Boudreau, Andriy Tykhonov, Robin Habermehl, Attilia Fias, and others.

Dean Aivaliotis – keys
Scott Neary – guitars and vocals
Robin Claxton – drums
Mark Godfrey – bass
Rebecca Binnendyk – vocals

Check out these video links including her stellar Jazz Room version of “Hallelujah”


“Brick by Brick”

“I Don’t Belong to You”





Alison Young
Sep 14 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Alison Young is a Toronto-based saxophonist, vocalist and composer. She was nominated for solo jazz album of the year at the 2019 Juno Awards.  Since moving to Toronto in the early 2000s to study music at the University of Toronto, she has been an active presence on the jazz scene both as a leader and side-person, appearing regularly in the city’s jazz venues, theaters and festivals. Young has toured across North America, Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Asia with acts such as Joe Sealy, Big Rude Jake, The Heillig Manoeuvre, Johnny Reid and the Shuffle Demons, and has appeared on nearly 30 recordings, including JUNO nominated albums by Alysha Brilla and Shakura S’Aida. Her compositions have been featured on JazzFM, CBC Radio One and CBC Radio-Canada. In 2017, Alison was chosen as one of the ‘Best 35 Canadian Jazz Artists under 35’ by the CBC. Later that year, she was featured in Pat LaCroix and Ted O’Reilly’s book, Toronto Jazz Treasures alongside many of her musical heroes. “Wearing gleaming red stilettos and a black orchid over her left ear, she played with endless creativity and flair.” Ted Panken, Downbeat Magazine, February 2015.

Alison Young   saxophone and vocals

Jeff McLeod   piano

Ross McIntyre   bass

Eric St. Laurent   guitar

Chris Wallace   drums

Check this Out:

“Celia & Harry” Junofest Jazz Showcase 2019

“I Just Want to Make Love to You”

David Cheon Trio
Sep 20 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm


David Cheon is a 19-year old guitar player and singer-songwriter with a jazz background. He has released a solo album and is continuing his artistic efforts in many directions such as arranging and producing.

Although rock music is his predominant direction, he still very much loves to play in any kind of genre or style that is accessible to him. He’s played for local artists such as Big Band Theory, Tim Moher and David Alexander while continuing his solo efforts.

Also called David Jean, David is currently taking a break from his studies at Humber College’s music program and plans to make more music in the meantime.

  • David Cheon – Guitar
  • Ben Green – Drums
  • Thomas Hainbuch – Bass


Rémi-Jean Leblanc Quartet
Sep 21 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

photo credit: Hamie Robitaille

Montreal-based Rémi-Jean LeBlanc has been active on the Canadian music scene since 2005 and has collaborated with an array of musicians in Montreal and other Canadian cities including Yannick Rieu, Jean-Michel Pilc, Marianne Trudel, Steve Amirault, Carol Welsman and Elizabeth Shepherd. R-J has also toured with different projects in Europe, China, Japan, Mexico, the US and Canada and has performed with international artists such as David Binney, Seamus Blake, Greg Osby, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ari Hoenig, Gilad Hekselman, Ben Wendel and Billy Hart.

He has put out a third album as a leader in 2018, Déductions. The album features NYC guitarist Nir Felder, cuban pianist Rafael Zaldivar, Montreal-native Sam Joly on drums and offers an energetic, introspective take on rock-infused jazz.


Ottawa Citizen interview with Peter Hum

Album review in La Presse de Montréal


Jill McKenna Trio
Sep 27 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

Photo by Bashkim Hasani_1945 copy.jpg

Jillian McKenna is a Canadian bassist and composer from Hamilton, Ontario. Regardless of style, McKenna’s impactful sound on the bass resonates through whatever music she is a part of. No stranger to versatility, she can be found playing in jazz combos, big bands, pit bands, bluegrass groups, alongside singer-songwriters, and performing a variety of new and original music. With a passion for listening, McKenna’s ability to cohere with every musician she plays makes her a sought after musician in today’s industry.

McKenna began studying jazz at Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON under many influential Canadian jazz musicians, among them being Pat Collins and Adrean Farrugia. Very quickly she began working as a professional musician in and around both the Toronto and Hamilton scenes. In 2015 she moved to New York City on a scholarship to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan. It was there where she had the opportunity to work with a number of esteemed artists including Peter Washington, Reggie Workman, David Wong, Ben Williams, Matt Wilson, and Joel Frahm to name a few. Over the years she has appeared at a number of music festivals  including, but not limited to, the Carthage Music Festival  (Tunis, Tunisia), the Bern Jazz Festival (Bern, Switzerland), the Toronto Jazz Festival (Toronto, Canada), and the Niagara Jazz Festival (Niagara, Canada) as a part of many different projects. In 2017 McKenna began leading her own band, The Jillian McKenna Project.

Adrean Farrugia (piano)

Mackenzie Reid (drums)

Jill McKenna (bass)

Check out:

“Love for Sale”

“If I were a Bell”

Gabriel Palachi Trio
Sep 28 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm

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Join Argentinian pianist, composer, and Billboard Magazine Emerging Artist Gabriel Palatchi for an eclectic and explosive musical journey with an original blend of cultures that features latin jazz, tango, funk, middle east and more!

He spent his formative years in Buenos Aires studying classical piano, and being mentored by some of the great maestros of blues, tango, jazz and Latin jazz.  After graduating in 2007 from Berklee international School, Argentina, he spent several months in Cuba where he studied latin jazz with the master “Churho” Valdez before he moved to Mexico. His forth album is “Made in Canada” (2017). For the past 8 years Gabriel has been performing at major international music festivals, touring throughout Mexico, Canada and Europe. 

Gabriel Palatchi – piano & synths
Sarah Thawer – drums
Marc Decho – bass

Check out:

Teaser 2018 Live

“What Da Funk”LIve

Live from Artswell Festival

Simao/Bernardo Group
Sep 29 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm


Award winning, Toronto-based musician Louis Simão has been composing, performing and recording as a multi-instrumentalist in a variety of genres for twenty years.  He is a first-generation Canadian son of Portuguese immigrants.  As a sideman, Louis Simão has performed and/or recorded with Nelly Furtado, Dominic Mancuso (2010 JUNO winner), Michael Occhipinti’s Sicilian Jazz Project (2009 JUNO nominee), Justin Rutledge, Sophie Milman, Bill McBirnie,  Eliana Cuevas, only to mention a few. He was the winner of the 2007 USA Songwriting Competition in the World Music category with his song, “Fado Torto”. In 2017, he was nominated in 3 separate categories for the 2017 International Portuguese Music Awards (IPMA) and won Song of the Year with his composition “Três Anos” (Simão/Petrilli). In November of 2017, he was named World Solo Artist of the Year by the Canadian Folk Music Awards, and in the Spring of 2018 was nominated by the Independent Music Awards for World Beat Artist of the Year. .

Guitarist Carlos Bernardo was born in Cardiff, Wales, from Brazilian parents, December the 2nd 1971, Carlos spent his childhood in Rio de Janeiro.  His first solo album: Pacifico, with a jazz-fusion quintet, his compositions putting together his influences from rock, jazz and Brazilian music.“Agua Nova”, Carlos’ second work recorded is a solo album released in 2002. In 2009 he recorded and produced (with Luis Orbegoso) Patricia Cano’s “This is the New World”, co-writing great part of this album made in Toronto, Canada.

Louis Simão – voice, guitar, accordion

Carlos Bernardo – guitar

Luis Orbegoso – percussion, voice

Marito Marques-drums

Rich Brown-bass

Check out:

Louis Simao on “Do Vale a Montanha”