Women’s Blues Revue Band
The Women’s Blues Revue Band has been a cornerstone of the Women’s Blues Revue since its inception in 1986. Over the years, the WBR Band has featured many of Canada’s most prestigious instrumentalists and blues musicians, including Donna Grantis, Brandi Disterheft, Suzie Vinnick, Sue Foley, Colleen Allen, Lily Sazz, Carrie Chesnutt, Rebecca Hennessy, Morgan Doctor, Christine Bougie, Emily Burgess, Lindsay Beaver and many more.
The Women’s Blues Revue Band perform continuously throughout the evening, supporting the featured vocalists and forming the foundation of the show.
This year’s Women’s Blues Revue Band includes:
Rebecca Hennessy | Band Leader/Musical Director/Trumpet
Rebecca Hennessy is a Toronto based trumpeter, vocalist and composer active in many different genres of music. Focused mainly in performing and composing jazz and creative music, Rebecca is equally comfortable playing roots, folk, R&B, mariachi, pop and blues. She has been carving her way in the Canadian and international music scene since moving to Toronto in 2003 from Nanaimo, BC. Since then, she has toured to Mexico, Europe, USA, and extensively in Canada playing with various groups.
Rebecca has performed with many world class jazz and pop artists including: Ab Baars, Ken Vandermark, Mike Murley, Andrew Downing, Nick Fraser, Ron Sexsmith, Andy Kim, Owen Pallett, Broken Social Scene and Feist.
Rebecca has a jazz performance degree from University of Toronto, a jazz diploma from Malaspina College, and in 2007 participated in the International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music directed by internationally renowned trumpeter Dave Douglas.
Colleen Allen | Saxophone
Alberta born Sax Player and multi-instrumentalist, Colleen began her training with Pat LaBarbera at Humber College in Toronto. Colleen Allen is known as much for her charismatic stage presence as she is for her remarkable ease in fostering a collaborative spirit while playing with others. She has mesmerized audiences throughout Canada and Europe accompanying such notable performers as Alex Lifeson (Rush), Anne Lindsay, Oliver Schroer, Lorraine Segato, The Parachute Club, Colm Wilkinson and Anne Murray.
Allan is currently involved as a soloist and singer in Molly Johnson‘s band and her improvisational magic can be heard on Johnson’s self titled c.d as well as her most recent release, “Messing Around.” Her musical path has led her to a wide range of cultural events. She has shared the stage with such diverse artists as: David Suzuki, Michael Ondaatje and David Clayton Thomas. Allen’s experiences in pop, jazz, blues, worldbeat and other genres are enriched by skill as a composer and bandleader for theatrical events. She considers her projects with SoulPepper Theatre Company and Cirque de Soleil as some her most rewarding musical undertakings.
Emily Burgess | Guitar
Emily Burgess picked up the guitar at age 14 and knew very quickly that she would never put it down. At 17, she enrolled in the prestigious Jazz studies program at Humber College where she received a Bachelor of Contemporary Music with Honours. For the past 5 years Emily has been touring in Canada and the U.S with the Toronto-based blues band The 24th Street Wailers. In 2010, the band won the Toronto Blues Society Talent Search and subsequently traveled to Memphis where they placed in the semi-finals at the 2012 International Blues Challenge. The band has had extreme success, playing hundreds and hundreds of shows in clubs, theatres, and festivals across Canada, the U.S, and in France.
Emily is heavily influenced by the playing styles of guitarists like Hollywood Fats, Kid Ramos, and Nick Curran, who combine blues, swing, jazz, and rock n’ roll into their playing. She is constantly practicing and will continue to dedicate her life to playing music.
Carrie Chesnutt | Saxophone
As a saxophonist, flutist, and singer, Carrie Chesnutt has performed with diverse artists including Late Night with David Letterman’s Paul Shaffer, blues legend Paul Butterfield, songwriter Tom Robinson, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, and Canadian music icons Molly Johnson, Carol Pope, Lorraine Segato, Rita Chiarelli, Jackie Richardson and many more. She has produced and performed her own touring cabaret show across North America. Carrie has played events for Rick Moranis and Tom Hanks, opened for Phyllis Diller and performed at Canada’s Walk of Fame with Brandon Fraser. Carrie has released four CDs; the latest is Easy Street, and she has another original project in the works.
Morgan Doctor | Drums
Morgan Doctor first picked up drumsticks when she was 10 years old. From Junior high band to Radio City Music Hall, her career has been nothing less than expansive and inspiring. She has played over a thousand dates all over the US, Canada and Europe. She currently plays with Andy Kim (Arts and Crafts) and has played with The Cliks (Warner/Tommyboy), Ron Sexsmith, Lights, Alex Lifeson and Sandra Bernhard.
Morgan has performed and appeared from live National TV (MTV Live, MTV CRIBS, MTV Total Request Live, IFC, CNN, Craig Ferguson, etc) and live radio shows, awards ceremonies, TV and radio commercials, sold out theaters and arenas, music videos, and countless full length Albums. Also performing and winning at MTV LOGO’s “Artist on the Brink” Award for 2008 with The Cliks. She received a Dora nomination for her sound design for Between Us Goddess in 2005 and earned a JUNO and Dora nomination with her work with The Toronto Tabla Ensemble in 2001.
Carlie Howell | Bass
Carlie Howell is a Manitoba-born, Toronto-based performer, composer, and educator. As a student, she has a degree in jazz performance from the University of Toronto on upright and electric bass, and has spent the last 10 years studying the drumming, dancing, language, and cultural traditions of Brazil. As a performer, she weaves together her experience with jazz, blues, classical, folk, pop, rock, reggae, klezmer, free-improv and world music traditions, to create an eclectic and unique musical voice all her own. She gravitates towards composer-collectives, original songwriters, and fusing traditional styles with contemporary contexts. She is the leader of her own original project Carlie Howell and the DeHarms, with whom she has three EPs and an upcoming full-length album. She can also be heard playing bass, percussion, and singing with indie-rock quartet Culture Reject, instrumental folk ensemble The River Pilots, psychedelic rock band Os Tropies, folk trio Amy Campbell and The Road Less Travelled, blues legend Rita Chiarelli, rock-n-roll group Zeca Polina, and Brazilian roots performer Aline Morales & Baque de Bamba.
Lily Sazz | Keyboards
Originally a classical musician, Lily Sazz is a graduate of the McMaster University honours music program (majoring in harpsichord and piano), and was a student of world-renowned concert pianist Valerie Tryon. Lily has been a professional keyboard player since 1985, and has been performing with the Toronto Blues Society Women’s Blues Revue since 1995, spending 10 of those years as Musical Director. Lily resides in Dundas, Ontario and has performed with many bands and artists, including award-winning local favourites, Groove Corporation, and is currently developing a new band called Cootes Paradise. www.lilysazz.com
Suzie Vinnick | Guitar
A Saskatoon native living in Ontario, Suzie Vinnick is the owner of a gorgeous, powerful voice and performs with a sweet mixture of engaging candidness and unparalleled musicianship. Suzie has been featured nationally on CBC Radio on Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe, and has performed across Canada and the US, as well as for Canadian Peacekeepers in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf.
Suzie’s accolades include 10X Maple Blues Awards and 3X Juno Nominations. She was a finalist in the 2013 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Category in Memphis, TN.