Sometime approaching the Toronto Blue Jays’ first World Series win, 7-year-old Angela Morris sat at her family’s new (old) Heintzman upright determined sort out, once at for all, the “good” sounds from the “bad” ones. Since conceding to the addition of a new category – “it depends” – that project has run a couple decades behind schedule and treacherously over budget.
Now a saxophonist-composer based in Brooklyn NYC, Morris has performed in clubs, festivals, and concert halls across Canada and in the US, the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Denmark. She plays and writes for several collaborative bands, including Paper Birds with vocalist Alex Samaras, Candidland with pianist Cat Toren and drummer Anthony Taddeo, and Common Wealth – a sextet she co-leads with saxophonist Jasmine Lovell-Smith. The Angela Morris Toronto Quintet, active since 2008, features some of Canada’s finest young jazz musicians (Jon Challoner, Don Scott, Dan Fortin and Ethan Ardelli).
A Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient, Morris received her masters degree in jazz composition from the City University of New York where she studied with modern big band wizard Darcy James Argue and was awarded the Marvin Hamlisch award for Jazz Composition. Morris continues to compose music for large ensemble, and is currently a member of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop run by Jim McNeely and Mike Holober. She has spent several blissful springtimes on scholarship at the Banff Centre workshop in Jazz and Creative Music where she had the opportunity to work with many renowned artists including director Dave Douglas.
Morris has contributed violin, flute, clarinet, saxophone, and vocal performances to indie film scores and rock records.
She is also a passionate educator, serving as faculty at National Music Camp of Canada since 2011, and co-founding Toronto’s Annex Academy of Music in 2009.
The photo: fairy tale styles on the bulldozed site of the massive 2008 fire on Queen St. W in Toronto. Photo by Calvin Thomas