Celebrating her first-ever birthday tour, Laila Biali brings her signature genre-bending, crowd-sourced concerts to 11 cities across North America this fall.
The Canada Council supported tour launches this week with debuts in Los Angeles and Bellingham before Biali heads home to Canada for performances in Nanaimo, Richmond, Vancouver, Kelowna, Enderby, Revelstoke, Banff, and Sault Ste. Marie.
Her concert near Enderby takes place at Lorenzo’s Café (in Ashton Creek) Oct. 5.
Originally from North Vancouver, Biali has chosen Vancouver’s Jazz Cellar to commemorate her actual birthday (Oct. 3.) The tour will finish in Bend, Oregon, where Biali has been invited to open for Grammy winning American singer-songwriter, Marc Cohn.
An alumna of tours with Sting, Suzanne Vega, Paula Cole and Chris Botti, Biali is known for her diversity, which is showcased on her most recent release, Live in Concert. The album was recorded in front of an enthusiastic, sold-out audience at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio and spotlights Juno winning saxophonist Phil Dwyer (who just performed for jazz students in Vernon Tuesday), alongside Biali’s world-class rhythm section: bassist George Koller, drummer Larnell Lewis, and percussionist Ben Wittman.
This month’s issue of jazz magazine, DownBeat, praises Biali on Live in Concert for her “daring arrangements and passionate vocals,” calling her a pianistic “tour de force” as she reconstructs songs from the Great American and Canadian songbooks.
In Biali’s hands, Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock, Leonard Cohen’s Show Me The Place, Ron Sexsmith’s Secret Heart and Bruce Cockburn’s Stolen Land feel remarkably natural paired with jazz standards such as The Best Is Yet to Come, Nature Boy, I’ll Never Smile Again, One Note Samba and Night and Day, as well as Imogen Heap’s break-out hit Let Go and Biali’s compositions, À la poursuite des marées, Human Condition, and Still The One.
Another element of Biali’s live show is how she surprises her listeners with unexpected musical tools, adding unconventional instruments like the glockenspiel, ukulele and sitar to an otherwise traditional jazz ensemble. The results demonstrate Biali’s unparalleled ability to seamlessly meld multiple sounds and genres, underscoring what Sting himself says of her talent:
“It is the ultimate task given to the musician, whether as a singer or instrumentalist, to create a unique signature or fingerprint that is instantly recognizable as their own,” the former lead singer of The Police is quoted as saying. “What is surprising and delightful in Laila Biali is that both as a vocalist and pianist she accomplishes this with equal aplomb. She is an exciting and unique talent, and I admire her greatly.”
Biali takes the stage at Lorenzo’s Café. Saturday, Oct. 5. The café is located at 901 Mabel Lake Rd, in Ashton Creek, east of Enderby. The show starts at 8 p.m. Call 250-838-6700 for reservations.