Quinsin Nachoff


NYC-based Canadian saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Quinsin Nachoff has earned a reputation for making “pure, bracing, thought-provoking music” that is “cliché-and convention-free” (Ottawa Citizen). His playing was recently described as “a revelation. Parsing shimmers of Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and Mark Turner, he constructed an amalgam of classical counterpoint and rugged expressionistic improv” (DownBeat) His most recent project, Flux, is with the saxophonist David Binney, keyboardist Matt Mitchell and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Described as “breathtakingly inventive as group members and individual players” (NYC Jazz Record), “the quartet projects a cunning musical personality as large and small surprises trickle through the seams on a recurring basis” (All About Jazz) and “marked by an impenetrable unity, ‘Flux’ overflows with great resourcefulness, becoming a distinct echo of modernity and inspiration.” (Jazz Trail)

His release FoMo (2011) was described as “funky, passionate and intellectually probing, Nachoff is the total package.” (Exclaim Magazine) Nachoff’s disc Magic Numbers (Songlines) was in the Top 10 New Releases of 2006 (Philadelphia City Paper). Heralded as “one of the most innovative chamber jazz recordings in recent years” (All About Jazz), it features drummer Jim Black, bassist Mark Helias and a string quartet led by violinist Nathalie Bonin. Horizons Ensemble (Musictronic) features the talents of British pianist John Taylor and Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger. It has garnered praise for being “bold, diverse and filled with compelling counterpoint.” (DownBeat Magazine) “Horizons Ensemble marks Nachoff as a major young jazz composer.” (Globe&Mail) and “one of today’s most promising young composers” (All About Jazz). A co-led project with French drummer Bruno Tocanne, 5 New Dreams (Cristal Records), has also garnered critical praise: Nachoff is “one of the revelations of the year” (Jazzman Magazine, France) and “virtuosic and brilliant as an instrumentalist” (JazzMagazine, France)

As a composer, Nachoff has written for a variety of diverse ensembles. His most recent commission will feature himself alongside Turning Point Ensemble, a contemporary classical chamber ensemble, and will premiere at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in June 2017. Stars and Constellations: Scorpio, was a commission from the Penderecki String Quartet, incorporating bassist Mark Helias, percussionist Dan Weiss and Nachoff on saxophone, premiered in May 2015 with the generous support of The Canada Council for the Arts. Previous commissions have included a genre-bending Violin Concerto for violinist Nathalie Bonin, demo-ed in January 2014; a big band work, Time Entwined, for the Toronto Jazz Orchestra (2013); a suite for Australian trumpeter Peter Knight’s 5+2 Brass Ensemble premiered at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (2011); a classical work for clarinetist Peter Stoll and the Cecilia String Quartet was premiered in 2011; a work commissioned by French drummer Bruno Tocanne for octet premiered at the Savoie Jazz Festival, France (2011); an extended work for big band, Mind’s Ear, commissioned by the Greg Runions Jazz Orchestra (2010) featured Nachoff with guest soloist trumpet ace Tim Hagans; a commission for contemporary music ensemble Toca Loca was released on Centrediscs (2009) among others.

He has toured internationally and nationally as a leader and is also active as a sideman with a multitude of creative projects in Canada, the United States and Europe. Most recently he toured Canada and the US to promote his release Flux, described by the NYC Jazz Record as “a memorable evening. The thought provoking concert with its fervent delivery echoed in listeners’ memory long after the evening concluded” (All About Jazz) He was in Australia for a three-week tour including concerts at the Brisbane Jazz Festival, Melbourne Jazz Festival and his ensemble was artist-in-residence at the Queensland Conservatorium. He has performed throughout Europe, North America, Japan, China, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand.

Nachoff was the winner of a 2007 Chalmers Fellowship, the 2004 KM Hunter Award in Music, semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Saxophone Competition and has been nominated for numerous Canadian National Jazz Awards, including Saxophonist and Clarinetist of the Year (2007 & 2008). He won a Juno award as part of Hilario Duran’s Big Band for Best Contemporary Jazz Album (2008).

As a sideman he has performed and/or recorded with Howard Johnson, David Binney, Tim Hagans, Kenny Wheeler, Kenny Werner and Don Thompson among others.

He has coached at the Banff Centre for the Arts and taught at the University of Toronto and Humber College (Toronto). He has been an artist-in-residence at the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia, the National Music Centre (Canada) and the Banff Centre for the Arts. He holds both a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Toronto.

“A fascinating mind…exquisite, forlorn tenor” (DownBeat)

“An impressive display of sizzling, post-Coltrane inventiveness.” (LA Times)

“One of Canada’s leading saxophone innovators” (Toronto Star)