Pianist, composer, and singer Laila Biali is truly a triple treat. From her artfully-penned original compositions to her inventive arrangements of standards, the music she creates reveals a brilliant musical mind and an honest, open heart.
From Sea to Sky is an eclectic and engaging CD featuring one original composition and Laila’s arrangements of songs by ten of Canada’s foremost singer-songwriters. In fact, the music is so diverse that the CD defies category, making it a rare and special addition to the collections of all music lovers. It is not jazz. It is not pop. It is simply beautiful music presented by an artist who is said to have transitioned from “rising star” to bona fide luminary. The Glenn Gould Studio concert, Jazz à la Laila, from which this recording grew was called “a triumph” by renowned jazz reporter Geoff Chapman, and a growing international fan base bears testimony to the recognition of Laila’s musical genius.
This recording is also set apart by its stellar cast of musicians: Phil Dwyer shines on saxophones; multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson lives up to his lofty title, playing vibes on several tracks and piano on one; Guido Basso, a legend within the jazz scene, is featured beautifully; and the remarkable rhythm section players - the inspiring Rob Piltch on guitar, the ever-inventive George Koller on bass, and a blazing new talent, drummer Larnell Lewis – thrill with their depth and daring.
Besides the exceptional performances on this recording Laila’s arrangements are what most dazzle the listener. From Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” and Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”, to Sarah McLachlan’s “Ice Cream” and Feist’s “Mushaboom”, her renditions are fresh and memorable. Upon completion of the project each musician involved expressed the delight they experienced in the making of this incomparable recording. Indeed, their joy is palpable.
Laila Biali: vocals, piano
Guido Basso: trumpet, flugelhorn
Rob Piltch: guitar, bass guitar
Don Thompson: piano, vibraphone
Phil Dwyer: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Larnell Lewis: drums, tambourine
Produced by: Claire Lawrence
Engineered by: Todd Fraracci and Peter Cook