Jean-Michel Pilc in Edmonton

Be on the lookout for Jean-Michel Pilc this month! He will be in Edmonton Friday, March 15th for a Jazz Improvisation masterclass at MacEwan University and will also be performing a solo piano set at the Yardbird Suite, Saturday, March 16th from 8 pm – 10 pm!

Jean-Michel Pilc is praised for his improvisations. Pianist and composer Jean-Michel Pilc has performed with numerous jazz giants including Roy Haynes, Billy Hart, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Jean Toussaint, Marcus Miller, John Abercrombie, and the Mingus Dynasty & Big Band, among others. He also worked with Harry Belafonte as his musical director and pianist and performed a duet with the legendary opera singer Jessye Norman. Originally from France, Pilc moved to New York in 1995 where he established himself as an active performer. Jean-Michel has released four critically-acclaimed solo piano records: Follow Me (2004), Essential (2011), What Is This Thing Called? (2015), and his most recent solo double CD Parallel (2018). In addition, he regularly performs in a trio with both Montreal and New York City-based ensembles including Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig which performed at the Yardbird Suite in 2015. A dedicated educator, Jean-Michel founded the Improvisation Workshop Project with Rémi Bolduc, Kevin Dean and Jean-Nicolas Trottier, an educational research project funded by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Société et Culture (FRQSC). In September 2015, he was named Associate Professor at The Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal.

Pilc’s masterclass is centred around his book It’s About Music: The Art and Heart of Improvisation. Jean-Michel’s workshops are based off the expressive aspects of improvisation. He bases his teachings off the premise that originality in art is a matter of expressing one’s own uniqueness.  Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from a masterful improviser and musician, Friday, March 15th at MacEwan University and be sure to see him live in action Saturday, March 16th at the Yardbird suite!

Tickets are $26, and $22 for EJS members, plus applicable fees.

Get your tickets here:

Get your copy of his book here:


What our artist’s have been up to…

Hello! Our artists have been up to some amazing things this year from recording new albums to playing some incredible shows! We thought we’d fill you on what one of our artists has been up to since her big release with Bent River Records back in 2017.

Mallory Chipman has had a world of success since her release of Rags and Feathers: A tribute to Leonard Cohen. It was celebrated with a western Canadian tour and had amazing media and audience response. Arranger and composer, Mallory is working on her new album Aquarian set to release this year!

MALLORY CHIPMAN — Rags and Feathers

“Chipman’s voice is as far removed from Cohen’s flat baritone as you can imagine, in the register and the way her nimble vocal cords dance out of the ether to explore a dynamic range in ways he didn’t or couldn’t. Her scat vocabulary nails it, and the audio keeps things warm and intimate as Chris Andrew’s keyboards, Brett Hansen’s guitar, Murray Wood’s bass and Jamie Cooper’s cleverly choppy drums set up exquisite backdrops, adding exotic seasoning from Cameron O’Neill’s percussion.” —The Edmonton Journal

We sat down and asked her a few questions on what she’s been up to since the release of Rags and Feathers and got the inside scoop on what to expect from her this year:

1. What have you been up to since your release of Rags and Feathers? What’s an event, show, or experience that you’ve been most excited about?

Since Rags and Feathers: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen came out about a year and a half ago now (wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long!), I’ve been keeping busy with a variety of shows, collaborations, and other creative works. What I’ve been most excited about; however, has been the songwriting I’ve been doing. With Rags and Feathers being a tribute album, I mainly was working on arranging for that record, with only a small focus on original material, but after the release of that album I promised myself that I would get back into writing more original music. One of the highlights of this past year was when I went out to Moose Farm Studios, a recording studio in rural Alberta, for a songwriting retreat. I hardly spoke to a single person while I was out there, and truly just set aside quality time for me and the piano. It was an extremely rewarding experience, and I came out with a handful of brand new tunes of which I’m very proud!

2. Where can we see you live in 2019?

One upcoming show I’m particularly looking forward to is a feature with the Cosmopolitan Jazz Orchestra on March 16 at the Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre. I’ll be performing some original compositions of mine with the big band, and that doesn’t happen too often!

Additionally, on the following night, March 17, I’ll be performing with Jens Lindemann at the Yardbird Suite for A Tribute to Nat King Cole, which will be a really special concert. Tickets will be on sale soon through Tix on the Square.

3. What are you looking forward to this year?

This year I’m really looking forward to a variety of musical endeavours, but I’m over-the-moon excited about my upcoming trip to New Orleans! I should clarify – this is not a work trip, which, honestly, is kind of nice for a change. This summer, my husband, Brett, and I are travelling to NOLA to get some much needed R & R and listen to a variety of music in the birthplace of jazz, and I can’t wait!

4. Any new projects or events in the works?

2019 is turning out to be a year overflowing with fun musical projects. Two friends and peers of mine are releasing albums this year that I was so fortunate to be a part of: Concealment, the debut album from Edmonton jazz pianist Stephanie Urquhart, and Bloodless Arches by Ways in Waves, the art-rock brainchild of composer, producer, and guitarist, Brian Raine. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to see both of those records being released into the world this year! Additionally, I am working on my own album, projected to be released within the next year or so. This album, titled AQUARIAN, will feature the tunes that I wrote at Moose Farm Studios as well as a couple of others that I’m really excited about. It fuses rock, prog, folk, and jazz influences for a sound I truly believe will reflect my musical soul more authentically than any record I’ve done yet.

Check out Mallory Chipman’s Album “Rags and Feathers: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen” here!


You won’t want to miss the Bent River Records 2019 Artist Spotlight on Monday, April 8th at the Triffo Theater in Allard Hall!

Last year’s spotlight was filled with incredible music from BRR Artists Chandelle Rimmer and Tom Van Seters, Joshua Rager Nonet, and Mallory Chipman. We cannot wait to show you what our Artists have been up to this year!

This year’s showcase will feature three of Bent River Records’ artists. Obsessions Octet, led by Juno nominated Kent Sangster, will be jazzing up the stage with their spin on classical and tango music. Montreal based Trumpeter, Kevin Dean, will be gracing the stage with The Big City Wranglers, playing selections from his upcoming release. And last but not least, Nature Of will be releasing and playing selections from their brand new album!  

This is a night you will not want to miss!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the event last year and made the night such a huge success! We hope to see you again at this year’s Spotlight!

Here is a flashback to the 2018 Artist Spotlight:

Mallory Chipman
Joshua Rager Nonet
Chandelle Rimmer and Tom Van Seters

Spotlight on RJ LeBlanc

Great news! Bent River Records artist Rémi-Jean LeBlanc will be in town this Friday, January 18th playing with JUNO Award nominee and Canadian Jazz Vocalist Carol Welsman at Festival in Sherwood Park.

Rémi-Jean LeBlanc has been based in Montreal since 2002 and for the last 10 years has been in the forefront of the Montreal jazz scene. LeBlanc has played and toured with a variety of fixtures from Quebec, including Steve Amirault, Elizabeth Shepherd, Jean-Pierre Zanella, Yannick Rieu, Jean-Michel Pilc, Marianne Trudel, Rafael Zaldivar, and l’Orchestre national de jazz, to name a few.

Rémi-Jean LeBlanc released an Album in 2018 with Bent River Records titled Déductions which was a project that brought together 4 musicians from completely different backgrounds. With Cuban pianist, Rafael Zaldivar, Montreal Rock drummer, Samuel Joly and New York jazz guitarist, Nir Felder, the album Déductions has a driving fresh rock edge that exhales maturity and sensitivity.  

We took the time to ask him a couple questions about his music career to date:

1. What was your biggest inspiration for Déductions?

The biggest influences were the rock albums that I listened to in the last few years. There’s no one influence really. One of them is actually the album of the guitarist who plays on it, Nir Felder, the album is called Golden Age. Rock got mixed up with some Kendrick Lamar and Miles’s sixties quintet and Gretchen Parlato a ton of other stuff and that’s what came out.

2. Who Inspired you to become a musician?

I was pretty passionate about music from the time I started playing bass at age 11. One person who particularly helped me out and pushed me into jazz and consequently to become a musician is a trumpet player from Moncton, NB named Roland Bourgeois.

3. What is your process when writing and performing?

Writing and performing are two very different things. The writing process is best described as a bunch of ideas that are reworked for years and eventually pieced together to make songs. Essentially, performing is sort of a meditation for me, I try to detach myself from the technical stuff, listen to the music and try let myself be taken by the current.

4. What are you most proud of within your music career?

I’m proud that I work and play exclusively with people and projects that I like and believe in and I can make a living doing this! I’m a very privileged person.

Catch Rémi-Jean LeBlanc backing Carol Welsman on Friday, January 18th at Festival Place in Sherwood Park.

Showtime is 7:30 pm and you can purchase your tickets here:

Brand new year, Brand new faces…

Hello friends! We would like to introduce to you a new member of the Bent River Records team.

Emilie Dufour is our new practicum student for the winter term and will be working with us on this year’s spotlight showcase and various other tasks over the next few months.  

“ I am super excited to be a part of the team this semester. As a 4th-year music student, I am very passionate about the development of artists and their music and I am excited to see first hand how this works within MacEwan’s label. ”

–Emilie Dufour

Emilie has been in the music program at MacEwan for five years. She has completed a music diploma in General Music and is now in the final semester of her performance degree. Emilie has been teaching music to young kids and stage coaching beginner artists for the past 4 years. She also performs locally under the name EMARRA and has just released her third single, “Artificial”. You can find her music on all digital platforms.

Feel free to add her on Facebook and Instagram.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates from the BRR team right here on our blog!

Happy Holidays!

We wanted to send everybody our best wishes for this holiday season! Whether you are celebrating a holiday or not, the Bent River Records team wants to wish you a wonderful years’ end. We’ve been a little quiet over this holiday season as we have all been taking time away from our devices and spending it with our families and friends!

We will see you in the New Year with continued announcements around our artists and our annual Spotlight in April. All the best, and Happy New Year!

5 Things You Need To Know When Working With A Publicist

So, you are thinking about hiring a publicist…These are the top 5 tips that will help you hire and work with a publicist. There are many amazing companies and independent contractors out there and choosing the right one can be a challenge. Read on below for the most important factors in choosing the right one. 

    • Preparation
      When releasing an album you want to ensure that you have done all the necessary work to prepare your team. The first step is making sure that you have a product for publishing and that the recording and mastering are complete and you are ready to being duplicating your album. Another aspect is making sure that you are working with the right publicist by ensuring they understand the needs of your music as well as media outlets in your genre (folk, rock, punk, etc.). The right publicist will make sure that your album gets reviewed in media outlets that make sense for your genre. If you are a folk band you want to show up on websites like Penguin Eggs, CBC, and other relative folk websites.In addition to finding the right publicist, you should also think of which songs best represent your band or even a change in your sound. Publicity as a practice is similar no matter the genre that you are working in. By hiring a publicist that specializes in your genre they can better reach the relative media that directly relates to your music.  it is your job to ensure that you are hiring someone who is an expert in your genre. Make sure you do your research and ask around to see what your peers are saying about various publicists.
    • Timeline
      When musicians are creating albums they often have their own timeline in mind and by adding another team member allows for more freedom to focus on recording, and requires more communication. The publicist will often ask for as much lead time as they can because they are looking to employ a strategy behind the promotion; this can mean 3-6 months before the album is even released. Publicists have to adhere to various industry practices and blackout periods so that they can get the most press for your album. When you are hiring them they will be aware of competing for release dates with other similar musicians, holidays, and to avoid large industry events where media will be unavailable.
    • Materials
      I am sure that you have heard the saying “more is more,” well content is “king/queen” on the internet and the more promotional materials that you have the better.This includes items like:

      • Music videos
      • Lyric videos
      • Playthrough videos (guitar, bass, drum, vocal, etc.)
      • Photographs (promotional and social media content)
      • Strong songs from the album (called singles usually 1-2 for an EP or 2-4 for a full-length)
      • Giveaways
    • Correspondence
      The easiest way to streamline communication is to delegate 1-2 individuals in the band (or you, if you are a solo artist). These person(s) will be responsible for communicating not only with the publicist but the media as well. There are two benefits to this:

      • You can establish a stronger connection with your publicist and they can better understand your music and how it should be represented.
      • There is a consistent public voice that people can establish as streamline brand that aligns with the image of the music and the personalities behind it.Overall, it may be daunting for one or two people to take on the communications but ultimately there will be a greater level of consistency that lines up with the brand established for the musical project. Interviews need to be coordinated quickly, so make sure to set aside time for impromptu interviews and quick conversations to check in about the campaign with media as well as your publicist.
    • Empathy
      Typically, publicists and record labels have cycles for promoting their artists and in order to do a great job they need a clear timeline to prepare for the campaigns. This means that 3-6 months PRIOR to the album release date you need to prepare an electronic press kit (EPK or one sheet), content creation (videos, photoshoots), and strategize a timeline for promotion. By understanding someone else’s role and encouraging them to become a part of your team you will have a stronger promotional campaign that closely aligns with the brand of the project whether it is an album, tour, music video, or otherwise.Publicity should be used to garner interviews, reviews, and previews of your music and your career as an artist. By taking the time to research the right publicist and strategize your campaign you can make your music and your money work hard for you.

Album Release For Kate Blechinger’s ‘Under a Dancing Sky’

Edmonton based jazz vocalist, Kate Blechinger, is ecstatic to release her debut album, Under a Dancing Sky, at the Yardbird Suite. Under a Dancing Sky features innovative folk-jazz arrangements of Joni Mitchell’s compositions alongside several of Kate’s original songs which are inspired by the Canadian musical icon’s legacy. This collection of songs is a tribute not only to Joni Mitchell, who turns 75 years old this November, but also to Kate’s experiences growing up on the prairies.


Kate will be joined by a group of very talented musicians, including:

Brett Hansen – Guitar
Chris Andrew – Piano
Rubim de Toledo – Bass
Joel Jeschke – Drums
Joseph Semple – Clarinet
Mallory Chipman – Vocal

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018
Time: Doors at 7 PM (show starts at 8 PM)
Location: The Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way)
Price: $16 tickets for members | $20 for non-members

For more info, visit:

Check out the breakout single “Night In The City” below!

Spotlight on Kate Blechinger

Big news here at Bent River Records! We are adding another artist to the roster! Kate Blechinger is an inventive and charismatic vocalist, composer, and arranger. Originally hailing from Regina, Saskatchewan, Kate takes direct influence from the vast prairie landscapes of her youth to create expansive, evocative compositions and arrangements for listeners to enjoy. She now resides in Edmonton, and is an alumna of the Bachelor of Music program. She will be releasing an album under the Bent River Records label at the end of November. We did a small interview with Kate to see what lies ahead on the new record. Check it out below:

What is your album called?

My album is called Under a Dancing Sky.

What do you want listeners to know about the album?

Under a Dancing Sky is my debut album.  It is inspired largely by my biggest musical inspiration, Joni Mitchell, and the connection we share as female musicians hailing from the Canadian prairies.  To me, Joni has always been a strong example of a musician that follows her own creative path, often pushing boundaries and defying genre classifications along the way; I tried to emulate her spunky, experimental attitude in this process.  When picking songs to arrange from Joni’s catalogue, I tried to pull from the many phases of her career and to choose compositions related to the theme of journeying through many different spaces and contexts. In my own compositions, I focused on using the music as a vehicle to express my own journey, and paint the landscapes that served as a backdrop for my growth as a person and artist.

Where and when is the release?

The release is on Thursday November 29th at the Yardbird Suite here in Edmonton.  I am grateful to have my release show be part of the YEG Thursday showcase series at the Suite!  Tickets are available at the door only, and are $20 for non-members, and $16 for members.

For more information, visit:

What can we expect?

On this album, listeners can expect an interesting hybrid of my two favourite musical genres, folk and jazz.  Symbolically, I grew up listening to folk music, and in more recent years, I have transitioned into writing more jazz influenced music.  So, this album combines acoustic instrumentation and folk lyricism with jazz harmony and improvisation to express where I have come from and where I am going.

The result is an eclectic and evocative mix of original compositions and my unique arrangements of Joni Mitchell’s songs, featuring some of Edmonton’s finest musicians!

Why did you choose to release a track early, and what is the track called? 

This track is called “Night in the City”, and it is a Joni Mitchell composition from her 1968 debut album, Song to a Seagull.  Today, on Joni Mitchell’s 75th Birthday, I am honoured to share my take on one of her earliest recorded tunes.  According to Joni’s website, “Night in the City” was inspired by an area in Toronto called Yorkville Avenue, where one could walk down the street and hear the full gamut of music, both good and bad, mixing into musical puddles in one’s ears.  I felt very inspired to arrange this tune in a lively, jostling way, to give listeners a real sense of what that avenue must have been like in the 1960s.  I hope everyone enjoys my take on “Night in the City”.

Check it out on Soundcloud:

Jazz Night with Music Conference Alberta

Some of the artists on the label will be collaborating with some of MacEwan’s music students and outside musicians to perform at Music Conference Alberta this weekend! As a part of the Alberta Emerging Musicians Festival, Mallory Chipman, Chandelle Rimmer and Tom Van Seters will be performing with the MacEwan University Big Band (directed by Ray Baril), the MacEwan University Jazz Combo (directed by Kent Sangster), and will feature a special guest trumpeter Terell Stafford. Chandelle and Tom will also be performing a few tunes from their latest release, Stillness Falls.

This is going to be an exciting performance as it will showcase our local MacEwan community including staff and students, as well as showcase international performers to the Alberta Music community who is in town for the conference.

The performance is on Saturday, October 27th at 7:00pm in the Betty Andrews Recital Hall in Allard Hall at MacEwan University.

Click here to grab some tickets (non-delegate tickets available), and have a peak at some more information about the musicians in both The Big Band and Jazz Combo, as well as more information on the visiting trumpet player Terell Stafford.