Heillig Manoeuvre quartet bring original instrumentals to Revelstoke Jazz Club

Toronto-based jazz quartet Heillig Manoeuvre's performances have form but also room for spontaneity. They play at the Revelstoke Jazz Club on October 31.

Heillig Manoeuvre perform at the Revelstoke Jazz Club on October 31. Photo: Heillig Manoeuvre.

Toronto-based quartet Heillig Manoeuvre are bringing their original instrumental jazz sounds to the Revelstoke Jazz Club on Halloween night.

Bassist/bandleader Henry Heillig describes what they do as thoughtful fun.  

“I write songs, with melody and elements of my own character. They become jazz in performance with my musical partners,” said Heillig.

Heillig is best know for his 20-plus years as musical director of Manteca, the nine-piece afrolatinworldbeatcalypsojazz ensemble.

“Manteca was a great ride, much like an ocean liner. Heillig Manoeuvre, by comparison is a sailboat that can change direction on a gust of spontaneous ideas. Our performances have form, but also room for spontaneity, and we push each other to be our very best. Audience reaction to our approach has been uniformly rewarding,” said Heillig.

The current version of Heillig Manoeuvre, together since 2011, is on the cusp of releasing a third CD, Thoughtful Fun. The band will be touring Western Canada in November, as well as performing at select venues around Ontario.

The members of Heillig Manoeuvre are:

Saxophonist Alison Young, recently included in a CBC.ca feature called 35 Best Canadian Jazz Artists Under 35. Alison has a musical personality that belies her young age. Her playing is soulful and energetic, and her compositions feel very natural. Alison is in great demand, currently performing with pop singer Alysha Brilla, jazzmasters Joe Sealy and Colin Hunter, and roots bands Big Rude Jake and Red Hot Ramble as well as Heillig Manoeuvre.

Pianist Stacie McGregor has been a Heillig favourite for many years for her ability to dig-in to a groove and also solo with abandon. She was MD for the late Archie Alleyne’s hard-bop band Kollage, toured with bassist Brandi Disterheft, as well as holding down a weekly solo piano gig for over 20 years.

Drummer Charlie Cooley‘s career has found him touring and recording with many of Canada’s top acts, from Amanda Marshall, the Guess Who and Sass Jordan to Prairie Oyster and Jimmy Rankin. However, his place in Heillig Manoeuvre is a result of his 25-plus years as Heillig’s rhythm partner in Manteca. The pair have an uncanny rapport which creates seamless confident grooving in support of Alison and Stacie’s inspired melodies.

Bassist and composer Henry Heillig began his career as a singer-songwriter in Montreal. He learned stage craft in intimate coffee houses, and started playing bass  accompanying his dad’s favourite swing tunes in their living room. This combination leads directly to Heillig Manoeuvre’s repertoire and performance style.

Concurrent with his time leading Manteca, Heillig Heillig toured with Sharon, Lois and Bram and Eric Nagler, producing music for his children’s television series. He has been a member of harmonica virtuoso Carlos del Junco’s ensemble for almost twenty years. For the last ten years, he has been involved as musical director and producer for a project called The Journey, which puts vocal veterans such as Jackie Richardson and Alana Bridgewater together with young singers in Regent Park, chronicling  the ongoing redevelopment of their neighbourhood.

Heillig Manoeuvre  perform at the Revelstoke Jazz Club, located in the Selkirk Room at the Regent Inn on Tuesday, October 31. Doors open at 7 p.m. and music begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is by donation.