BIO

NYC-based saxophonist and composer Quinsin Nachoff has earned a reputation for making “pure, bracing, thought-provoking music” that is “cliché-and convention-free” (Ottawa Citizen). Since moving from his native Toronto to New York City, Nachoff has made a habit of freely crossing borders: his music moves fluidly between the jazz and classical worlds and manages to be soul-stirring at the same time that it is intricately cerebral. His passions reach into both the arts and the sciences, with concepts from physics or astronomy sparking inspiration for exhilarating compositions.

That state of constant unpredictability is vividly captured in both the name and the music of Nachoff’s remarkable group Flux, which features the stellar talents of saxophonist David Binney, keyboardist Matt Mitchell, and drummers Kenny Wollesen and Nate Wood. Their second release, Path of Totality (Whirlwind), thrives in the spaces between genres, styles and inspirations, employing a vast array of instruments and a vivid palette of musical colors to create something that is consistently surprising as its shape morphs from moment to moment over the course of six epic-length pieces.

Flux’s self-titled debut on Mythology Records was nominated for a 2017 Juno Award and was hailed by All About Jazz for projecting “a cunning musical personality as large and small surprises trickle through the seams on a recurring basis.” Between those two albums, Nachoff released the first outing of his Ethereal Trio (Whirlwind) featuring bassist Mark Helias and drummer Dan Weiss. “All three musicians revel in each other’s company,” raved UK Vibe, adding, “[Nachoff] is a fearless explorer of contemporary jazz expression… An album well worth investigating.”

Nachoff’s 2011 release FoMo (Musictronic) was described as “funky, passionate and intellectually probing” by Exclaim Magazine, while 2008’s Horizons Ensemble (Musictronic), featuring the talents of British pianist John Taylor and Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger, garnered praise from DownBeat for being “bold, diverse and filled with compelling counterpoint.” A co-led project with French drummer Bruno Tocanne, 5 New Dreams (Cristal), also garnered critical praise, with France’s Jazzman Magazine applauding Nachoff as “one of the revelations of the year.”

Nachoff’s debut album, Magic Numbers, was listed as on of the Top 10 New Releases of 2006 by the Philadelphia City Paper. Heralded as “one of the most innovative chamber jazz recordings in recent years” by All About Jazz, Magic Numbers featured drummer Jim Black, bassist Mark Helias and a string quartet led by violinist Nathalie Bonin, marking Nachoff’s earliest recorded experiments with melding his jazz and classical influences.

Since that time he’s found success in both worlds. In November 2018 he’ll premiere a new Violin Concerto, his first String Quartet (commissioned by Quebec’s Molinari String Quartet) and a new large ensemble piece in Montreal, all of which will be recorded for future release. These are the latest additions to a growing catalogue of compositions for a variety of diverse ensembles. At the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in June 2017 he was featured as soloist alongside the Turning Point Ensemble, a contemporary classical chamber ensemble, for the premiere of a commissioned Saxophone Concerto, while his piece Stars and Constellations: Scorpio was a commission from the Penderecki String Quartet that incorporated the members of his Ethereal Trio.

Previous commissions have included a genre-bending Violin Concerto for violinist Nathalie Bonin, demoed 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

As a saxophonist, Nachoff’s playing has been 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). A graduate of the University of Toronto, 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. He leads Flux, the Ethereal Trio, Horizons Ensemble and FoMo quartet as well as the Pyramid Project, which brings together saxophone, brass quintet and drums and features Ralph Alessi, Jonathan Finlayson, John Clark, Ryan Keberle, Marcus Rojas and Jim Black.

Nachoff performs regularly with guitarist Tom Chang’s Quartet and Quintet at Cornelia St. Café, and has recently recorded with Andrew Rathbun’s Large Ensemble for a project featuring special guests Tim Hagans and Bill Stewart; the Migiwa Miyajima Augmented Jazz Orchestra; and the Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra. As a sideman he’s performed and/or recorded with Kenny Werner, Howard Johnson, Tim Hagans, Kenny Wheeler and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, among others.

Nachoff was a semifinalist in the renowned 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 was awarded a 2007 Chalmers Fellowship and the 2004 KM Hunter Award in Music. Nachoff has coached at the Banff Centre for the Arts and taught at the University of Toronto and Humber College, as well as serving as artist-in-residence at the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia and the National Music Centre in Calgary, Canada.