Their Motto : One Heart, One Mind, One Groove
Six accomplished musicians playing original instrumental compositions, combining wicked grooves and creative interplay. We mix the harmonic and improvisational traditions of North American Jazz with the rhythmic influences of Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Arabic music. The result is an aural explosion of global grooves taking the ear in new and riveting musical directions.
The core band is:
Kevin Turcotte, Gord Sheard, Mark Kelso, John Johnson, Collin Barrett & leader Rick Shadrach Lazar.
Special Adjunct Members:
Geoff Young, Demetri Petsalakis.
Rick Shadrach Lazar
Rick was voted Percussionist of the Year five times by Jazz Report magazine and has produced and released 4 CDs with his group Montuno Police: Bang,Touch,The Call, and Nomads. Rick has toured/recorded with a variety of artists, including Bruce Cockburn, Barry White, Jesse Cook, and Paul Shaffer as well as being a regular collaborator with Loreena McKennitt on her recordings and world tours. Rick is the creator and artistic director of Samba Squad and has written, produced and released 3 CDs with this group,“Samba Squad” ( 2001 )“Batuque,”(2006) and Que Beleza (2012 ) He is also an educator at York University (since 2003); he is course director of the Escola de Samba and Cuban music courses. Lazar has also developed workshop techniques, which are being successfully used in the Samba Kidz and Samba Teens programs. Lazar taught private lessons and directed Latin Ensembles at Humber College in Toronto from 1995 to 2005. Lazar is first call for many producers and his recorded work spans records, film scores, TV shows and jingles. From the public school level to the corporate world, Lazar has also directed a myriad of hands-on drumming workshops. He is also recognized as being a facilitator for large, multi – cultural drumming projects, such as the Toronto Olympic Parade of Heroes for the Pan AM Games, the Grand Bateria Express (100 drummers) for Lula World Fest, and the Grand Bateria Express plus Brass for the 2015 Panamania celebration. His strength is his versatility in a myriad of styles, as shown by being chosen to hold down the drum chair with famed Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy at Ramzy’s concert at the 2015 WOMAD festival in England. Rick’s knowledge of world drums and passion makes him a unique percussionist who is first call for a diverse array of artists.
Kevin Turcotte (trumpeter, flugelhornist)
He is recognized as one of Canada’s major trumpet talents with an impressive list of recording and touring credentials. He has played on 175 CD’s in a wide range of styles and touring has taken him around the world. He has played with a variety of American artists, such as Brian Blade, Sam Rivers, Joe Lovano, Danilo Perez, Tito Puente, Warren Vache and Carla Bley. Kevin was picked to play the trumpet parts on the soundtrack for a feature film about the life of Chet Baker. “Born to be Blue”, starring American actor Ethan Hawke. It comes as no surprise that Kevin has been recognized multiple times by Jazz Report Magazine and the National Jazz Awards as Jazz Trumpeter of the Year for his many accomplishments. Kevin studied at the Banff School of Fine Arts Summer Jazz Workshop, has a music education degree from the University of Toronto and teaches in the Jazz Studies programs at U of T and York University.
Pianist and music educator Gord Sheard has enjoyed a many-faceted career as a professional musician for over four decades. During that time he has performed with, recorded with, and or produced a long list of bands and artists that include Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Steve Gadd, David Garibaldi, Steve Ferrone, Lew Soloff, Chuck Mangione, Manteca, the Montuno Police, Alain Caron, Rita McNeil, Liona Boyd, Louise Pitre, Eliana Cuevas, Carol Welsman, Brian Hughes, David Krystal, Levon Ichkhanian, and Samba Squad, among others. Gord’s compositions may be heard on five CDs under his own name, including All Saints’ Bay (2013) and Crucible (2006), and on recordings by John MacLeod, Phil Dwyer, Samba Squad, Colleen Allen, Autorickshaw, The Montuno Police, and Manteca. Gord has also produced and composed music for television and radio commercials, films, and audio-visual productions. Gord holds a PhD in ethnomusicology and is head of the composition department at Humber College.
Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Mark Kelso has made Toronto his home for many years. A former student of Humber College, Mark has built his reputation around his ability to be a musical chameleon and has become one of the first call players in Canada. Mark’s ability to play a wide variety of musical styles has helped him become one of Canada’s most sought after drummers. An all around player, he has worked/recorded with a wide array of artists such as Abdoulaye Allhasane, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Laila Biali, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Measha Bruggergosman, Michael Bublé, Jane Bunnett, Alain Caron, David Clayton-Thomas, Holly Cole, Jesse Cook, Larry Coryell, Eliana Cuevas, Michel Cusson, Paquito D’Riveria, Dave Douglas, Hilario Duran trio & big band, Matt Dusk, Phil Dwyer, Kurt Elling, David Foster, Dave Grusin, Gryphon Trio, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Olivia Newton John, Marc Jordan, Molly Johnson, Chaka Khan, Pat LaBarbera, Donnell Leahy, Ranee Lee, Dave Liebman, Natalie MacMaster, Amanda Marshall, Vince Mendoza, Gary Morgan’s Pan Americana Big band, Bob Mintzer, The Montuno Police, Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), Andy Narell, Donny Osmond, Danilo Perez, Brigham Philips Big Band, Chris Potter, Jovino Santos Neto, NOJO, John Pizzarelli, Bonnie Raitt, Gordie Sampson, Arturo Sandoval, Maria Schneider, John Scofield, Tom Scott, Joe Sealy, Ron Sexsmith, Ben Sidran, Amy Sky, Curtis Steigers Mike Stern, Soul Stew, Chris Tarry, James Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Shania Twain, Ian Tyson, Gino Vannelli, and Carol Welsman.
Juno Award winner John Johnson is one of the most in-demand musicians in Toronto. A highly-respected session player, John is proficient on all the saxophones from sopranino through baritone, as well as piccolo, flute, alto flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet. In the clubs, John can often be seen playing with bands such as Soul Stew, The Montuno Police, The Barlow Group, Michael Pickett, Cimmaron, Vector, The Boss Brass, and Manteca. He has performed with Molly Johnson, Holly Cole, Diane Krall, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Dionne Warwick, Peabo Bryson, Cal Dodd, Dianne Reeves, Bill Mays, the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, and has appeared as a guest artist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions.
Musician, producer, engineer, mixer, composer and educator Collin Barrett received his Masters (composition) at York University. Collin started playing bass at the age of twelve and began engineering and producing two years later. His diverse playing of many musical styles keeps him in demand on the Toronto music scene. He has been in musical situations with chart topping international artists such as André 3000, Cee Lo Green, Julian Lennon, Wynton Marsalis, The 5th Dimension, The Drifters, The Marvelettes and Thelma Houston. Collin was the Musical Director for artists that shared the stage as an opening act with Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, Ne-Yo, Trombone Shorty, Mary J Blige, John Legend, Oscar Peterson and George Benson. Canadian artists credits include Leonard Cohen, Sonia Collymore, Jesse Cook, Esthero, Jully Black, Holly Cole, Brian Hughes, Carol Welsman, Randy Bachman, Eva Avila, Amy Sky, Murray McLauchlan, Sarah Slean, The Shuffle Demons, The Montuno Police and The Parachute Club. Collin produced, co-wrote, recorded and mixed two records that won the Juno Award. Other productions include Melanie Fiona, Snow, 3 Deep, Drop 4, Simone Denny and The Dammage.
Special Adjunct Band Members
Demetri Petsalakis : Guitar, El Oud
Originally from Athens, Greece, Demetri Petsalakis is a Toronto-based musician performing in a variety of styles with a focus on Greek and Middle Eastern lutes. He is involved with bands such as Ventanas, Nomadica, Near East, Zephyr, The Maryem Tollar ensemble, Samba Squad, The Ken McDonald quartet and the Heavyset Quartet, where he is featured playing a variety of stringed instruments including guitar, el oud, lyra and baglama. Demetri has a Master of Music degree in jazz guitar performance from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music from York University.