EMCEE: JOHNNY MAX
At the helm of the Johnny Max Band, Johnny is a frontman who is not afraid to jump into the audience and get them going The Johnny Max Band is celebrating their 25th Anniversary with 7 albums, 2 Juno Award nominations, multiple Maple Blues award nominations and working on two new albums (studio and live). The JMB is a groovy New Orleans/Memphis style Blues horn band playing Blues & R&B, that makes you want to get up and dance! It is all about the music, not the solos. It is all about the groove and the move!
MUSICAL DIRECTOR: MARGARET STOWE
Guitarist Margaret Stowe has performed all over Canada and Europe and has recorded and performed with an array of Canadian/International artists. "Stowe's departure point is jazz, but her style ranges from folk to blues to world beats, propelled by her trademark high energy and eclectic tastes."--Prague Post. Margaret plays original music with her own trio and can be found playing festivals and shows including Tony Quarrington's "For King and Country" and Blues for the Red Door, and with Max Woolaver, Brenda Lewis and the Missa Gaia Jazz Ensemble.
the house band
In addition to lead vocalist, Johnny Maxx, and guitarist, Margaret Stowe (see above), here's our fabulous house band:
Canadian bassist Lauren Falls has made a big impact on the Toronto and New York jazz scenes. She has performed at numerous jazz festivals and staple Toronto venues. An accomplished composer, she has released a debut album of original music called The Quiet Fight and is currently working on her second album A Little Louder Now to be released in 2021. Lauren holds a master’s degree in Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music as well as a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from Humber College in Toronto.
MICHELLE JOSEF: DRUMS
Celebrating her third decade as a professional musician, Michelle brings a wealth of playing experience as well as a unique perspective on life. "When Michelle Josef performed in an all-star tribute to the late Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle- in a band that backed up Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Cockburn, and Broken Social Scene among others one of the performers, Robert Charlebois, said to her: “You’re not one drummer, you’re five drummers – a folk drummer, a rock drummer, a jazz drummer, etc.” Considering the caliber of musicians she was working with, she took that as high praise." Angela Smith for Tom Tom Magazine
ALISON YOUNG: SAXAPHONE
Ottawa born, 2022 Juno award winning saxophonist and composer, Alison has been leading her own band in various formations since 2012 – composing and arranging for duo through to septet. Alison has been on the main stage at the Toronto, Ottawa, Markham and Niagara Jazz Festivals.
Brooke is the composer and guitar player of the Juno-nominated, Maple Blues winning Toronto based soul blues band “Blackburn”. Performing for thirty plus years as a Canadian musician, Brooke has accumulated a vast repertoire of original compositions. His solo album, Songs, consists of music that incorporated various styles and compositional methods acquired throughout his unwavering career.
Chuck Jackson is Downchild’s lead singer and harmonica player; the sort of openhearted, friendly guy who builds an instant rapport with audiences. He came to Downchild 30 years ago after a long career with a number of top Canadian bands. Chuck has been nominated for 7 Junos; won 2 Junos for Blues Album of the Year; nominated 8 times as Male Vocalist of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards- winning the award twice in 1999 and again in 2007; 2002 he was presented with the Toronto Blues Society’s prestigious Blues With a Feeling Award; and the list goes on!
A performer in Toronto since 1990, he spent eight years as right-hand-man to Big Rude Jake before forming his own protest band, The New Kings. These days, when not touring the globe w/ Lemon Bucket Orkestra, MLJ is a notorious busker and bartender, (NOW Mag Best Bartender, 2013). He leads the ArtSpin, playing trumpet while riding his bicycle, is creator of popular vinyl night, D-cide on the B-side. Fronts the 13-piece improv brassband Rambunctious, and holds a weekly jazz residency at Communist's Daughter since 2003.
With a 5-octave vocal range that runs the gamult from tender to tempest, Serafin has cultivated a cross-genre audience that embraces Jazz, Torch and even Classical music.
Sistah Lois, Afrikan Princess is an incredibly talented actor singer and has been known to awaken, inspire, motivate, educate and entertain. Born in Trinidad, she immigrated to Manitoba as a small child, she now calls Toronto home. Another phenomenal wombman actress, singer and community activist who uses her gifts of musical storytelling to have profound impacts on all who are fortunate enough to experience her in action!
Spencer has developed a tone, a vintage sound, a style that resonates and phrasing of a seasoned pro. Spencer has received many awards including the 2017 Blues Artist of the Year, Niagara Music Awards and the 2016 New Artist of the Year, Maple blues Awards.
Long regarded as one of Canada's finest finger-style guitarists, Rick Taylor brings a high level of energy to the stage. A 50 plus year veteran of the guitar, he has been a featured artist on numerous TV and radio shows, main stage festivals, concert halls and clubs. Rick is the recipient of the Jimmy Lewis "Life Time of the Blues Award" and 3-timer winner of The Great Lakes Blues Society "Road To Memphis" competition.
Juno Award winner, Tyler Yarema is an award-winning piano player, singer, and composer. He has played on over fifty albums ranging in genres from blues and jazz to reggae and pop. Tyler also holds an enormously successful twenty-two-year house gig at the world-famous Reservoir Lounge in downtown Toronto. In June, 2021 Tyler became the newest member of the Downchild Blues Band.
DJ Swankenstein’s been spinning his genre-hopping concoction of vinyl deliciousness for happy listeners (and dancers) at clubs, concert halls, theatres and festivals from coast to coast across North America for years. Jazz, Jump, Rock and Roll, Blues, Bossa, Mambo, Cha Cha, Crooners, Exotica, and plenty of Musical Weirdness! It’s all part of the recipe of the sonic goodness and fun times crammed into every one of Swank’s record crates.