Justin Gray Wins The 2015 Emerging Jazz Artist Award

TORONTO, June 23, 2015 – Toronto Arts Foundation announces Justin Gray as the recipient of the 2015 Emerging Jazz Artist Award. Gray accepted the award at an awards presentation hosted by Toronto Arts Foundation and TD Toronto Jazz Festival at Nathan Phillips Square.

Toronto is fortunate to be home to many talented emerging artists” said Director and CEO Claire Hopkinson. “We know how challenging it is for these artists to make their first recordings or to secure support for their productions. The Buchwald’s generous support of this award furthers the careers of emerging jazz artists and provides support at a critical time in an artist’s career.
Justin Gray is an acoustic and electric bass player, composer, teacher and bandleader based in Toronto. His main influences include Jazz, North Indian Classical and Contemporary music. Justin Gray has played with and worked with a number of internationally renowned artists including; Dave Liebman, Dave Douglas, Kurt Elling, Mike Stem, Cutis Fuller, Ingrid Jensen, Seamus Blake, Dan Weiss, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Greg Osby, Henry Hey and John Riley. Justin is the co-leader of two groups Monsoon, a contemporary Indo-Jazz ensemble, and Gray Matter, a jazz ensemble featuring Ingrid Jensen.
Gray was nominated by David Buchbinder. Buchbinder said “I saw right off the bat that he would be a real presence in Toronto jazz scene. Justin exemplifies the direction the music is heading, especially in its Toronto context. In this most diverse city on the planet, he both has the compositional and improvisational language of jazz well covered, while at the same time embodying the power of cross-cultural creation. Not only has he undertaken a serious and in-depth study of Indian classical music, he has invented a new instrument, the Bass Veena.”
The Emerging Jazz Artist Award is a $10,000 cash prize and is intended to further the career of an outstanding musician and support the pre-production, production and/or recording of original music composed by the recipient. The two additional award finalists, Tara Davidson and Mackenzie Longpré, will receive $1,000 each. The Emerging Jazz Artist Award was established in 2014, through the generous donation of Cheryl and Manuel Buchwald, and will be given out annually for at least 10 years.
The award jury included celebrated jazz artists and leaders Eliana Cuevas, Rosemary Galloway, Josh Grossman and Michael Shand.
Toronto Arts Foundation Awards are designed to heighten public awareness of arts and artists in Toronto by shining a spotlight on artistic excellence and achievement. 

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About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that encourages artistic excellence and increases access to the arts throughout the City of Toronto through private sector investment. Our vision Creative City: Block by Block is to connect every Toronto neighbourhood with the transformative socio-economic benefits of the arts. By supporting, celebrating, financing and advocating for Toronto’s artists, we can improve the quality of life for all Torontonians. 

Contact information:
For more information on the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards please visit www.torontoartsfoundation.org

Jennifer Green, Associate Director, Toronto Arts Foundation
Email: jennifer@torontoarts.org or Tel: 416 392 6802 x207.