Yves Léveillé; pianist and composer
Recipient of the André Gagnon Prize (instrumental music) from the SPACQ Foundation, the musician is recognized both for his compositions and arrangements and for his numerous musical collaborations with leading jazzmen, singers, songwriters, actors and directors. Pianist and composer Yves Léveillé is also the founder of Les Productions Yves Léveillé, an organization dedicated to the production and presentation of contemporary jazz concerts. Supported by various levels of government, the artistic company is constantly expanding its activities (concert production, tours, albums). Sometimes in search of dreamy phrasing, sometimes cerebral, sometimes lyrical, Léveillé works obstinately in a quest for jazz beauty.
Originally from Lévis, Yves Léveillé - who has lived in Montreal since 1984 - decided in the 1990s to create his own ensemble to interpret his compositions. He has produced eight original albums, available on the Effendi label and ATMA Classique. All of them have been favorably received by critics and music lovers alike. He is regularly called upon to present his works in Canada, Asia, Europe and the United States. Here are a few highlights of his career.
In 2004, he was awarded a CALQ grant for a six-month residency at the Studio du Québec in New York City. Another residency awarded by CALQ and the Banff Art Centre allowed him to devote himself to creation for three months in the fall of 2007.
In 2010, the release of her fifth album Pianos (FND100) highlights an inspired complicity with Japanese pianist Eri Yamamoto. This piano duo project, which has been a great success on tour, was supported by Yamaha New York. In the fall of 2012, thanks to the support of CALQ and the New York State Arts Council, Yves Léveillé will be able to continue his collaborative work with his partner in Manhattan, notably with the complicity of drummer Ikuo Takeuchi.
Second album launched in 2010, Chorégraphie (FND103) retraces the pianist's creations of the last three years and was selected by Le Devoir newspaper as one of the five best jazz albums of 2010. On this album, Yves Léveillé presents the fruit of his work with some of Quebec's most inspired jazz musicians.
In 2013, he participates with pianist François Bourassa in the project En trois couleurs initiated by the great soloist and percussionist Marie-Josée Simard. Together, they create a true peregrination through the meanders of jazz and improvisation tinged with world music. The concert wins honors in the Concert of the Year | Jazz category of the Prix Opus 2012-2013. The year is also marked by a performance at the inauguration of the Casavant organ in Quebec City and the pianist/composer is discovered by a wider audience thanks to the album Par amour pour Philou recorded for the benefit of the Centre Philou and crowned Best Album of the Year - Instrumental by ADISQ.
Prolific, Léveillé will release in February 2014 his album Essences des bois (FND131) devoted to instruments of the woodwind family wandering between jazz and today's classical music, an album nominated at the ADISQ (best jazz creation album 2014). Essences des bois wins the Prix Opus 2013-2014 in the category Concert of the Year | Jazz - World Music. After his tours with Paul McCandless (great American multi-instrumentalist and outstanding jazz improviser), he wanted to demonstrate that woodwinds, which are normally muffled, can give an assertive, tonic energy. With this septet for flutes, oboe, English horn, clarinets, saxophones, piano, double bass and drums, the musician thus goes off the beaten track, bypassing the usual use of brass instruments that often predominate in jazz.
In 2015, Yves Léveillé began a new adventure with his New York accomplices Eri Yamamoto and Ikuo Takeuchi with the creation of a series of original compositions inspired by the refined and sophisticated sounds of traditional Japanese musical aesthetics. This cross-cultural marriage entitled The Japan Project: Memories & Improvisations was premiered at the Alliance française de Toronto in the spring. The fall will be marked by two international tours of Essences of Woods, one in New York with concerts at the famous Dizzy's Club at Lincoln Center and at Flushing Town Hall, and the other in China(Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou). Finally, in February 2016, the album En trois couleurs released in 2015 on the Atma-Classique label was awarded the Prix Opus 2014-2015 in the category Jazz and World Music Album of the Year.
Yves Léveillé then joined Marie-Thérèse Fortin, with whom he has collaborated for many years as pianist accompanist and arranger, on the show Marie-Thérèse Fortin chante Barbara. In May 2016, the show was revived for a series of thirteen performances on the stage of the Cabaret du Théâtre Outremont. He offers refined arrangements that sometimes evoke jazz, sometimes a world of impressionist colors.
In October 2016, the trio En trois Couleurs ventured to new Chinese lands. Indeed, a major tour takes place where Marie-Josée Simard, François Bourassa and Yves Léveillé offer a series of concerts in the most beautiful venues in seventeen Chinese cities. This event reaches an enthusiastic audience of more than 15,000 people. More recently, in September 2019, the trio returned to China to present the new project L'Onde sonore du fjord, an ode to Canadian landscapes and wildlife, with visual design and projections by Jacques Collin.
In May 2017 Yves Léveillé presents Triptyque, a unique event to mark his 30-year career. The three resolutely contrasting evenings will be divided into three stages, each of which will invite a number of jazz greats who have marked the prolific pianist-composer's career. The En Trois Couleurs trio, the new Quintet (Kevin Warren, Guy Boisvert, Yannick Rieu, Jacques Kuba Séguin and Yves Léveillé), and finally the Y2 duo with saxophonist Yannick Rieu offer three exceptional evenings from May 10 to 12, 2017 at Théâtre Outremont.
The Bourdonnements Jazz à l'Outremont series (Théâtre Outremont et les PYL) will premiere in May 2018, three concerts over three weeks that will allow the pianist and composer in residence to invite and give a platform to several Quebec musicians, both established and emerging. The success of the series makes it possible to renew the formula the following year, this time with a monthly concert over four months, starting in March. A variety of concerts featuring local and international artists such as Paul McCandless and Eri Yamamoto.
In May 2019, Léveillé will release his new album entitled Phare, which is nominated for an Opus Award in the Jazz Album of the Year category. In addition, the album was selected by Espace musique as one of the 50 best Canadian albums of all styles (2019).