JUNO Award nominee Fern Lindzon is a multi-faceted pianist/vocalist/composer with a technique that The WholeNote calls “intricate, yet commanding”, and her latest CD Two Kites, “breathtakingly beautiful.” Montreal critic Irwin Block writes that Fern is a “rare and fascinating talent”, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene’s Scott Yanow describes her as having “a warm and haunting voice along with excellent technique on the piano and an adventurous spirit.” From Jobim to Norma Winstone, with stop-overs in Brazil, Eastern Europe and on Basin Street, Fern’s highly original arrangements fly gracefully on the winds of contemporary jazz.
Fern’s second CD, Two Kites (2011), with saxophonist Mike Murley, bassist George Koller and drummer Nick Fraser, was nominated for a 2012 JUNO Award as Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. It has also drawn admiring comments from the New York pianist Fred Hersch and the British singer Norma Winstone, as well as from reviewers for The WholeNote, Los Angeles Jazz Scene and several other publications. Its launch was supported by a juried Special Projects award from Toronto Downtown Jazz. Fern’s first CD, Moments Like These (2008), of duets with George Koller, vibraphonist Don Thompson and guitarist Reg Schwager, was also critically well received and led to a feature article in The Globe and Mail and a concert recorded for broadcast in 2009 on CBC Radio’s Canada Live.
Fern has been heard at leading jazz clubs in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria, at jazz festivals in Ontario, and in 2009 on CBC Radio’s Canada Live. As the music director from 2005 to 2011 of the klezmer-swing Sisters of Sheynville, she appeared at world music events in Canada, the United States and Poland; the Sisters won the Canadian Folk Music Award in 2008 for Vocal Group of the Year.
Fern’s embracing vision of music has also inspired her to undertake a variety of special projects. In 2010 she led her own jazz/klezmer sextet in several performances of her original score for Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Bell Lightbox. Fern has continued to compose and improvise silent film scores for TIFF, Vintage Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival. In 2011, she introduced Forgotten Melodies, which brings the exoticism, unbridled energy and heartbreak of klezmer/Eastern European and Yiddish music to contemporary jazz, at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Also in 2011, she presented a concert in tribute to the American jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams at the Barrie Jazz and Blues Festival.
Fern’s involvement in the Toronto music community is further reflected in her work at Havergal College, where she coaches jazz and teaches piano, and in her place on the advisory board of the Jazz Performance and Education Centre.