"Wearing gleaming red stilettos and a black orchid over her left ear, she played with endless creativity and flair. From Hank Crawford-esque to Dexter Gordon-meets-Herschel Evans, to Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Sonny Stitt territory." - Ted Panken, DownBeat Magazine
Born and raised in Ottawa, JUNO nominated saxophonist and composer Alison Young discovered jazz at an early age, gravitating towards the exuberance of Sonny Rollins and Cannonball Adderley, who continue to influence her to this day. As well as being featured in the National Youth Jazz Ensemble at the Ottawa jazz festival in 2001 and 2002, she began playing professionally as a teenager, developing an affinity for soul and R&B as well as jazz. Since moving to Toronto in the early 2000s to study music at the University of Toronto, Alison has been an active presence on the Toronto jazz scene.
As a sideman, Alison is versatile and in-demand, at home on soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, in a wide range of genres. She has toured across North America, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia with Joe Sealy, the Heillig Manoeuvre, Alysha Brilla, Big Rude Jake, Johnny Reid, and the Shuffle Demons, and has appeared on over 40 recordings. Her 2018 album, 'So Here We Are', has received regular play on JazzFM and CBC radio, as well as numerous jazz radio programs across Canada. In DownBeat magazine, writer Ted Panken described her playing at the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival as having "endless creativity and flair". In 2017 Alison was chosen as one of the 'Best 35 jazz Canadian Jazz Artists under 35' by the CBC. Later that year, she was featured in Pat LaCroix and Ted O'Reilly's book, "Toronto Jazz Treasures" alongside many of her musical heroes. In the summer of 2019, Alison toured across Canada accompanying iconic pop star Corey Hart, and was featured on his single "Dreaming Time Again".
"Alison Young takes musical chances and has something to say." - The WholeNote
Alison has been leading her own band in various formations since 2012, composing and arranging for duo through to septet. Her latest project features a line up of her favourite Toronto musicians: virtuoso bassist Ross MacIntyre on upright and electric; Saskatchewan's hard swinging Jeff McLeod on piano and organ; the eclectic and energetic Eric St Laurent on guitar; and the excellent Sly Juhas and Chris Wallace alternating on drums. The Alison Young Quintet has played the main stages of the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Markham Jazz Festival and the Niagara Jazz Festival. Seeking to combine her love of hard bop, soul, and New Orleans-style funk, Alison recorded an album of mostly originals with this ensemble in 2017, putting an emphasis on energy and drive, but also prioritising elegant, singable melodies. Canadian jazz star Guido Basso joins the quintet on two songs, lending his lyrical sound to the album. The Alison Young Quintet's debut album, 'So Here We Are', was released in November of 2018, and was nominated for a 2019 JUNO in the Solo Jazz Instrumental Album of the Year category.
"Alison Young is a rising star in Toronto and beyond. One of the most versatile musicians in Canada!"
- Jaymz Bee, JazzFM 91
I am very proud to be part of some great musical projects in Toronto and beyond! Click the links below to check out these artists.