j o e s o r b a r a [ d o t ] c o m . b i o

h o m e


[ i ] bio

[ ii ] events

[ iii ] projects

[ iv ] discography

[ v ] gallery

[ vi ] press

[ vii ] contact





o w m [ d o t ] o r g

j o e

"...exceptionally talented and fascinating..."
-- Evan Davies, NOW

"Sorbara transmits [an] all-encompassing musicality..."
-- Glenn Astaria, AllAboutJazz dot com

the short story...

Joe Sorbara is a highly inventive drummer and percussionist with a penchant for coaxing music out of practically anything. Joe's drumkit is regularly augmented with found and prepared materials which ensure that the sounds at his ready disposal are practically orchestral in scope. He combines these skills with an extraordinary time-feel that makes him one of the most swinging drummers in Canada when the music demands it of him. He is equally at home playing jazz standards, free improvised music, punk rock, and chamber music; but prefers to play them all at the same time. He leads The Imperative, a trio featuring Jay Hay and Karen Ng on tenor saxophones, and two large ensembles: the ten-piece Abakos and a 'seven-or-more-tet' known as Other Foot First. Each of these serve as uniquely challenging outlets for his inventive compositions. Elsewhere, Joe plays in Ken Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble, in an improvising duo with Paul Dutton, in the AIMToronto Orchestra, as well as in numerous ongoing and ad hoc collaborations with creative improvising musicians from all over. In addition to the above, he has recorded with Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, Lullaby North, Anna Siddall, the Remnants Trio, Ronda Rindone's Quorum, Tom Arthurs and Bruce MacKinnon, Glen Hall, and Peter van Huffel. He can also be heard--alongside Tania Gill, Peter Lutek, and Scott Peterson--interpreting Mitchell Akiyama's music for the score to David Hartt's 2015 film, Interval. As an educator, Joe teaches at the University of Guelph where he works with young drummers in the applied music program as well as directing a large ensemble known as the CME. At home in Toronto, he teaches privately and through the Regent Park School of Music. He is also a stalwart creative music organizer, a founding Board member of AIMToronto, a member of the Somewhere There collective, and has been the director of the weekly Leftover Daylight Series since its inception in 2003.



the not-so-short story...

Joe Sorbara is a highly inventive drummer and percussionist with a penchant for coaxing music out of practically anything. Joe's drumkit is regularly augmented with found and prepared materials which ensure that the sounds at his ready disposal are practically orchestral in scope. He combines these skills with an extraordinary time-feel that makes him one of the most swinging drummers in Canada when the music demands it of him. He is equally at home playing jazz standards, free improvised music, punk rock, and chamber music; but prefers to play them all at the same time.

Sorbara has developed a reputation as a diverse and musical presence on Toronto's growing creative improvised music scene as a performer as well as a composer, improviser, organizer, and educator. Joe's own projects include The Imperative, a trio featuring Jay Hay and Karen Ng on tenor saxophones, and two large ensembles: the ten-piece Abakos and a 'seven-or-more-tet' known as Other Foot First. Each of these serve as uniquely challenging outlets for his inventive compositions. Elsewhere, Joe plays in Ken Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble, in an improvising duo with Paul Dutton, and in the AIMToronto Orchestra. He has been involved in the Remnants Trio with Ken Aldcroft and Evan Shaw, a sound an movement project with corporeal mime Julie Lassonde, Emilio Guim's Lullaby North, a duo project with poet Angela Rawlings, Ronda Rindoneís Quorum, the collaborative trio Squash Recipe with Tom Arthurs and Bruce MacKinnon, Glen Hallís Trio Muo, and plays now and then with Friendly Rich and the Lollypop People and with the Massey Hall Band. He also maintains numerous ongoing and ad hoc collaborations with creative improvising musicians from all over.

Sorbara's music can be heard most recently on a trio recording released by Barnyard Records with long-time rhythm section comrade, Wes Neal, on bass and free improvisation pioneer Evan Parker on tenor saxophone. He has also recorded with the Remnants Trio, The AIMToronto Orchestra, Anthony Braxton, Anna Siddall, Ronda Rindone's Quorum, Squash Recipe, Glen Hall, and Peter van Huffel and appears on numerous recordings with long-time collaborator Ken Aldcroft. He can also be heard--alongside Tania Gill, Peter Lutek, and Scott Peterson--interpreting Mitchell Akiyama's music for the score to David Hartt's 2015 film, Interval. In addition to the above, he has had the pleasure of performing with such notable musicians as John Abercrombie, Michael Bates, Tim Brady, Sylvie Courvoisier, Wilbert de Joode, Jean Derome, Dave Douglas, Dominic Duval, Douglas Ewart, Mark Feldman, Lori Freedman, Malcolm Goldstein, Frank Gratkowski, Peggy Lee, Lee Pui Ming, Joe Lovano, Joe Mcphee, Nicole Mitchell, Michael Moore, John Oswald, William Parker, Michael Snow, Ron Samworth, Dylan van der Schyff, and Jack Wright. He has performed for audiences all over Canada as well as in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Joe has worked extensively as a workshop facilitator and guest lecturer at the University of Toronto, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Humber College, Carleton University, and elsewhere. He began teaching in the Music Department at the University of Guelph in 2007. There, he currently works with young drummers in the applied music program as well as directing a large ensemble known as the CME. At home in Toronto, he teaches privately and through the Regent Park School of Music where he continues to help develop and maintain a bucket drumming class and a nonsense orchestra at a public school in Parkdale. Sorbara holds an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from York University in Toronto and is currently working on an MA in English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph with a focus in critical improvisation studies, literary and cultural theory, and pedagogy.

As a stalwart creative music organizer, Sorbara has been the director of the weekly Leftover Daylight Series since its inception in 2003 and is a member of the Somewhere There collective. He was also a founding board member of the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto (AIMToronto), served on the board of the Canadian New Music Network, and, along with trumpeter Ellwood Epps, ran the seminal As Is series from 2000-03.