j o e s o r b a r a [ d o t ] c o m . p r o j e c t s . a l i e n r a d i o
françois houle . clarinet
Alien Radio is the Canadian creative music power trio of clarinetist François Houle, bassist James Meger, and percussionist Joe Sorbara. These stalwart sonic adventurers come together as often as the universe allows to breathe life into a diverse book of compositions penned by Houle and Sorbara as well as free jazz and experimental music luminaries such as Anthony Braxton, John Carter, and Steve Lacy.
Clarinetist François Houle has established himself as one of today’s most inventive musicians, in all of the diverse musical spheres he embraces: classical, jazz, new music, improvised music, and world music. He has twice been listed by Downbeat magazine as a “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” and was hailed as a “Rising Star” in Downbeat’s 2008 Critics’ Poll. His extensive touring has led to solo appearances at major festivals across Canada, the United States and Europe, and he has released more than a dozen recordings, earning multiple Juno Award and West Coast Music Award nominations. François’ clarinet playing transcends the stylistic borders associated with his instrument. Inspired by musical innovators such as Steve Lacy, John Carter, William O. Smith and Evan Parker, he has developed a unique improvisational language, virtuosic and rich with sonic embellishment and technical extensions. François has performed and recorded with Marilyn Crispell, Myra Melford, Ab Baars, Marc Dresser, Georg Gräwe, Joëlle Léandre, Evan Parker, Dave Douglas, Benoît Delbecq, and Michael Moore. By mastering each of the diverse musical genres he approaches, François demystifies music for his audiences, and has become known as one of today’s most engaging and stimulating musicians. François is on faculty at Vancouver Community College School of Music, and was Artistic Director of the Vancouver Creative Music Institute for five years.
James Meger is an active bassist and composer currently working and residing in Vancouver. He studied at Capilano College in Vancouver and then at Mcgill University in Montréal where he received a bachelor’s degree in Jazz performance. Since moving back to Vancouver he has become the city’s most in-demand bassist and has had the opportunity to collaborate with many local and international players such as Wayne Horvitz, Lori Freedman, Ig Henneman, Lina Allemano, Peggy Lee, Brad Turner, and Lisa Miller, among others, and has made many appearances at The Vancouver Jazz Festival, The Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival, Tone Fest in Toronto, and The Vancouver Improvised Music Meeting. He is also active as a sideman and co-leader in various ongoing projects, including Peggy Lee's Echo Painting, Sick Boss, The Alicia Hansen Band, The Bruno Hubert Trio, The Now Orchestra, Elisa Thorn’s HUE, Cow Trance, The Sumner Brothers, and many more. Recently James spent several months in the Netherlands studying with renowned improvisor Wilbert de Joode thanks to an Early Career Development grant from the BC Arts Council. He also co-curates a weekly interdisciplinary performance series at the Gold Saucer Studio in Vancouver called Sawdust Collector.
Canadian drummer and percussionist Joe Sorbara has spent nearly two decades developing a reputation as an imaginative and dedicated performer, composer, improviser, organizer, and educator in and around his home in Toronto, Canada. Sorbara is a highly inventive musician who has played and recorded with the AIMToronto Orchestra, Ken Aldcroft, Jared Burrows, Anthony Braxton, François Houle, James Meger, Evan Parker, Allen Ravenstine, Clyde Reed, and Friendly Rich as well as many of his own unique projects. He is equally comfortable playing jazz, free improvised music, indie rock, and chamber music; but is most at home when playing them all at the same time. Sorbara holds an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from York University and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Guelph where he focused on critical improvisation studies, literary and cultural theory, and pedagogy. Joe has worked extensively as a workshop facilitator and guest lecturer and he taught Creative Music performance and drum set studies for twelve years in the Music Department at the University of Guelph.