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

jonathan kay . saxophones, esraj
joe sorbara . drums, percussion

jonathan kay . saxophones, esraj    joe sorbara . drums, percussion

Bringing together two musical paths that traverse diverse traditions, Jonathan Kay and Joe Sorbara explore improvisation as sonic ritual. Their duo music as The Rest invokes the emergence of compelling sound worlds that draw upon memory in different ways: intriguing and transformative sounds, noises, spaces, places, images, and affects are made present in the moment alongside intentionally cultivated memories including the musics of Don Cherry, Marilyn Crispell, and Jimmy Lyons in addition to original pieces by Kay and Sorbara themselves and the work of Thelonious Monk, which they explore together as members of Jared Burrows’ Great Lakes Quartet along with fellow Ontarian, Michael Herring. All of this means that the two are as likely to be exploring a sound constellation tripped over in a moment of free improvisation as they are a pre-composed melody, groove, or playful rhythmic puzzle.

As new sound worlds emerge through the ritual of the music, questions are evoked:

    What images, memories, and emotions are these worlds composed of?
    Where am I being led by them?
    Where do they begin and I end?
    How can I better attune myself the ebbs and flows of these worlds?
    How can I better attune myself to the other entities that are present?
    What is attracting the emergence of these worlds?
    What memories of the future do they conjure?

Approaching improvised music-making as a method of experimental, co-creative discovery and invention, Kay and Sorbara work to deepen these questions with particular attention to the ways that they naturally extend into existential, social, political, and spiritual dimensions.

Jonathan Kay . bio

Jonathan Kay is an internationally recognized transcultural mult-instrumentalist, hailing from Toronto, Canada. He graduated from Humber College as a saxophone player in 2004 with Honours in Jazz Studies. In search of non-western ways of musical knowing, Jonathan formally studied North Indian Raga music in Kolkata, India, and Japanese shakuhachi music in Kyoto, Japan. Based on the integration of these contemplative musical traditions with that of jazz and experimental improvisation, Jonathan has been recognized for creating a distinctive and compelling voice in contemporary improvisation and composition.

In 2008, Jonathan moved to Kolkata, and while living there for 10 years studied North Indian classical raga music with Pandit Shantanu Bhattacharyya (vocals and saxophone) and Sri Abir Singh Khangura (the esraj- a 21 stringed bowed instrument). Jonathan innovated the Shrutiphone, a customized saxophone tuned specifically for Raga temperament, and he is among first to perform the full form of solo Raga music on the saxophone at a professional level on some of the most prestigious stages in India. Jonathan has been cultivating transcultural music based on his unique experiences and is a bandleader of 3 innovative and award winning ensembles; Monsoon (Juno-nominated Indo-Jazz ensemble), Monsoon Trio (Indian music played on Western instruments) Kayos Theory (experimental transcultural improvising ensemble), and most recently The Coltrane Sutras (exploring transcultural intersections through John and Alice Coltrane’s music).

Jonathan has performed with these ensembles in Canada, India, USA and Japan and has been fortunate to perform alongside some of the world’s leading Jazz musicians including; David Liebman, Tony Malaby, Jim Black, Seamus Blake, Dan Weiss, Ingrid Jensen, Daniel Carter, Pat LaBarbera, David Mott, and Mike Murley.

Joe Sorbara . bio

Canadian drummer and percussionist Joe Sorbara (they/ them) has spent decades developing a reputation as a dedicated and imaginative performer, composer, improviser, collaborator, organiser, listener, writer, and educator. A consummate sonic adventurer, Sorbara’s music draws on a vast array of influences, most notably the African American Creative Music tradition.

Current projects include duos with east coast cellist Norm Adams, west coast clarinetist François Houle, and with fellow Ontarians Steve Sladkowski and Jonathan Kay in addition to the modular nonet Never Was with Brandon Davis, Madeleine Ertel, Kelvin Mansaray, Naomi McCarroll-Butler, Racha Moukalled, Kae Murphy, Patrick O'Reilly, and Adrian Russouw; a new sextet featuring Ted Crosby, Tania Gill, Rebecca Hennessy, Michael Herring, and Aline Homzy; the Imaginary Percussion Ensemble with Germaine Liu and Mark Zurawinski; and shows supporting singer-songwriter Bry Webb. Sorbara has also performed or recorded with Ken Aldcroft, Anthony Braxton, Jared Burrows, JP Carter, Nikita Carter, Christine Duncan, Paul Dutton, Joe McPhee, Hafez Modirzadeh, Evan Parker, William Parker, Nicole Rampersaud, Allen Ravenstine, Clyde Reed, and Friendly Rich, among many many others.

Joe is a long-time student of master drummer Jim Blackley and has worked extensively as a sessional instructor, workshop facilitator, and guest lecturer. They hold an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from York University in Toronto, a Master’s degree in English from the University of Guelph, and they are currently studying toward a PhD in Critical Improvisation Studies.

h o m e

[ i ] bio

[ ii ] events

[ iii ] projects

never was  

françois houle & joe sorbara

the rest
(jonathan kay & joe sorbara)

norm adams & joe sorbara  

alien radio
(houle/ meger/ sorbara)

the imperative  


imaginary percussion ensemble  

reliable parts  

paul dutton & joe sorbara  


mars people  

my misshapen ear  

other foot first  

remnants trio  

squash recipe  

[ iv ] discography

[ v ] gallery

[ vi ] contact

o w m [ d o t ] o r g