Laila Biali (now finishing Tonic on Radio 2) gets jazz progam; Odario Williams gets Lawrie's job late night mix.
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2017-09-02 05:47:34 UTC
August 28, 2017
Singer-Songwriter Jazz Electronic


CBC Radio 2 is pleased to announce some revisions to its schedule beginning Sept. 4, including two new programs and hosts.

Afterdark with Odario Williams

Monday to Friday, from 8 p.m. to midnight, Odario Williams will present a mix of contemporary hits and ambient late-night music on Afterdark. Williams will be familiar to CBC listeners as guest host for The Signal, Radio 2 Top 20, Weekend Morning and as a regular guest on CBC Radio One's q. He's also an actor, songwriter, producer, poet and lead vocalist for the award-winning hip-hop collective Grand Analog.

"Afterdark will be a cool mixed bag of vibes new and old, like the mixtapes you used to make for your friends," says Williams. "So whether you're tuned in on your headphones, or at home with your stereo on, or sealed inside your car, I hope you carry this show with you wherever you go. It'll be a fun ride."

Saturday Night Jazz with Laila Biali

Jazz lovers can now look forward to Saturday Night Jazz, a soundtrack of new discoveries and much-loved classics airing Saturdays from 8 p.m. to midnight. Jazz pianist and singer-songwriter Laila Biali will host the program. "I've always been a radio junkie — my mom used to have CBC Radio 2 on in the background when we were kids, and my deep love of music was fed by that constant stream of sound," she says.

Currently the guest host of CBC Radio 2's Tonic, which wraps up its 10-year run on Sept. 3, Biali was nominated for best vocal jazz album of the year at the 2011 Juno Awards and has toured with Chris Botti, Paula Cole and Suzanne Vega. "When the CBC invited me to host Saturday Night Jazz, I couldn't have been more thrilled!"
2017-09-02 06:15:57 UTC
We chat with Jazz Sudbury headliner Laila Biali
Jazz and pop, covers and originals, Laila does it all
by: Heidi Ulrichsen, Sudbury.com
Updated 16 h


Toronto-based musician Laila Biali performs twice at the Jazz Sudbury Festival, which is coming up Sept. 6-10. (Supplied)

It's difficult to peg Jazz Sudbury Festival headliner Laila Biali to one musical genre.

The 36-year-old Toronto-based musician, who's released six albums since 2003, and plans to put out a seventh this winter, started her career singing jazz standards and some of her own original material.

From Sea to Sky, her 2007 album, was a collaboration with CBC, featuring jazzy cover versions of popular Canadian songs.

In 2015, she put out an album called "House of Many Rooms" that was about as different from her previous work as it could be.

For one thing, it has more of a pop feel — Biali said she'd been touring with well-known musicians that skewed more to the pop side of the spectrum, and she absorbed their style. It was also entirely her own original material.

“It was a really meaningful record, personally and professionally,” she said. Her new record is more of a middle ground — it has a heavier jazz influence, and nine out of the 12 songs are original.

Biali said she's thrilled to be performing not once but twice at the Jazz Sudbury Festival, coming up Sept. 6-10.

A popular but unusual part of the festival is the Jazz Walk in Downtown Sudbury. Taking place in the afternoon of Sept. 9, it features the Nickel City Dixie Stompers leading a New Orleans-style parade between downtown venues, where there'll be several performances.

You can catch Biali during the Jazz Walk at Sudbury Theatre Centre's cabaret at 3 p.m.

“I'm intrigued by this concept,” Biali said, adding that it'll be a highlight of the festival for her. “Any touchpoints with the community, those are a privilege. In my opinion, that's what music is all about.

“It's not being on a stage and having everybody listening. It's not a one-sided event. Music, to me, especially jazz, is interactive.”

An award-winning musician who has worked with likes of Paula Cole, Sting and Diana Krall, Biali headlines the festival's Saturday evening at the main stage at Grace Hartman Amphitheatre in Bell Park.

She said she loves playing the summer festival circuit, as it's a chance to catch up with other people in the music industry.

“We're really looking forward to playing the festival, and we're so grateful to (Jazz Sudbury artistic director) Allan Walsh for inviting us to come play,” said Biali.

You can expect to hear a mix of her own original material as well as covers of other artists' songs during her performances.

Biali is certainly a busy lady. She's recently signed on as the host of the new CBC Radio 2 program Saturday Night Jazz.

The first show will actually air Sept. 9 from 8 p.m. to midnight — while she's performing on the main stage at Jazz Sudbury. “We pre-taped,” she said. “We have to do that because we tour so much.”

Biali and her drummer husband Ben Wittman have a seven-year-old son, Josh. He'll be in the audience at Jazz Sudbury, watching his parents perform — Wittman will play in the band accompanying Biali.

Being a mom and a touring musician can be a juggling act, but Biali said it's been “the most formative experience of my life thus far,” and shapes her work.

She wrote the song “Shine” on House of Many Rooms after hearing about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, because it made her think of her own child. “I filtered it through the eyes of a mother,” Biali said.