From Edmonton
Kent Sangster's Obsessions Octet



Joanna Ciapka-Sangster - violin
Yue Deng - violin
Leanne Maitland - viola
Ronda Metzsies - cello
Chris Andrew - piano and keyboards
John Taylor - electric and acoustic bass
Jamie Cooper - drums
Kent Sangster - saxophones and EWI

The Obsessions Octet was founded in 2005 by saxophonist Kent Sangster and his wife Joanna Ciapka-Sangster, a classically trained violinist, out of their long- held desire to make music together. This group is the most innovative, ambitious, crazy and satisfying project that they have undertaken to date.

The distinct sound of this group is an elegant blend of classical, Latin and jazz elements, performing works by Astor Piazzolla, Chucho Valdes, Cole Porter and a collection of Sangster's original compositions. The Obsessions Octet has released three notable recordings, "Obsession" (2006), a mix of jazz standards and works by tango master Astor Piazzolla and originals by Kent Sangster; "Melodia" (2010), including works by Piazzolla, Afro- Cuban influenced music by Chucho Valdes, and more original Latin-oriented works by Kent Sangster, "Steppin' Up" (2016).

"Obsession" earned a Western Canadian Music Award and a Juno nomination for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year". "Melodia" was also nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for "Best Jazz Recording" and established this cross-over ensemble as one of the finest of its kind in North America."Steppin' Up" also received rave reviews and nominations for many different awards.

The Octet consists of two quartets: a classical string quartet and a jazz quartet (sax-piano-bass-drums). The ensemble plays chamber-jazz over a mix of material that leaves space for improvisation.

In addition to two very successful European tours, the Obsessions Octet has also performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, and represented Alberta at the 2016 XEROX Rochester International Jazz Festival in their new "Oh Canada Series".

"Obsessions Octet channels emotions into something more romantic. It's not romance in a sugary, predictable style, but with a robust sound that supports a flood of musical communication. Together since 2005 the group combines the lineup of a typical jazz quartet (sax-piano-bass-drums) with a classical string quartet in a lush sound that appeals to jazz and classical fans."
Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal

"Kent Sangster's Obsessions Octet performed a terrific concert on MidAmerica Production's chamber music series in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. Their acoustic performance in this hall was acutely balanced, nuanced and musically varied. They were well received by the enthusiastic audience eager for their unique musical expressions from this combination of instruments. We certainly look forward to presenting them again."

Norman Dunfee, President, Executive Director, MidAmerica Productions Inc.