The Jazz Exiles is an exciting new super group formed by drummer/composer Mark Kelso. Featuring local heavyweights Rich Brown on bass, Robi Botos on keys, Luis Deniz on sax and newcomer Joey Martel on guitar, this group plays original music that is exciting & wild, yet melodic and accessible to all. Formed to continue on in the tradition of the Jazz/Funk and Fusion groups of yesteryear, this ensemble will definitely give you something to cheer about!
Mark Kelso (Drums/vocals)
Originally hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Canadian drummer Mark Kelso has made Toronto, Canada his home for quite some time. Not only is he a skilled musician who plays drums and percussion, but he is also a singer, producer and composer as well. Mark is currently the Head of percussion at Humber College in Toronto.
Mark’s ability to play a wide variety of musical styles has helped him become one of Canada’s most sought after drummers. An all around player, he has worked/recorded with a wide array of artists such as Pat Metheny, Donny McCaslin, Laila Biali, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Michael Bublé, Changuito, David Clayton-Thomas, Holly Cole, Larry Coryell, Eliana Cuevas, Paquito D’Riveria, Hilario Duran, David Foster, Dave Grusin, Herbie Hancock, Olivia Newton John, Molly Johnson, Chaka Khan, Pat LaBarbera, Donnell Leahy, Natalie MacMaster, Bob Mintzer, Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), Donny Osmond, Danilo Perez, Chris Potter, Jovino Santos Neto, NOJO, Bonnie Raitt, Maria Schneider, John Scofield, Ron Sexsmith, Mike Stern, Soul Stew, James Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Ian Tyson, Gino Vannelli, Carol Welsman and his own band, The Jazz Exiles. Mark runs “Groovy Drums Studio” where he records drum tracks for many artists around the world. To date he has played on over 285 recordings.
Aside from playing many TV and radio jingles and movie soundtracks Mark has also been featured in “Drums, ETC “, “Canadian Musician ” and “Modern Drummer” magazines. Mark has also been a featured clinician/performer at the Montreal Drumfest, IAJE, Musicfest, KOSA, the Percussive Arts Society, Regina Drum Festival, The Whack Bam Thudd festival and the Cape Breton Drum Festival.
Mark endorses and is a featured clinician for Yamaha Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Evans drumheads, Headhunters drumsticks and Plunge Audio in-ear monitors. More info can be found at Mark’s web site at www.groovydrums.com
Rich Brown (bass)
Rich Brown is one of North America’s premier bass players and is one of the most in-demand players in Canada. As someone with a unique voice on the instrument, Rich has been an active member of Toronto’s culturally diverse music scene since 1992. He taught himself to play bass at the age of 17 by listening to artists such as Jaco Pastorius, Victor Bailey, Jimmy Haslip, and Alain Caron. Later on, he expanded his vocabulary by drawing upon influences outside the bass realm. Rich currently leads his own original modern jazz group called RB & the Abeng. Rich has performed/recorded with some of the finest and musically diverse musicians in the world such as Carol Welsman, Jane Siberry, Glenn Lewis, Dapp Theory, Steve Coleman & 5 Elements, James “Blood” Ulmer, Vernon Reid, Andy Narell, Kim Mitchell, David Clayton Thomas, Bruce Cockburn, and Hermeto Pascoal, to name a few. Rich has appeared on over 40 recordings ranging from Jazz to Funk to Latin to traditional Asian and Arabic music. Rich brings an amazing combination of groove and melody to the Jazz Exiles.
Robi Botos (keyboards)
Robi Botos is a Hungarian-Canadian jazz pianist. He has recorded several albums as a leader and was the winner of the TD Grand Jazz Award at the 2012 Montreal International Jazz Festival. He was born in Nyíregyháza, Hungary to a Roma family, and grew up in Budapest. His first instrument was drums, and at age seven he began playing piano. In 1998 Botos immigrated to Canada and has been a prominent member of the Toronto jazz scene ever since. Equally adept in the Jazz and Funk forums, Botos has played with international artists such as Michael Brecker, Pat LaBarbera, Al Jarreau and Dave Young among others. As well as winning the TD Award in 2012 he also won the Montreux Jazz Festival piano competition in 2004. Botos has recorded several albums as a leader and has been an integral sideman on numerous other recordings. Additionally, Robi composed the music to the 2011 documentary A People Uncounted. He is currently on faculty at Humber College in Toronto. Robi brings a soulful and exiting keyboard style to the Jazz Exiles.
Luis Deniz (alto sax)
Alto saxophonist Luis Deniz originally hails from Camaguey, Cuba but has made Toronto, Canada his home for many years now. He was the winner of the Grand Prix De Jazz at the Montreal Jazz festival as well as the Galaxie rising star at the Halifax Jazz festival. Luis has been involved with Grammy Award nominees and Juno winning recordings. Deniz has performed/recorded with some of the worlds most outstanding musicians including Mark Turner, Tony Allen, Hilario Duran, Paquito D’Rivera, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Dafnis Prieto, Rinsethealgorhythm, NOJO, Roberto Occhipinti, and Jane Bunnett. He has also shared the stage with artists such as Barry Harris, Howard Johnson, Steve Turre, Randy Brecker and Hermeto Pascoal. One of the highlights of Luis’ career has been being a faculty member at Toronto’s prestigious Humber College. Luis brings his firey style of playing to the Jazz Exiles.
Joey Martel (guitars/talkbox)
As the youngest member of the band, guitarist Joey Martel brings his youthful energy and explosive playing style to the Jazz Exiles. Currently a student at Humber College, where Joey met Mark Kelso in his 14-pc Funk ensemble, the Groove Merchants. This in turn then led to Joey’s involvement in the Jazz Exiles. Martel hails from Oshawa, Ontario when he honed his playing style after listening to numerous Jazz, Pop and Metal players.