A native of Winnipeg and now residing in Toronto, pianist Bernie Senensky has earned the reputation of being one of Canada's premier jazz artists. His playing and his music has been featured internationally in many great jazz festivals, and he is recognized and respected as one of the foremost jazz accompanists in the world.
Bernie began playing piano at the age of eight, and became interested in jazz when he was fourteen, at which time he studied with Winnipeg legend Bob Erlendson. He began sitting in with local groups, which included guitarist Lenny Breau and bassist Dave Young, eventually bringing his promising jazz talents to the jazz scene in Edmonton. Before long, he landed a job leading a house band with the Holiday Inn Hotel chain, which,with a stroke of fate, took him to Toronto in 1968. In the fertile jazz mecca of Toronto, he quickly established himself as an accompanist, playing for and with a great variety of visiting musicians.
Bernie has released eight albums since 1975, consisting almost entirely of his own compositions. Two of his albums have been nominated for Juno awards:
"Friday the 14th" received a Juno nomination for Best Jazz Album of 1989.
"Wheel Within A Wheel" received a Juno nomination for Best Jazz Album of 1993.
As well as being an accomplished pianist, composer, and arranger of jazz works, Bernie composed, arranged, conducted, and performed the musical score for the documentary film "The Vegetarian World", which has had world-wide distribution.
Influenced by the likes of Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock, his distinct style appeals to an international audience. He says, "My style, you could say, is an amalgamation of the legacies these artists have created".
Bernie has worked with many jazz greats. Among them are:
Barney Kessel, Ed Bickert, Lenny Breau, Larry Coryell, Herb Ellis, Tisziji Munoz, Peter Leitch, Sonny Greenwich, Bucky Pizzarelli & Joe Pass
Art Pepper, Norris Turney, Phil Woods, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, George Coleman, Bob Berg, Gary Bartz, Clifford Jordan, Chris Potter, Sonny Fortune, Lew Tabackin, Bobby Watson, James Moody, Charles McPherson, Craig Handy, Donald Harrison, Sonny Stitt, Scott Hamilton, Pepper Adams, Don Menza, Flip Phillips, Johnny Griffin, Nick Brignola, Frank Morgan, Dave Leibman & Junior Cook
Art Farmer, Eddie Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Blue Mitchell, Red Rodney, Jon Faddis, Sam Noto, Donald Byrd, Woody Shaw, Terence Blanchard, Jack Sheldon, Lew Soloff, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, Dizzy Reese, Ruby Braff, Kenny Wheeler, Clark Terry, Warren Vache, Bill Berry, Pete Candoli, Joe Newman & Chet Baker
Rob McConnell, Curtis Fuller, Slide Hampton, Britt Woodman, Al Grey & Bill Watrous
Terry Gibbs, Stefan Bauer, Don Thompson & Peter Appleyard. Flautists Herbie Mann & Moe Koffman
Joe Williams, Sheila Jordan, Ann-Marie Moss, Mark Murphy, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Abbey Lincoln, Salome Bey & Ernestine Anderson
Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Marty Morell, Jake Hanna, Jimmy Madison, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Terry Clarke, Billy Cobham, Akira Tana, Bob Moses, Jimmie Smith & Don Lamond
Keeter Betts, Lonnie Plaxico, David Williams, Ray Drummond, Harvie Swartz, Jack Lesberg, Eugene Wright, Don Pate, Cecil McBee, Michel Donato, Slam Stewart, Neil Swainson, Don Thompson, Todd Coolman & Major Holly
Piano Duets with:
Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland
Bernie has performed with the Elvin Jones Quartet, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, the Buddy DeFranco Quartet, the Terry Gibbs Quartet, the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra, the Boss Brass, the Moe Koffman Quintet, the Randy Brecker/Billy Cobham Quartet, the Herbie Mann/Al Grey All-Star Septet, and the Rufus Reid/Akira Tana group TANAREID.
He has recorded with Moe Koffman, Dizzy Gillespie, Eugene Amaro, Salome Bey, Herbie Spanier, Peter Appleyard, Tisziji Munoz, Gary Bartz, Akira Tana, Harvie Swartz, Ray Drummond, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Bobby Watson, Marty Morell, Fred Stone, Nick Brignola, Kenny Wheeler, Craig Handy, Ted Moses, Ed Bickert, Claude Ranger, Michel Donato, Dave Liebman, Bob Moses, Cecil McBee, Terry Clarke, Bob Mover, Sam Noto, Neil Swainson, Pat LaBarbera, Jerry Fuller, Guillerme Franco, Keiran Overs, Barry Elmes, John MacLeod, Don Alias, Eddie Henderson, Chris Potter and Dennis Irwin.
Bernie's compositions have been recorded by Buddy DeFranco, Re Rodney, Lynn McDonald, Moe Koffman, Ed Bickert, Eugene Amaro, Don Thompson, Becca Duran, Arlene Smith and Dick Berk.
Comments from other musicians about Bernie:
"One of the finest pianists I have worked with in my career" - Elvin Jones.
"The Best of the Best" - Buddy DeFranco.
"I could just sit and listen to him play all day" - Bill Evans.
"You have one of the best jazz piano players anywhere right here in your midst.." - Donald Harrison.
About his appearance at the Montreal Jazz Festival 1997:
"As gifted an accompanist as a soloist, Bernie Senensky has aquired an untouchable reputation among pianists the world over. Based in Toronto for almost thirty years, Senensky has quietly compiled a track record of nine albums and a long list of performances alongside jazz's biggest names, including Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams and Elvin Jones. If the great Bill Evans, who influenced so many among modern pianists, once said that "I could just sit and listen to him all day", then you know this is a show not to be missed."
"Aussi doue comme accompagnateur que comme soliste, Bernie Senensky
s'est acquis, parmi les pianistes de jazz, une reputation mondiale
jamais dementie. Base a Toronto depuis pres de trente ans, Senensky
cumule, mine de rien, neuf albums a son actif et de fort nombreuses
participations aupres des plus grands, notamment Dizzy Gillespie, Joe
Williams et Elvin Jones. Si le grand Bill Evans, qui a inspire tant de
pianistes modernes, disait de lui: & laquo; Je pourrais m'asseoir et
l'ecouter jouer toute la journee & raquo;c'est sans aucun doute un
spectacle a ne pas rater."
Phone/Fax: (416) 736-7484