It's almost a cliché - years of paying dues to become an overnight success - but that's what happened with Time Warp, the Toronto based jazz quartet of Barry Elmes (drums), Al Henderson (bass), Kelly Jefferson (tenor & soprano sax) and Kevin Turcotte (trumpet & flugelhorn). Formed in 1980 by co-leaders Elmes and Henderson as a vehicle for writing and performing original music, the band became an 'underground' hit, releasing five recordings between 1982 and 1992 (garnering three Juno nominations), and led the way for many other Canadian jazz groups. Time Warp forged a unique style and original repertoire, drawing on musical and cultural influences from around the world, long before the term "world music" was widely known. Today, while still firmly rooted in the long tradition of improvised jazz music, the band's vast repertoire has grown to include original compositions influenced by the rhythms and harmonic structures of West African music, Japanese koto music, Hungarian folk songs, North American urban funk rhythms, New Orleans parade music, country waltzes, and more.
In recent years, more and more people have been taking notice of Time Warp's distinctive creative musical approach and energy. Media coverage has expanded dramatically. Time Warp has found its way into the pages of McLean's and The Village Voice, onto CBC radio's Morningside, and various television appearances including a special television concert for BRAVO.
The buzz began with the release of Time Warp's 4th recording There and Back (Cornerstone CD101), the first CD venture for the new independent Canadian label Cornerstone Records Inc. Recorded shortly after the group returned from performing at the Venezuelan International Jazz Festival, this recording featured songs influenced by that South American trip plus the large work "Ellingtonia", for which Al Henderson received the 1995 SOCAN Award for Original Jazz Composition. The enthusiastic response to this project led to Time Warp's first coast-to-coast Canadian tour in 1994. The following year, a double-CD package The Time Warp Collection (Cornerstone CD105-2) led to a larger 18-city Canadian tour in January/February 1996. In recognition of these successes, Time Warp received the 1996 Jazz Report Award for Acoustic Jazz Group of the Year, and later won again in 1998 for an unprecedented fourth time! The next recording Time Warp Plays the Music of Duke Ellington was a special project to commemorate both the Ellington Centenary and Time Warp's 20th anniversary.
Time Warps new CD release Warp IX (Cornerstone CD119) has just received the Canadian Music Week Indie Award for Best Jazz Recording of 2002.
Drummer, composer Barry Elmes has been a mainstay of the Canadian jazz scene since forming Time Warp with Al Henderson in 1980. He was twice awarded "Musician of the Year" by the Jazz Report. His discography includes 12 releases as leader, plus over 50 as performer. Barry has toured extensively with Time Warp, D.E.W. East, and his own award winning Barry Elmes Quintet (2002 National Jazz Award for Acoustic Group of the Year). He has performed internationally with other prominent jazz figures including Moe Koffman, Dizzy Gillespie, Don Thompson, and others. Barry was featured with the Oliver Jones Trio on the 1994 Governor-General's Tour of China, Japan and Korea. In 1996, he performed in Brazil and toured South Africa with the Canadian Jazz Giants. In 2000, his own quintet toured Chile. He has performed or recorded with Charlie Haden, Diana Krall, Tommy Flanagan, John Abercrombie, Joe Henderson, Ray Bryant to name only a few. Barry is is currently Chair of the Department of Muisc at York University.
Bassist/composer Al Henderson has been a significant contributor to the Canadian jazz scene since the early 1980's. As a composer, Alan is responsible for a large portion of Time Warp's repertoire and has had several compositions recorded by other groups, including Jane Bunnett, Don Pullen, Alex Dean and others. In 1995 he was voted the Jazz Report Composer of the Year, and his suite "Ellingtonia" won the Socan Award for Best Original Jazz Composition. As a performer Al has played bass with several Canadian and international artists including Arnett Cobb, James Moody, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Jimmy Knepper, Flip Phillips, Slim Gaillard, Sonny Fortune, Jane Bunnett, Dewey Redman and many others. In addition to co-leading Time Warp, Al has led his own quintet since 1994, released two highly acclaimed recordings and toured Canada. Al is on faculty at York University teaching jazz theory and workshop.
Kelly Jefferson has emerged as one of Canada's foremost jazz saxophonists. Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Kelly has a Bachelor of Music from McGill University and a Masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He has performed, recorded and/or toured with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson, Maria Schneider, Ray Anderson, Clark Terry, Michel Legrand, Nicholas Payton, Brian Blade, Ray Brown, Sonny Fortune, and Dee Dee Bridgewater, among others. Kelly also co-leads the Jefferson-Grant Quintet, winner of the 1999 Opus Award for Jazz Album of the Year. Kelly presently resides in Toronto, where he is on faculty at York Univeristy.
Kevin Turcotte has become Canada's most sought after performer on both trumpet and flugelhorn since his recording debut with Time Warp in 1990. He won the Jazz Report Trumpeter of the Year for eight consecutive years (1993-2000) and in 2002 was voted the first winner of Trumpeter of the Year at the National Jazz Awards. Kevin's distinctive playing can be heard on more than sixty recordings. His versatility has enabled him to participate in everything from Saul Rubinek film scores to Canadian Stage Company productions. In addition to his long-standing role in Time Warp, Kevin is a regular member of the Barry Elmes Quintet, Rob McConnell's Boss Brass, Hemispheres, the Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra, Andrew Downing's "Great Uncles of the Revolution" and many others. Kevin is also on faculty in the Music Dept. at York University.