Live in Concert
On the stage of the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Canada this past February, Biali was surrounded by a killer Jazz band; Phil Dwyer
on saxophones, George Koller
on bass, Larnell Lewis
on drums and Ben Wittman
on percussion. Biali led the charge with her deft fingers and inspired vocals. The audience also makes their debut, singing a two part choral intro to Biali's arrangement of Imogen Heap's "Let Go."
Beginning with a rumble, the album captures Biali's brooding arrangement of Joni Mitchell's Woodstock
, and rolls into a stunning new version of Ron Sexsmith's Secret Heart. A la poursuite des marées (Chasing Tides)
follows - a Biali original, written while on tour with Sting
in France. Perhaps the most surprising turn is the soaring arrangement of Leonard Cohen's Show Me The Place
, complete with glockenspiel, re-imagined as a simpler, more pop version of the new Cohen anthem. A longtime audience favourite makes the cut, with all players proving their musical agility on an edgy version of Bruce Cockburn's Stolen Land
. Cole Porter's Night and Day
has Biali solo on ukelele while jazz standard The Best Is Yet To Come
gets Biali back in her seat, paced at a breakneck speed. The live album spotlights the progression of her originals - instrumental Human Condition
and her Marc Jordan co-write Still The One
, and concludes with Nature Boy
(a 1940's hit for the great Nat King Cole), a sparkling vocal and bass version of I'll Never Smile Again
and the crowd pleasing One Note Samba
Tracing Light is an album that draws the listener into a deep and mysterious world of vocal beauty, superb musicianship, and shining intelligence."
- Robert Sadin, multi-Grammy award winning producer (Sting, Herbie Hancock)
"It could be argued that Biali's path — from growing up in North Vancouver to living life in the Big Apple — is encapsulated in her latest album.
Tracing Light sounds like an old nighttime black-and-white photograph, the tail lights of cars leaving sinuous imprints of their paths long after they have gone."
- Vancouver Sun
"The tunes on
Tracing Light range from sensitive treatments of jazz standards to funky piano workouts - but for all its stylistic range, Biali's latest is still accessible."
- Eye Magazine
"A tremendous album by a tremendous talent!"
- Leon Pendarvis, music director and keyboardist for Saturday Night Live Band
From Sea to Sky
"When an extraordinary talent delivers an exceptional recording, it is time for celebration and recognition. Such is the case with multi-talented Laila Biali - singer, pianist and arranger of a CD that is full of heart and joy."
5 out of 5 stars.
- Montreal Gazette
"This one's a surefire winner from pianist and now pianist-vocalist Biali, one of the very best of Canada's new crop of jazz artists."
4 out of 4 stars.
- Toronto Star
"Featuring all-Canadian songs, this screams 'Juno.' It even whispers 'Grammy.' Superb."
- Vancouver Province
Sting: A Winter's Night...Live from Durham Cathedral
In 2009, Laila was invited to join Sting as a singer for this special DVD project and its subsequent promotional tour. Rehearsals began at his Tuscan estate and ended at England's most famous cathedral. The double disc set features a majestic live performance which captures the mood and spirit of the season with a diverse collection of songs, carols and lullabies spanning the centuries, and a behind-the-scenes look at the concert's genesis.
Rose & the Nightingale: Spirit of the Garden
Rose & the Nightingale is four powerful New York based multi-instrumentalists and improvisers: Jody Redhage (voice, cello, compositions), Leala Cyr (voice, trumpet), Sara Caswell (violin, mandolin), & Laila Biali (voice, piano). The band’s warm sound - which features sublime and daring vocal harmonies, intricate arrangements, and burning solos - has proven to cut through to a deeper level of connection with audiences. The group's debut album Spirit of the Garden
blurs the boundaries of jazz, folk, world, and chamber music. The music is inspired by botanic gardens and paired with poetry that explores the nexus of spirituality and nature by living American poets from all over the country.