Denielle Bassels
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Denielle Bassels

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Jazz Indie




"Jazz In The City - Jazz FM 9.1"

"Denielle Bassels is a rising star in Toronto and considering how many new jazz vocalists there are in the city, that is not stinting praise!”" - Jazz FM 91.1 Jaymz Bee

"100.9 Canoe FM "Paddling beyond the Mainstream""

I have received and reviewed Denielle Bassels’ new CD release. It is brilliant!! I can hardly wait to share it with my listeners! She has an incredible voice, combined with a high calibre of musicianship incorporating fusions of gypsy jazz, folk, roots, blues and hints of other musical genres. The technical components of the recording compliments the abundance of talent on her CD. This is a real treat for us DJs, and the musical appreciating world, when these musical gems are discovered. - 100.9 Canoe FM - Kris Kadwell

"Merrickville's Jazz Fest Day 2: crowded with music"

by Alayne McGregor / 23 October 2014
Vocalist Denielle Bassels with clarinetist/saxophonist Jacob Gorzhaltsan, played a high-energy and swinging show Saturday evening, bringing a ballroom full of listeners to their feet for a standing ovation.

Probably the biggest surprise at this year's Merrickville's Jazz Fest was Toronto vocalist Denielle Bassels. She was an unknown quantity when she walked onto the stage of the Baldachin Ballroom on Saturday, October 18, but her charisma and her quintet's swinging music quickly grabbed the audience's attention.

Playing to a packed room, the quintet combined swing, jazz, gypsy jazz, and a touch of funk. They took jazz standards, songs made popular by Nina Simone and Edith Piaf, a movie theme, and a pop song, and then added originals by Bassels and guitarist Andy Mac. The jazzified result got several audience members dancing, and then everyone on their feet for a standing ovation, followed by an encore.

They opened with “Gypsy Summer”, the title track of their recently-released EP. You could immediately see this was going to be a high energy show, with Bassels' scatting soaring over Mac's fast Django Reinhardt-influenced guitar, and Jacob Gorzhaltsan's bright clarinet solos curlicuing over and under.

The first jazz singer Bassels heard and loved was Nina Simone. She included several Simone numbers in the show, including some lesser-known ones. “Forbidden Fruit”, the story of Eve and the apple, was introduced with a slinky groove on Gorzhaltsan's tenor sax and Mac's guitar. Bassels sung it in a call-and-response gospel style, clearly dramatizing the story, accented by growls on tenor. The result was very catchy, and the audience responded with strong applause.

The better-known “My Baby Just Cares for Me” was given a punk/ska treatment (mostly evident in the guitar) and featured smooth tenor solos alternating with Bassels' expressive vocal phrasing.

The iconic French singer Edith Piaf is another of Bassels' favourites. She sung “Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler” with an excellent French accent and with a bit of a tease in her voice. She started “Je Cherche Un Homme” in English and then switched to French for a loving paean to a lover, featuring a resonant bass solo from Scott Hunter.

The British pop band The Kinks were known for their intelligent pop songs, particularly between 1966 and 1970, which often had music-hall and jazz undertones. Bassels is a big Kinks fan, and her cover of their 1966 hit, “Sunny Afternoon”, made the most of that song's ironic lyrics, underlined by rough-edged tenor and hard drumming by Joe Ryan. It was an inspired choice.

Given the quintet's style, it's no surprise they liked Benoît Charest's theme song from the animated film “The Triplets of Belleville”. They played a rousing version of “Belleville Rendezvous”, featuring a intense vibrating clarinet solo. Bassels sung the lyrics with a smile and ended the song with a long vocal fade – and then praised the dancing at the back of the room.

The group also presented several standards. “When I Get Low I Get High” (made famous by Ella Fitzgerald) was played with a very danceable feel. “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave to Me” (sung by Bing Crosby) unrolled at an almost frantic pace with a touch of the blues. “Comes Love” contrasted a smooth, silky vocal with punctuated and a bit down-and-dirty tenor.

Interspersed among those were several originals by Bassels, including the swinging “I'll Go Your Way”, and most notably the inspirational “Cool Cool Water”. She wrote the song after her older brother told her about the epic of Gilgamesh; its message was not to give up before reaching your goal. The drama in the lyrics was emphasized by bowed bass and accented guitar.

Andy Mac also contributed “Enchanted Gardens”, which showed his strong gypsy jazz influences, including Reinhardt successors like Bireli Lagrene and Adrien Moignard. He contrasted the guitar with equally intense and fluid clarinet solos by Gorzhaltsan.

The quintet closed with “I Wanna Be Like You” from the Disney movie of The Jungle Book – played as an in-your-face swing tune with scatting. With the audience clapping along already, the standing ovation immediately afterwards was no surprise.

Their encore was a final Nina Simone song, “Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter”, which Bassels said was originally written for Ike and Tina Turner. The group went all out on the song, getting seriously funky and grooving, and clearly having a great time.

Bassels has a winning combination here: a strong, clear voice and excellent enunciation and great stage presence, along with a tight rhythm section, forceful gypsy-jazz-influenced guitar, and expressive clarinet and tenor sax. She put on a winning, upbeat show in Merrickville. Several listeners told me afterwards that they'd love to hear her again in Ottawa.

All photos ©Brett Delmage, 2014 - Ottawa Jazz Scene


"What About Wool Wishbags" Track Listing:

1. I'll Go Your Way (D. Bassels) 2:29

2. Dreamer (D. Bassels) 3:37

3. What About Wool Wishbags (D. Bassels/M.
Mathieson) 4:15

4. Cool Cool Water (D. Bassels) 3:12

5. So Nice To Talk To (D. Bassels/M.Mathieson) 2:27

6. Boy Adventure (D. Bassels) 2:40

7. And Nothing Else (D. Bassels/M. Mathieson) 3:22

8. Spiders Kiss (D. Bassels/Mike Mathieson) 2:50

9. Little Boats (D. Bassels/M.Mathieson) 4:10

10. Silly Lion (D. Bassels/M.Mathieson) 2:39

11. We Smile (D. Bassels) 1:20



BIO: Denielle Bassels, international chanteuse, based in Toronto, is an award-winning songwriter and performer.  “She will stop you in your tracks” – Juliet Dunn, Artistic Director/ Founder of the Twilight Jazz Festival. 

Her original music and arrangements tell stories with whimsy and purpose, and draw inspiration from early 1920's through to modern day. She seamlessly connects the familiar characters of swing, blues, and folk in a way that's fresh and exciting. 

On February 8 2017, Denielle released her anticipated full length original album What About Wool Wishbags  garnering rave reviews from radio Dj's and jazz bloggers from across the globe .

"-it is brilliant! - a rare treat for us DJ’s"- Kris Kadwell, Canoe FM 100.9 in Toronto. 

Denielle got her start as a musician after a series of serendipitous events took her to Lausanne, Switzerland as an Au Pair (fancy word for overseas nanny). The little boy she looked after incidentally took drum lessons at the prestigious jazz school Ejma and it was there Denielle met the people that would introduce her to Europe's jazz scene and would inspire her to write and perform her own works.

"The jazz musicians I played with would pretty much hijack a bar by plugging in their equipment and setting up with no prior booking.  If the patrons liked the music, the musicians could stay and pass the hat,- we always stayed.", says Denielle.

Upon returning to Canada, Denielle enrolled in Humber College's Bachelor of Music program where she met her current band; Andy Mac, guitarist, Scott Hunter bass, Joe Ryan, drums and Jacob Gorzhaltsan, clarinet and tenor sax player, who really helped solidify Denielle’s signature sound.  Together this quintet’s talent and chemistry will "get you off your feet" - Peter O'Shea, Music Director, TD Niagara Jazz Festival.

Denielle's star is on the rise, recently headlining the TD Niagara Jazz Festival, in Niagara on the Lake, ON.  She can be seen entertaining audiences in venues all over the GTA including Hugh's Room,  Lula Lounge, Revival, Cameron House, Poetry Jazz Cafe and countless others.  Denielle's original songs have garnered 4 wins in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition for Jazz, including Grand Prize in the Jazz Category for  “Cool Cool Water", earning Denielle funds toward 
her full length original album "What About Wool Wishbags" also generously funded by the Toronto Arts Council and Canada Council For The Arts.

Denielle is currently working on her 2nd full length album funded by Toronto Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council entitled "Poppies in Bloom" scheduled for release in early 2019.

Band Members