Mike Janzen

Mike Janzen

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Melding jazz, pop and classical styles, Mike Janzen brings an imaginative and fresh voice to the current music scene. From soul-stirring songwriting to mesmerizing piano solos, Mike’s music is approachable and hits the deep places of the heart.  The JUNO- and GMA-nominated musician has performed in concert halls, churches and festivals across North America, combining undeniable talent with a desire to create music that draws attention to the Maker.  

Music has informed and shaped Mike’s entire life. A gifted jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, his diverse career took a unique direction with the double-album release The Psalms Project (2021/Independent), a collection of Psalms-inspired sacred songs that emerged during his long period of recovery from a serious concussion injury. Described by GRAMMY-winning mixer John Bailey as “salve for the soul”, the music ebbs and flows with nuanced artistry, reverence and authenticity. Guest performances by some of this continent’s finest musicians (Steve Bell, Laila Biali, Erin Propp, Joey Landreth and Abbie Parker) lend enchanting musicality to the 19 thoughtfully crafted songs. Live audiences were enthralled by recent performances of The Psalms Project in both Toronto (Koerner Hall, 2022) and Winnipeg (Burton Cummings Theatre, 2023).

In Songs from the Canyon, Mike traverses new ground with his third album of Psalm interpretations (Nov. 2023/Independent). Vivid, powerful textures emerge as he explores creation’s awe-inspiring landscapes as well as the deep, plunging canyons of life’s suffering. Produced by the award-winning Timothy Abraham, the album has a profound sonic diversity, resonating from soaring strings to a belting gospel choir. Rich cinematic textures grace these 11 innovative compositions that feature guest performances by Chicago-based Dee Wilson and Indigenous artists Coco Stevenson and Jonathan Maracle. 

Mike’s diverse portfolio includes a variety of original and commissioned compositions: music for television (GLOBAL News 2021), choir (True Christian Faith 2023), and film (Jason Hildebrand’s Microfilms 2022; CBC’s documentary Pure Intentions). His orchestral arranging skills are showcased in numerous collaborations: with Steve Bell (Winnipeg Symphony, Toronto Symphony and the Nashville String Machine); the CBC-commissioned piece Bending Hendrix; and an entire orchestral show, Reimagining Broadway, with singer Sarah Slean. First debuting in Winnipeg in 2014, Reimagining Broadway has been performed across the country and is now slated for April 2024 performances with the Orchestre Symphonique in Quebec City.

Mike has recently released neoclassical solo piano compositions (under Michael Janzen) as well as a few singles Breaking Through (2021) and The Great Congregation (2022; feat. Nashville-based Abbie Parker). Since 2006, he has headlined a jazz trio that features bassist George Koller and drummers Davide Direnzo or Larnell Lewis. The Mike Janzen Trio’s 2010 album Try to Remember was hailed as “distinctive and sublime” by the Jazz Times. Mike’s talents earned him a 2017 JUNO Jazz Album of the Year nomination for his album Nudging Forever (2015)—original compositions blending lush orchestral sounds with the spontaneity of jazz.

Mike currently lives in Toronto with his family where he dabbles in gardening, paddle boarding, and tiny rink building. 

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