At age 24 and a year after earning his music degree, Chris Molyneaux’s smooth sounds on sax are well known in his hometown.
He’s a fixture of the city music scene, playing regularly with a number of bands like Lit’l Chicago, and appearing at countless special events.
“I’ve played at the Imperial Theatre so many times it’s like a second home for me,” he says.
And now he’s ready to broaden his audience, release an album with his own jazz trio, and see where it takes them.
“Our intention is to go on the road,” he said. “It’s ambitious but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.”
The Chris Molyneaux Jazz Trio came together while he was studying at Humber College. He’s played sax with bass player Wesley Collett-Taylor from Peterborough and drummer Mark Athanasiadis from Markham for about two years.
They’ve performed at numerous bars and private events across southern Ontario, including several shows at The Refined Fool where they’ve built a fan base, as well as “upscale” events like a gig at Lambton College.
Molyneaux grew up in Sarnia and remembers the day he first heard Clarence Clemons (The Big Man) on the sax in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
“I was around 10-years-old and just about fell off my chair,” he said. That was it. He became a big John Coltrane and Charlie Parker fan, listening to his dad’s music and learning to play the sax while attending St. Clair Secondary.
Molyneaux also plays piano, the clarinet and flute. When not working at the family’s hardware store in Bright’s Grove he’s teaching piano, writing arrangements and pursuing gigs.
“Music is my priority,” he said.
The trio hopes to make an impression with the upcoming release of Closer to Home. All but one of the original six tracks were written and arranged by Molyneaux.
It’s very much a local product, he said. Closer to Home was recorded in September by The Grove Productions.
“They did a bang-up job of mixing it,” he said.
The album’s second track is called “Don’t Pity the Fool,” a song that pays homage to the Refined Fool.
“This album is jazz with elements of funk, hip hop and R & B,” he said. “It’s saxophone, bass, and drum setup.
“We’re interpreting the music and using a lot of creative flexibility but it’s more structured than when we do it live.”
The Chris Molyneaux Jazz Trio plays next on Nov. 16 at a house concert hosted by the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts.
The following night, Nov. 17, is the official release party for Closer to Home at The Refined Fool on London Road. It starts at 8 p.m.
Note that the Lawrence House concert series continues in the intimate setting of the Turret Room with singer/songwriter John Pilat on Nov. 23. See www.lawrencehouse.ca/house-concerts for a full listing.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: The Chris Molyneaux Jazz Trio, part of the Lawrence House concert series.
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 16. 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
WHERE: Lawrence House Centre for the Arts, 127 Christina St. South.
TICKETS: $10. Online or in person. Call 519-337-0507 or visit www.lawrencehouse.ca.