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Judge for Jamie Ruben's Groove O Ly O Scene

Toronto, Canada
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Portrait of Jamie Ruben's Groove O Ly O Scene
Born into the lack of turbulence of the Toronto suburbs in 1980, Jamie’s life as an imaginative daydreamer, artist, creative voice and, eventually, an adventurous musician, composer and journeyman began. From the start, Jamie’s approach to music was tirelessly eclectic and his approach to life was daring and unconventional. While having not yet achieved wide recognition on his home continent of North America, Jamie made a living for 7 years performing jazz full time around the Far East in places as remote as Kathmandu and Siem Reap, as well as Bangkok, Shanghai, Koh Samui and many more.

Recently, Jamie returned to Canada to fully realize a body of work that he had assiduously composed and arranged over the past few years abroad. Armed with a folder of compositions, a couple of guitars and a Fender Twin Reverb amp, Jamie had made it his mission to find his place on Canada’s music scene. After a few short months, he had begun performing around Toronto and recorded an album of his works with several of Canada’s finest musicians, such as Steve Zsirai on Bass (David Usher, Jill Barber, Royal Wood, Shakura S’aida and many more),William Sperandei on Trumpet (Michael Kaeshammer, Harry Connick Jr., Colin James, Brandi Disterheft, many more), Dafydd Hughes on Keys (Feist, Esthero, Julie Crochetiere, Jacksoul, James McCollum, Christine Bougie, many more) and Ryan Granville-Martin on drums (Martin Tieli, Nick “Brownman” Ali, Mia Sheard, Ron Sexsmith, many more).

Jamie’s music draws from a wide array of influences. From Mingus and Myles to the likes of Bjork, Medeski Martin and Wood, Coldplay and Alicia Keys, Jamie takes in an array of modern and old music, and uses a range of ideas, to develop an eclectic style that is distinctive, touching and grooves hard. He also attempts to achieve an element in his music that is organic and unique and would be difficult to trace back to other artists. Jamie digs deep as a composer and trusts his instincts.

Jamie’s travels as a performer began in 2002. He had formed an eclectic trio with top young players of the day, Steve Zsirai and Kevin Brow (both of whom have reached great heights as musicians in recent years). They had the chance to perform around Ontario, do a number of great gigs at Toronto venues and received enough interest from European promoters to go there for a tour through the UK, Holland and Belgium.
Jamie’s unconventional approach to composition and improvisation was echoed by an unconventional approach to life, as in 2003 he left his country to pursue music and adventure in the Far East. His journey began with a long residency at a renowned club in the northern hills of rural Thailand called “The Bebop.”Surrounded in every direction by over a hundred kilometers of farms, hills and rice fields, this town and club were an oasis of Western hippy culture. Every night a variety of the highest caliber Thai musicians, along with Westerners, would perform Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Funk and R & B for enthusiastic and diverse audiences. A couple of months quickly turned into two years as Jamie gained experience in a range of styles while practicing, learning, composing and taking in local culture in what was a fascinating and extremely fun period in his life.

Jamie soon moved to the Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai where he focused on Jazz and spent a year freelancing with a range of top Thai Jazz musicians. Opportunities soon began to arise for Jamie to do lucrative contracts performing duets with bassists and saxophone players at some of the highest level luxury hotels in Asia. Jamie also performed as a solo guitarist, forging a style that meshed Joe Pass/Lenny Breau solo guitar style concepts with more modern ideas and material. Jamie was in high demand for top level functions, performing for members of the Thai Royal Family, as well as Asian and Western Ambassadors and Captains of industry. As Jamie did this he also began building his reputation as a guitarist/composer by touring the continent’s clubs and festivals with his own bands, performing original material and working with several of Thailand’s top musicians.

This period culminated with Jamie spending more than a year based in Bangkok while embracing the opportunity to travel around the continent performing in Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Cambodia, and more. He also performed live and in studios around Bangkok as he became one of the most in demand guitarists in the region.

Over the next couple of years Jamie plans to continue the newest phase of his adventure as a touring musician based in Canada. Previews of his album have already been met with interest and praise. Plans are in the works for touring with his band and solo.