Modasaurus at Options Jazz Lounge

Modasaurus at Options Jazz Lounge

Modasaurus is a dynamic jazz fusion quartet featuring James McGowan (piano), Alex Moxon (guitar), JP Lapensee (bass), and Jamie Holmes (drums). The members met and forged their musical relationship in the Carleton University Music program, Moxon, Lapensee, and Holmes are former students, while McGowan is a professor in the department. These versatile and talented musicians have come together to collaborate on and perform McGowan’s composition, which incorporate gospel, funk, third-stream, and global music influences.

Modasaurus will be a Options Jazz Lounge, in the Brookstreet Hotel, on August 19th and 20th playing jazzy tunes from 8pm to midnight both evenings.  There is no cover charge at Options (read: FREE!), and they have jazz nearly every night! Check out the line up here.


psst… there might even be special guests joining Modasaurus onstage, such as the likes of Mike Tremblay and Wayne Eagles!



From Modasaurus’ Bio:

The HML Trio formed in 2009 at Carleton University, where all three members attended the Carleton University Music program. They have been a working unit ever since, performing a unique blend of classic and modern jazz. Known especially for their versatility, they easily transition from playing restrained corporate engagements to playing big gigs with big bands on big stages. As a rhythm section, they notoriously perform as members of the Chocolate Hot Pockets, and have backed up many other acts including Canadian songstress Rebecca Noelle, the Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra, and Israeli reggae sensation Michael Greilsammer. They are comfortable in any musical situation. Since 2013 they have been the house band at the Brookstreet Hotel, where they host a jam session every Thursday evening.

James McGowan is a professor of music at Carleton University where he teaches music theory and composition, and was privileged to teach and learn from each member of the HML Trio. He is a passionate educator and has been recognized with four university-wide awards for his teaching. An active pianist, he is equally at home in many genres of music. Finding the hybrid space within jazz and contemporary improvisation, James has given performances in North America and Europe, and has performed with ensembles including the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, University of Toronto Jazz Ensemble A band (with Phil Nimmons) and James Madison University Jazz Ensemble, as well as locally with Jesse Stewart, Ian Tamblyn, Wayne Eagles, and Peter Woods. As an award-winning composer and arranger, he has composed in most genres including choral cantatas, orchestral music, chamber music, songs (singer-songwriter, jazz, and art songs), and compositions for jazz ensembles.


Below is an excerpt from a great interview with McGowan published in the Ottawa Citizen:

At many a university or college jazz program, professors and their top students get together on gigs and in recording studios. Think Jimmy Cobb, playing in the early 1990s with his New School charges Brad Mehldau and Peter Bernstein, or in Montreal a few years before that, trumpeter Kevin Dean bringing bassist Alec Walkington and drummer Dave Laing into his band while they were still at McGill University.

For whatever reason, there’s less of that dynamic in Ottawa. But the jazz-fusion group Modasaurus, which does its first full-length show at GigSpace on Saturday, comes pretty close. Formed by Carleton University music prof and keyboardist James McGowan, the group also includes Carleton grads Alex Moxon (guitar), JP Lapensee (bass) and Jamie Holmes (drums).

Below, McGowan shares the story behind Modasaurus, as well as what’s ahead for the distinctively named quartet.

How did Modasaurus come to be? Is this the maiden voyage performance for the band?

Modasaurus is a quartet that we formed a few months ago with a specific purpose in mind: to use a collaborative approach to adapt and perform compositions of mine with a contemporary, jazz-fusion sound.

As a faculty member at Carleton University who specializes in music theory, composition, and jazz studies, I teach and work with virtually every student in the Music program. I see wonderfully talented young people with a diverse range of interests and skill sets. Every so often, I come across incredibly talented musicians who inspire me and encourage me to step up my own game. Jamie Holmes, Alex Moxon, and JP Lapensee are some of those musicians.

While they were students, they created a stylistically versatile trio — HML Trio — which I supported as much as possible. Once they had graduated, we gradually fostered a closer post-university connection. I approached HML to see if they might be interested in performing some of my pieces with me. I was thrilled that they enthusiastically agreed. There were a few months of planning needed, even before our first rehearsal, and there were a myriad of details to get right before we could perform them. In developing the pieces, I was blown away by their musical imaginations, commitment to the project, and how well the quartet worked by adding me to the tight working trio of a rhythm section. Admittedly, they sound great in all of their many projects. We tried out some of the pieces at Brookstreet at a few of the Thursday night jam sessions, which HML Trio hosts. Read More >


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