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“Probably the best stuff Wakeman never did! Touches all kinds of genres symphonically speaking!”
Gagliarchives Radio, Philadelphia

“simply a genius!”
The Haifa Morning Newspaper

“you listen, even after you listened, it stays with you! Now that’s quality!”
Peter Yelland

“a fantastic voyage through time and space of music”
Val Moreno

“He hits the market with an original style laying down track upon track, fills the mind with moods and images. A recommend purchase”
Gerald Berish

“a lover of the first rate start”
Mihai Hristu

“The best stuff I can imagine!”
Mark Alexander

“A much traveled musical journey man, who along the way has learnt the art of playing and composing music…”
Acid Attack Music, UK

“crafty and smart, may be the future in music!”
Dragos Coman

“sets the standards for the new music!”
Eileen Andrews

“Sometimes virtuosity can be a quality”
Heather Jean

“marvelous arrangements”
Florin Zamirescu

“Around the universe and back home!”
Jackie Carl

“I really enjoyed listening to this. The music on it is very lovely and enjoyable although some songs are aggressive and strong. It is also very original.
Alanah Ireland

“If you like progressive music, ambient, jazz, rock fusion, and world music, all successfully brought together,
definitely this one will make you happy. It is a fantastic journey around the planet, a combination of different musical motives,
original and vivid, with a touch of virtuoso bravery. The guy must be crazy about keyboards as long as he has here a very interesting display of sounds and textures, as well as compositions skills. It is definitely a must if you enjoy interesting and challenging music,
I would say, beautifully and full of energy at the same time!”
Al the Pal

“On The Beat – Gia Jazz”                  By Kerry Doole

GIA AND THE UNPREDICTABLE UPDATE: Anatomical Signatures, the new CD from local keyboard virtuoso/composer GIA IONESCO and his ace eight-piece band The Unpredictable Update, was launched with a superb performance at Hugh’s Room recently. Would have been nice to see a larger audience, but those present clearly enjoyed the high level of performance and the quality of Ionesco’s compositions. These often have a cinematic feel, and they incorporate influences ranging from classical to jazz-rock fusion and Latin. His group includes some of the best jazz players in Canada,
with the three-man horn section of PAT LABARBERA, JOHNNY JOHNSON, and CLIFFORD OJALA anchoring many of the tunes. The individual players were all given room to move musically, but their soloing was never excessive. It was fun to see the normally restrained guitar ace REG SCHWAGER let loose somewhat too. Ionesco was surrounded by a bank of keyboards, switching from piano to synthesizers with ease, and playing with great finesse. Let’s hope this superb musical collective get to play some of the summer festivals coming up.


The musically unpredictable Gia Ionesco

Local keyboard virtuoso releases two new CD’s          By Kerry Doole

Gia Ionesco is on quite the creative roll. He is simultaneously releasing two CDs, one a double album, and all of original material. The Richmond Hill-based Ionesco is a keyboard virtuoso, composer, bandleader, and music educator, and these records confirm him as an artist of real talent and passion. There’s nothing predictable about his adventurous approach to music, and that’s reflected in the name of his group, Gia and the Unpredictable Update. His current key musical project, it takes two forms. As an octet, the ensemble features some of this country’s very best jazz players, and they bring their musical skills to Ionesco’s eclectic compositions in very effective fashion. That is showcased on the double CD, Anatomical Signatures. The star-studded octet lineup comprises Pat LaBarbera (saxes), Johnny Johnson (saxes), Levon Ichkhanian (guitar) Wilson Laurencin (drums), Allen Hetherington (assorted percussion) Pat Kilbride (bass) Clifford Ojala (saxes/clarinet), and Gia on keyboards.

Ionesco loves the interaction with fellow high-calibre players, and their attitude. “They saw I wanted to do something different and they put so much heart into it. They’re all fantastic musicians, and as human beings they make you better,” he told Tandem recently. He explains that the album title “comes from thinking about the way I write music. It is rather like the signatures of the mind, how you feel or think about certain things, plus the signatures of the rest of the band. I might bring three songs to rehearsals, but then players like Pat LaBarbera and Johnny Johnson have their own style. For the next rehearsal, I’ll come in with a song I know Pat will enjoy playing, as I’ll have listened to his records. As a group, we think of a starting point, a harmony or a sequence, and then we have a musical dialogue.”

Anatomical Signatures was recorded live at a 2011 concert at The Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. The disc takes the listener on quite the musical journey. For instance, here’s how Ionesco describes the sequence of songs on the second CD of Anatomical Signatures: “We start with a clear-symphonic jazz combination, a song called “PhenomenonMethod”, then go to atmospheric avant-garde, “Carpathians”, then a song in 5/4 called “Lenses For Magnifying Glass” (Lentile La Lupe) that is totally symphonic. We then reprise the avant-garde, “Impregnata”, then go into very fast hard-bop where everybody improvises, “The Case Of Continuum”, then to more staple jazz-rock combined with an oriental feel, to slowing down on “Soon In The Afternoon” to finishing with straight rock played on saxophones, “Diplodocus”. Such diversity is Ionesco’s signature. He is equally inspired by Bela Bartok, Frank Zappa, John Coltrane, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Chick Corea and Pink Floyd, so his sound is impossible to pigeonhole. When pressed, Ionesco calls it “jazz meets symphonic meets rock meets balkanic meets world music. This all makes for a great cauldron.”

The other configuration of Gia and the Unpredictable Update is as a keyboards/bass/drums trio, comprising Ionesco and the flexible rhythm section of Kilbride and Laurencin. They shine on Son of Anatomical Signatures, a similarly diverse record that was recorded at Roncesvalles live music club Gate 403. Fittingly, the album release was celebrated with a trio show there recently. Few Canadian musician/composers are as well-schooled as Ionesco. Growing up in Bucharest, Romania, he began studying piano at age three. By ten, he was enthusiastic about jazz, blues and rock, and set his sights on a rock career. He quickly mastered electronic keyboards, and his high school group Pegasus played major jazz and rock festivals. His next group, Om, quickly gained national success, and collaborations with top Romanian jazz and rock musicians followed.

By the age of 18, Ionesco had received professional accreditation as a Piano Solo Virtuoso from the Romanian Ministry of Education. In 1990, he moved to Israel to study music at the famed Rubin Academy in Jerusalem, with famous composer and virtuoso Viaceslav Ganelin. He joined the popular fusion group Changes, performing at the major jazz festivals in Israel. Changes released three successful albums for the Jazzis label, giving Ionesco invaluable studio experience. In fact, Ionesco composed, arranged, performed, co-produced and engineered the material on those discs.

He put this experience to good use upon emigrating to Canada in 1992. After teaching at some of Toronto’s premier music schools, Ionesco started Gia’s Music School in Richmond Hill in 1999. It is still going strong now, and enjoys a sterling reputation. He continued to hone his compositional skills for a series of adventurous and acclaimed albums released under his own name. Now, as Gia and the Unpredictable Update, he’s poised to make a real impact. Anatomical Signatures and The Son of Anatomical Signatures are released via Gia and the Unpredictable Update perform at Hugh’s Room on March 6

Publication Date: 2012-02-19
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