Alto saxophonist Brodie West's fascination in sound has taken him from Alexandra Park to Addis Ababa. As a bandleader and collaborator he is a key member of Toronto's vibrant creative music scene. Leader of avant-calypso unit Eucalyptus as well as his eponymous quintet, West also regularly performs with the The Ryan Driver Sextet, the Lina Allemano 4, a duo called Ways and an ongoing collaboration with Andrew Zukerman/Fleshtone Aura. Brodie's music has been released by some of Toronto's most celebrated labels, including Healing Power, Pleasence, Blocks Recording Club and Rat-Drifting, while his European connections have put him in the company of legendary art-punks The Ex as well as the late Getatchew Mekuria, the revered veteran of the Ethiopian saxophone.
Originally hailing from Nanaimo, British Columbia, jazz studies at Humber College brought Brodie to Toronto. Emerging as a member of Zebradonk, Deep Dark United and Drumheller, he was soon in demand as a featured guest, adding his spirit to recordings ranging from Broken Social Scene's seminal You Forgot It in People to more recent appearances with Jennifer Castle, Snowblink and Tasseomancy. Studies at the Amsterdam Music Conservatory with Misha Mengelberg lead to musical encounters with percussionist Han Bennink as well as The Ex, culminating in two tours to Ethiopia and the group's collaborative recordings with Getatchew Mekuria.
West's current artistic practice sees him inspired by the radiant joy of being a father as well as frequent improvised gigs with a wide range of musicians. As a composer working with some of Toronto's leading creative musicians (including Nicole Rampersaud, Ryan Driver, Mike Smith, Nick Fraser, Tania Gill and Evan Cartwright) he is always leading new melodic excursions while his ensembles, often featuring two or even three percussionists, are also exploring fresh rhythmic terrain.
- Joe Strutt, Mechanical Forest Sound
“West’s sax playing can be muted or bold, while his own compositions burn in coloured hues like a neon light.”
— Laura Stanley Toronto musicians to watch in 2018: composer edition in NOW Magazine, January 2018.
“... pressing from sustained shakuhachi-like cries to higher pitches that first turn to trills, then to multiphonics. It’s as impassioned as music gets.”
— Stuart Broomer on West's Alexandra Park in Whole Note Magazine, February 2017.