Creator, singer and frontman Willis Pride met the group Half Nelson during a recording session in 2014. Ever since, the band has not stopped setting themselves apart by utilizing a complex technique derived from multiple influences.
Enamoured with his father’s vinyl collection, at an early age Willis decided to devote himself to jazz, later leave his native Outaouais to study in Montreal. Profoundly marked by Oscar Peterson’s work, the singer and band leader confounds a number of additional influences: The Beatles, Robert Glasper, D’Angelo and Roy Hargrove creep their way into the band’s compositions.
But, the Concordia University graduates are mostly marked by the tradition of jazz improvisation and their work retains the sonic footprints of Marvin Gay and Stevie Wonder. After all is said and done, 100 years of style and influence condense into one project: Willis Pride & Half Nelson.
Winner of the Montreal Jazz Festival Award, Willis Pride has already played the Montreal International Jazz Festival, as have the other group members. Already present on the Montreal scene for almost five years, 2015 will be a hallmark year for the band, which plans to release their debut EP this fall.