Cootes Paradise is a collective of six musicians who chose to play together based not only on their talents, but who they are as people. The business of music can be a cold and punishing enterprise, so forming a group comprising of kind, enthusiastic, collaborative individuals was the goal that founding member Lily Sazz had in mind when she began to recruit the musicians. The hope was that if these gifted individuals gelled personally, great music would follow. And she was right.
Cootes Paradise specializes in roots based music that is bluesy, funky, and filled with soul. Featuring lead vocals by the legendary Sue Leonard (k.d. lang, Bruce Willis, Bon Jovi), and Wayne Krawchuk (Sidestreet, Tight Little Island) supported by Mark Volkov (a triple threat, playing flute, sax, and violin), Lily Sazz (keyboards, vocals), Amy Di Nino (drums, vocals), and Ian Taylor (bass, vocals), the result is an infectious, groove-based sound with a mix of super cool covers and originals that easily stand up to the rest of the repertoire.
“Cootes Paradise”, their self-titled CD and first release, hit the airwaves in November 2017, and has enjoyed impressive reviews, has been consistently charting on the Roots Music Report charts, and hit #1 and #2 at a few stations throughout N. America. The CD is a collection of 12 songs that reflects the diverse songwriting styles in the band, and collaborative arrangements that shine a light on the quality of the music.
The name Cootes Paradise comes from a local wildlife sanctuary, named after Captain Thomas Cootes. It was also the original name of the community that later became the town of Dundas, now part of Hamilton, Ontario, where the band is based. According to a brochure published by McMaster University, against which Cootes Paradise borders, “people have been drawn to Cootes Paradise for centuries. From AD 500 to 1000 this area was occupied by the Princess Point people, named after archaeological discoveries which indicated they were the first to bring agriculture to the region.”