Curated by Daniel Wyche and Jessica Ackerley
During the past decade, Jessica Ackerley has established herself on the Canadian and American music scenes as a unique and versatile guitarist, composer and bandleader. Born in Alberta, Canada, Jessica now resides in New York City, where she has worked alongside notable musicians such as Tyshawn Sorey, Daniel Carter, Marc Edwards, Luke Stewart, Patrick Shiroishi, and Jason Nazary, to name a few. She has performed at established venues like John Zorn’s The Stone, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Blue Note, and has toured both as a bandleader and side musician throughout Canada and the United States. Her musical palette is diverse, split between highly refined compositional structure, free improvisation, and Black American Music, as well as noise soundscapes derived from experimental rock, as explored in her collaborative band, ESSi. In 2017 and 2019, Ackerley released her debut and sophomore albums as a bandleader – Coalesce and A New Kind of Water – to much acclaim, making critics’ year-end lists on Jazz Right Now, Avant Music News, Free Jazz Blog and Jazz Times Magazine. In 2019, she founded The Brink Guitar Festival, a four-day event featuring some of the most innovative players on the instrument such as Miles Okazaki, Elliott Sharp, Wendy Eisenberg, and Dan Lippel, among others. She has been commissioned by Adult Swim to compose and record a track for their 15-song Jazz compilation entitled New Jazz Century alongside other tracks by notable artists Matana Roberts, Anna Webber, and Jaimie Branch. As a recording artist, she has performed and released 11 albums as a side musician and bandleader to date. As an educator and mentor, she has lectured at Grant MacEwan University and University of Toronto, as well as guided many aspiring musicians in private study throughout the years. Jessica continuously expands her musical horizons with various projects, never setting boundaries or compromising her limits as a guitarist and artist.