Over nearly three decades, François Bourassa has built many musical mansions. As pianist, composer and bandleader, he long ago became an international example of Canada’s contemporary jazz scene. Bourassa was born inMontreal on September 26, 1959. Initially inspired to play piano by hismother’s example, he put the instrument aside for five years in favor of the guitar. “I came back to the piano at 17 and started towrite tunes. Return to Forever was my transition point to jazz, afterwhich I discovered Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Coltrane and Miles.” Nowa committed if self-taught improviser, Bourassa studied composition at McGill, where he earned his college degree. Echo, from1996, gave amajor boost to Bourassa’s international profile. Initially billed as the François Bourassa Trio + André Leroux, their initial recording Cactus (1998) revealed a new power and emotional range that had blossomed by the time the JUNO award-winning Live was recorded at Toronto’s Top of the Senator in 2001. Recent years have seen Bourassa take on new challenges, including an occasional trio with saxophonist Jean Derome and percussionist Pierre Tanguay that has taken the pianist intomore unstructured realms; a New York City residency lasting sixmonths in 2005; and a growing list of commissions including, most recently, an orchestral concerto for vibes and marimba for Marie-Josée Simard. He is also a member of En Trois Couleurs trio along with percussionist Marie-Josée Simard and pianist Yves Léveillé.