About Petr Cancura

Born in Eastern Europe, brought up in the wilderness of the Great White North, and later thrusting into the urban Jungle of New York City, it is no surprise that Petr Cancura’s musical pallet is as wide as it is. A saxophonist with a vast knowledge of Jazz, Balkan, African and American folk traditions, Petr performs on banjo and mandolin as well as on the medium format black & white camera… all of which influences each other into a Roots Song & Improvising music machine with a visual sensibility.

Petr Cancura has performed with Grammy-nominated Danilo Perez, Grammy-nominated Julian Lage, Bob Moses, Joe Morris, Jacek Kochan, Kathleen Edwards, Kenny Wollesen, Joe Maneri, Cecil McBee and the Juno award-winning Mighty Popo. He is currently performing as part of the Ghost Train Orchestra, The Richie Barshay RB3, The Forro Brass Band amongst others. Petr’s source of expression is most focused on his blend of Americana roots music and jazz in his groups Big Sky and Down Home.

His latest release Another Way Home is a unique portrait of instrumental music: songs written as though for a singer/songwriter but the saxophone is the voice and the band takes a jazz approach. Recorded with a world class band including Kenny Wollesen (Tom Waits, John Zorn, Glen Hansard), Tony Scherr (Norah Jones, Snarky Puppy) and Rob Jost, this is arguably Petr's finest work to date.

The adventure continues with Petr Cancura’s position as the Programming Director of the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, crafting together a world class festival with hundreds of shows annually. You may also find Cancura in the classroom giving workshops all across the US and Canada.

What People Are Saying

"The saxophonist/banjoist's Down Home is three parts roots music, two parts jazz, one part blues,
mixed on a country porch, and, pardon the cliché, it cooks."
          Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

"the saxophonist takes jazz back to a rural place... It's as if the windows have been thrown open
to allow a deep breath of music to flow through the jazz house."
          Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

"From the nostalgic to the personal to the eternal, it’s the multiple layers of meaning on Down Home
that make it special and ring with resonance. Much more than a musical travelogue, the disc suggests
that home in fact is where Cancura’s heart is, and that we as listeners are very welcome to enjoy ourselves there."
          Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen

 "Incisive polyphony surrounds the leader’s gutbucket statements on the shambolic cut “Roasting”,
its gestures of stateliness and rollick a perfect followup..."
          Clifford Allen, The New York City Jazz Record