players Ali Berkok - piano, Mark Laver - sax, Gord Mowat - bass, Jake Oelrichs - drums, Tom Richards - trombone
Arkana Music is noted for its creative risk taking and virtuosity. Russ Cooper of Panpot.ca described their debut album, Hyprovisation as "a truly gorgeous discovery packed with remarkable musicianship," and John Book of da bookman's blog said "these guys know how to play with the kind of tenacity which comes from not only knowing your instrument, but knowing how to play music."
Arkana Music is a Toronto based modern jazz quintet focused on improvisation and creative music. All compositions are by Ali Berkok and each piece is written in order to create a different environment, without relying on existing jazz vehicles and devices.
Since its inception, Arkana has performed in many of Toronto's established venues such as the Rex Hotel, Cameron House, Tranzac and the Trane Studio, and newer clubs like the Central and Concord Cafe. Arkana has received airplay on international radio and podcasts, reaching as high as #1 on Calgary's CJSW jazz chart. As well, the band was recently featured as the soundtrack to Deartoronto.com coverage of Toronto's "Nights of Fire" event.
The beginnings of the band date back to collaborations between Ali and saxophonist Mark Laver, which took place at the Banff Centre For The Arts in 2005. Here, Ali and Mark were introduced to a world of techniques outside of the mainstream. Shortly thereafter, while working in Hong Kong, Ali started working on the initial pieces for the band. Arkana Music first appeared in May 2006 at the Concord Cafe in Toronto.