Lead single, ‘Took Hold,’ releases today
Melding jazz, pop and classical styles, Juno and Dove awards-nominated Mike Janzen is set to independently release his third album of Psalm interpretations, “Songs from the Canyon,” on Nov. 1, with distribution via Wings Access. The album features Janzen musically painting vivid, powerful textures as he explores creation’s awe-inspiring landscapes as well as the deep, plunging canyons of life’s suffering.
Produced by award-winning Timothy Abraham, the album has a profound sonic diversity, resonating from soaring strings to a belting gospel choir. Rich cinematic textures grace these 11 innovative compositions that feature guest performances by Chicago-based Stellar and Grammy Award-winner Dee Wilson and Indigenous Canadian artists Ray “Coco” Stevenson and Jonathan Maracle.
Inspired by his own suffering and the strength that he found in the words of Psalm 18:16, Janzen wrote the lead single from “Songs from the Canyon,” “Took Hold,” which releases today at digital and streaming outlets everywhere via https://wingsmusic.lnk.to/TookHoldPsalm18.
“In 2016, I suffered a debilitating concussion that left me unable to work for years,” Janzen said. “I couldn’t walk straight, listen to music, have conversations with my wife or take care of my kids. It was a very difficult season and, without other’s help, my family and I would have been swept away.
“We often think of the dark valleys of life as places where God feels distant, but in this season of suffering, I found that the Good Shepherd was closer than ever. … Instead of being swept away, I was lifted out of darkness into light. My head still was a mess at times (and there were many tears over the course of my long recovery) but, in the deepest place of my soul, I was secure.”
Along with the single, Janzen released the CCM Magazine-premiered “Took Hold” live music video featuring the Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir and a soulful rhythm section. Filmed by Mitch Fillion at All Saints Kingsway, the video is below.
A gifted jazz pianist, composer and arranger, Janzen has toured across North America, performing in concert halls, churches and at festivals while combining his undeniable talent with a desire to create music that draws attention to the Maker.
More About Mike Janzen
Janzen has a diverse music portfolio that includes a variety of original and commissioned compositions: music for television (GLOBAL News 2021), choir (True Christian Faith 2023), and film (Jason Hildebrand’s Microfilms 2022; CBC’s documentary “Pure Intentions”). His orchestral arranging skills are showcased in numerous collaborations: with Steve Bell (Winnipeg Symphony, Toronto Symphony and the Nashville String Machine); the CBC-commissioned piece “Bending Hendrix”; and an entire orchestral show, “Reimagining Broadway,” with singer Sarah Slean. First debuting in Winnipeg in 2014, “Reimagining Broadway” has been performed across the country and is now slated for April 2024 performances with the Orchestre Symphonique in Quebec City.
In addition to the double-album release “The Psalms Project” (2021/independent), Janzen has recently released neoclassical solo piano compositions (under Michael Janzen) as well as a few singles, “Breaking Through” (2021) and “The Great Congregation” (2022; feat. Nashville-based Abbie Parker). Since 2006, he has headlined a jazz trio that features bassist George Koller and drummers Davide Direnzo or Larnell Lewis. The Mike Janzen Trio’s 2010 album “Try to Remember” was hailed as “distinctive and sublime” by the Jazz Times. Janzen’s talents earned him a 2017 Juno Jazz Album of the Year nomination for his album “Nudging Forever” (2015) – original compositions blending lush orchestral sounds with the spontaneity of jazz.
Janzen currently lives in Toronto with his family where he dabbles in gardening, paddle boarding and tiny rink building.