Christopher Cargnello is a versatile composer/songwriter, as well as an esteemed musician in Montreal. He obtained a master’s degree in jazz performance from McGill University in 2009, where he studied 7-string guitar under his mentor Jon Gearey, composed for the school’s symphony orchestra, and attended masterclasses with renowned jazz artists Kurt Rosenwinkel, Joe Lovano, Ben Monder, and Slide Hampton.
In recent years, Cargnello has been performing with Juno nominated folk-jazz singer Coral Egan, Haitian world-music artist Vox Sambou and soul songstress Sarah MK. He has toured across Canada, United States, Brazil, Cuba, West Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, sharing stages with acts as diverse as David Byrne, Alpha Blondy, Blue Rodeo, Talib Kweli, Arcade Fire, Saul Williams, Tania Maria, Afro Cuban All Stars, Blind Boys of Alabama, and Elza Soares. Cargnello’s intuitive grasp of many musical styles is evident from his past performances: He has worked with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Charles Dutoit), reggae legend Ken Boothe, keyboardist Roger O’Donnell from the iconic British rock group The Cure, acclaimed Canadian jazz pianist & vocalist Laila Biali, New York salsa-soul singer Joe Bataan, and the Paris-based steelpan virtuoso Andy Narell.
As a composer, Cargnello has written the theme song and featured music for the TV show “The Street Speaks” (MaTV), and provided much of the soundtrack for the feature documentary “Clay vs. Clay” (Redhead Productions, broadcast on CBC television). He has written with artists such as Lee Oskar (founder of the American funk band War), KRS-One, Andrius Mamontovas (Lithuanian rock icon), James Di Salvio (Bran Van 3000), Chris Velan (producer for Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars), and continues to build his catalogue as a member of the production duo Skinny Bros with his brother Paul Cargnello, having released seven albums since their inception in 2012. Their second single (“My Baby Go Fait Dodo”) from the 2016 album “Party Gras” remained in Quebec’s Top 100 charts for 11 weeks. Their music has been featured on various television and online media, including CBC, Discovery UK, Investigation Discovery, Télé-Québec, and Canal D.
Most recently, Cargnello’s songwriting has been highly sought in many different genres: He is a co-writer, arranger, and performer on Jasmine Bleile’s upcoming album, which features collaborations with Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Ana McGarrigle, and Murray Lightburn from The Deers. He co-wrote and performed guitar on the funk-boogie song “This Time” featuring Illa J (brother of hip hop producer J Dilla) which is being released on the NYC label Bastard Jazz Recordings. And one of his compositions is featured on the NYC jazz-pop singer Lisa Gary’s upcoming album “Goin’ Your Way” which was produced by Rob Mounsey (producer/arranger for Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Aaron Neville, Madonna).
Whether on stage, in the studio, or behind the pen, Cargnello is a reliably hard-working artist with an unmistakable passion and drive for music.
© 2017 Christopher Cargnello