What is a Heillig Manoeuvre?

Heillig Manoeuvre is a Toronto-based quartet whose repertoire consists of original instrumental jazz. Bassist/bandleader Henry Heillig describes what they do as thoughtful fun.  

I write songs, with melody and elements of my own character. They become jazz in performance with my musical partners.
— Henry Heillig

Heillig is best known for his twenty+ years as musical director of Manteca, the nine-piece afro/latin/world-beat/calypso/jazz ensemble.

Manteca was a great ride, much like an ocean liner. Heillig Manoeuvre by comparison, is a sailboat that can change direction on a gust of spontaneity. Our performances have form, but also room for fresh ideas, and we push each other to be our very best. Audience reaction to our approach has been uniformly rewarding!
— Henry Heillig

The current version of Heillig Manoeuvre, together since 2011, has released their third CD, Thoughtful Fun. The band will be touring Western Canada in November, as well as performing at select venues around Ontario.


Henry Heillig- Bass

Bassist and composer, Henry Heillig, began his career as a singer-songwriter in Montreal. He learned stage craft in intimate coffee houses, and started playing bass accompanying his dad's favourite swing tunes in their living room. This combination leads directly to Heillig Manoeuvre's repertoire and performance style. 

Concurrent with his time leading Manteca, Heillig Heillig toured with Sharon, Lois and Bram as well as Eric Nagler, producing music for his children's television series. He has been a member of harmonica virtuoso Carlos del Junco's ensemble for almost twenty years. For the last ten years, he has been involved as musical director and producer for a project called The Journey, which puts vocal veterans such as Jackie Richardson and Alana Bridgewater together with young singers in Regent Park, chronicling the ongoing redevelopment of their neighbourhood. 

Alison Young- Saxophone

Ottawa-born Saxophonist Alison Young, was recently included in the CBC.ca feature "35 Best Canadian Jazz Artists Under 35". Alison has a musical personality that belies her youth. Her playing is soulful and energetic, and her compositions feel very natural. Alison is in great demand, currently performing with pop singer Alysha Brilla, jazzmasters Joe Sealy and Colin Hunter, and roots bands Big Rude Jake and Red Hot Ramble, as well as Heillig Manoeuvre.

Charlie Cooley- Drums

Drummer Charlie Cooley hails from Halifax. His varied career has found him touring and recording with many of Canada's top acts, from Amanda Marshall, The Guess Who and Sass Jordan to Prairie Oyster and Jimmy Rankin. However, his place in Heillig Manoeuvre is a result of his 25+ years as Heillig's rhythm partner in Manteca. The pair have an uncanny rapport which creates seamless confident grooving in support of Alison and Stacie's inspired melodies.

Stacie McGregor

Pianist Stacie McGregor came from Winnipeg to study jazz in Toronto, and has been a Heillig favourite for many years for her ability to dig-in to a groove and also solo with abandon. She was MD for the late Archie Alleyne's hard-bop band Kollage, toured with bassist Brandi Disterheft, as well as holding down a weekly solo piano gig for over twenty years. 




Over the years, Heillig Manoeuvre has performed at numerous Canadian jazz festivals and concert halls, as well as the top Canadian jazz clubs , and a few highly enjoyable house concerts.


The Jazz Bistro, Toronto ON

The Jazz Room, Waterloo ON

The Yardbird Suite, Edmonton AB

Norman Rothstein Theatre, Vancouver BC

The Dekker Centre For Performing Arts, N. Battleford SK

Revelstoke Jazz Society, Revelstoke BC

Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, Toronto ON

Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Ottawa ON

National Arts Centre Theatre, Ottawa ON

Waterloo Jazz Festival, Waterloo ON

JVC Jazz Festival Toronto (opening for Cedar Walton), Toronto ON

Superior Jazz Plus presents, Thunder Bay ON

Brock Centre for Performing Arts, St. Catharines ON

Atlantic Jazz Festival, Halifax NS

St. John’s Jazz Festival, St. John's NFLD

Beaches Jazz Festival, Toronto ON

Vineyard Jazz, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON

Markham Jazz Festival, Markham ON

Orangeville Jazz and Blues Festival, Orangeville ON

House Concert in Halifax NS