My Music

I've been playing music since the sixties, my first instrument was an accordion. I learned to play 'I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus' by ear. I never really pursued the instrument further, but in 1969, when I was eleven I took up guitar.

In High School, I took up Trombone and then Saxophone and Flute. I loved the horns, they were so expressive, but I was met with a huge learning curve.

In high school I was involved in a few bands, but as is typical with high school bands nothing really went anywhere but it was lot of fun. One of the guys that I played with in high school, Al Connelly ended up joining the band 'Onyx' which later turned into 'Glass Tiger' and they went on to become an international success story in pop music.

After high school, I was very fortunate to meet Fred Stone. Fred had toured the world as a member of 'The Duke Ellington Orchestra', Fred played Flugel Horn and you can hear him play on the Ellington album 'North of the Border In Canada'. Although Fred did not play sax, he taught me an incredible amount about improvisation. Fred Stone taught me what to think about while playing and how to think.  And most importantly, to not think. 

In 1982 I attended York University to study jazz. Fred Stone had become my mentor and I added Flugel Horn to my list of instruments. When I went to audition, I lugged my Sax, Flute and Flugel Horn with me and although I passed the audition, I was urged to focus on one instrument. I truly loved the Soprano Sax and I decided to focus on the one horn, at least during my time in university.

I studied briefly with Jane Bunnet, which was really great, she was my first actual saxophone teacher and she really helped me develop a sound and an understanding of how the instrument should be held.

I was part of a Jazz ensemble lead by Mark Eisenman, a talented pianist based in Toronto. While at York, I had the great pleasure of meeting and jamming with Richard Underhill who later went on to form the Shuffle Demons. Together with two other sax players we would often descend on unsuspecting students and perform an improvised version of the most vague reference to a common melody. While I was at York, I wanted to combine studies in computer science and music. I was informed that 'Music and Computers have nothing in common', apparently the university was not keeping pace with the changing times. I have to admit that I have a bit of a smug smile when I see how much computers have become part of music creation and production and of course, York now offers a computer course within the fine arts programme.

Before I left York I had a chance to play with some really great musicians, and some of them went on to impressive musical careers. Bob Wiseman who went on to play in Blue Rodeo and Laura Smith who went on to pursue a solo career are the most notable. Although we never had a chance to play music together, Dave Bidini was in my poetry class and he has gone on to be a well respected author and musician.

I also took a course in ancient Greek and Roman literature. It was a blast learning about all those old books and in another time I could see myself reading those books and studying their inner meanings and symbolism.  But this is about my music.

Some Interesting Links

My Midi Sting Woodwind Controller

Some of my tunes on Soundcloud.com

To be continued...