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July/August 2015: Walle Larsson

Ornette Coleman (1930-2015)

With the death of Ornette Coleman in June, we lost another jazz legend. A fiercely independent artist and a controversial figure pretty much his whole musical life, Coleman ushered in a new way of thinking about improvising—he was determined to shake free of the restrictive structures of show tunes and blues, and to push his […]

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July/August 2015: Walle Larsson

Remembering Bob Belden (1956-2015)

I first met saxophonist Bob Belden when he joined Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd in 1979, replacing Joe Lovano. He was recruited out of North Texas State, like a lot of young musicians joining big bands on the road at that time. He loved Wayne Shorter and was influenced by his playing in a very […]

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July/August 2015: Walle Larsson

Archie Alleyne (1933-2015)

Drummer Archibald Alexander Alleyne, a much-loved and highly respected veteran of Canada’s jazz community, passed away on June 8 at age 82, following a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. ArchiegrewupintheKensingtonMarketareaofTorontoatatimewhenitwaslargelypopulatedbyEasternEuropeanJewishimmigrantsandAfricanCanadians.Aprimarilyself-taughtmusician,hiselegantyetdrivingswingandmelodicismledtocomparisonswithfirst-generationbebopdrummerslikeKennyClarkeandMaxRoach. Duringthe1950s,whensegregationandracialdiscriminationstillimpactedmanymusicvenues,hewasamongthefirstblackmusicianstobreakthoughthe“colourline.”HesoonbecameafixtureatTorontoclubsliketheColonialandtheTownTavern,frequentlybackingvisitingstarssuchasLesterYoung,BillieHoliday,BenWebster,Harry“Sweets”Edison,StanGetz,Eddie“Lockjaw”Davis,andTeddyWilson. Alleynetemporarilyretiredfromplayingin1968followingamajorautomobileaccident,butmadeacomebackintheearly1980s,amongotherthingsco-leadingaquartetwithvibraphonistFrankWrightandtouringextensivelywithpianistOliverJones.Later,in2000,heandthelatesaxophonistDougieRichardsonformedthehardbopcomboKollage,whichhadanumberofincarnationsandservedasanurturinggroundforyoungermusicians. Atirelesssocialactivist,AlleynespearheadedsuccessfuleffortstopushtheCanadaCouncilfortheArtstomakerecordinggrantsavailabletojazzmusicians,andtheTorontoJazzFestivaltofeaturemoreblackartists.Later,heestablishedtheArchieAlleyneScholarshipFundtoassistpromisingyoungperformers.In2012hewasnamedanOfficeroftheOrderofCanada. A memoir, Colour Me Jazz: The Archie Alleyne Story, co-written with Sheldon Taylor, was due to be launched this month, but has […]

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