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Respected across the national jazz scene for more than three decades, the hard-swinging CANADIAN JAZZ QUARTET have established themselves, individually and collectively, among the elite of jazz musicians on air and in recording studios, in clubs and on concert stages, and at major music events and jazz festivals all over the country.

Founded by the late guitar luminary Gary Benson in 1987, the lineup has evolved over the years, but under the long-time current leadership of iconic vibes-master Frank Wright, today’s Canadian Jazz Quartet (FRANK WRIGHT on vibes, TED QUINLAN on guitar, PAT COLLINS on bass, DON VICKERY on drums) remains a standard of excellence in jazz in Canada.

After a record-breaking decade-long run creating new mainstream jazz collaborations weekly for packed houses at leading downtown jazz venues, the classy CJQ is now in their fourth year in residence at the the Old Mill’s Home Smith Bar, where they bring their graceful treatment of standards and original material to “First Fridays”, and showcase a different headlining superstar each month.

Tonight’s featured guest is saxophone maestro ALEX DEAN, one of Canada’s foremost jazz saxophonists, and a mainstay of the Canadian music scene elite for many years. He held the tenor saxophone chair with Rob McConnell’s Grammy Award winning ‘Boss Brass’ for nearly two decades and the Juno Award winning Rob McConnell Tentet throughout the band’s legendary lifetime.  He has played and recorded with Gil Evans, Kenny Wheeler, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick Jr., Phil Nimmons, the Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.  He has collaborated extensively on CDs as side man with countless Canadian and American jazz artists.

Alex Dean Quartet/Quintet recordings include the most recently released ‘At this Point’, ‘Dreamsville’, ‘Both Feet’, and ‘Kaitlyn’s Waltz’.  ‘Kaitlyn’s Waltz’ was voted Best Jazz CD of 1994 by The Jazz Report and one of the Top 10 Jazz CD releases by New York’s Village Voice.  He was also named Jazz Musician of the Year by the Toronto Star.