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 third year in residence at 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, Canadian saxophonist ANDY BALLANTYNE has performed with some of the world’s foremost jazz artists including Rob McConnell’s ‘Boss Brass’, Dave Holland, Maria Schneider, Vince Mendoza, Carla Bley, Sam Rivers, and Bill Mays. He is a regular member of several prominent jazz groups including the Juno Award-winning Rex Hotel Orchestra.
After years of being called upon to play in a wide variety of different styles in the jazz idiom, Ballantyne recently recorded a set of original compositions in the styles of some of the great jazz saxophonists of the past. The album is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2019 and features an all-star rhythm section – Terry Clarke (drums), Neil Swainson (bass), Rob Piltch (guitar), and Adrean Farrugia (piano).
A graduate of Humber College and the University of Toronto jazz performance programs, Andy Ballantyne is currently on faculty at Humber College in Toronto where he teaches jazz theory, woodwinds, composition, and arranging.