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, trumpet/flugelhorn giant BRIAN O’KANE is one of the Toronto jazz scene’s most exciting trumpet players. He has been a regular member of the stellar Rob McConnell Tentet, Hilario Duran’s Latin Jazz Big Band (2007 Juno Award winner), the Bernie Senensky Quintet and Septet, Bruce Cassidy’s Hotfoot Orchestra, the Paul Read Orchestra (PRO), Barry Romberg’s Random Access Large Ensemble (RALE) and John MacLeod’s Rex Hotel Jazz Orchestra (2011 Juno Award winner).
O’Kane has performed with some of Canada’s finest bands and ensembles including the Canadian Jazz Quartet, the Don Thompson Septet, the Barry Elmes Quintet, the Dave Young Quintet, as well as the Ron Collier, Vic Vogel, Peter Appleyard, Dave McMurdo, and Joe Sullivan Big Bands. He has also worked with a lengthy list of national and international artists and entertainers including Maria Schneider, Bill Holman, Vince Mendoza, Kenny Wheeler, Steve Swallow, Carla Bley, Paquito D’Rivera, Gap Mangione, Denzal Sinclaire, Aretha Franklin, Paul Anka, Diana Krall, Ann Hampton-Calloway, Bill Mays, and Dave Brubeck. Brian O’Kane has also worked with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Canada Pops Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Orchestra, Orchestra London, the Oshawa Symphony, the True North Brass and the Trillium Brass Quintet. He has been on many television/radio jingles and is also in demand as a pit musician, having played in shows including The Producers, The Boyfriend, The Full Monty, West Side Story, Follies, Chicago, and Swing Step.
A faculty member at Humber College in Toronto, Brian has been featured as Guest Artist at numerous schools of every level across Canada, has played at major jazz festivals throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe, and has frequently served as an adjudicator/clinician for Musicfest Canada and Kiwanis Music Festivals. He was recently a featured artist at the 33rd Annual International Trumpet Guild Conference held in Banff, Alberta.