Favourite song in the repertoire: S’Wonderful
Steve started clarinet lessons as a kid because there was an old clarinet at the house that nobody played. Many times as a child he thought, "Why did I pick such an uncool instrument, when the cool kids all played guitar or drums like the Beatles?". However, he persisted and eventually found S’Wonderful to be THE number one clarinet nerd in the school. About 20 years ago, Steve made an excellent discovery: If you can play clarinet, it is quite easy to learn any of the saxes or bass clarinet. Since moving to the Perth area, Steve has played clarinets and saxes in pit bands for many of the musical theatre shows produced in Perth. He is also a long standing member of the Perth Citizens’ Band. When his fingers get tired, he sings tenor and bass in local choirs.
Favourite song in the repertoire: It’s Alright With Me
Originally from Trois-Rivières, Paul is dependable and easygoing; whatever is asked of him is alright with him. At an early age, he was attracted to Dixieland jazz and big band swing, particularly the music of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. He started playing clarinet in the municipal concert band, then took up the saxophone in a small dance band before setting out on a career as an educator in the Ottawa area. Many years later, he undertook more advanced clarinet studies and is currently the principal clarinettist with the Parkdale Orchestra. In addition to playing lead tenor in the Grey Jazz Big Band, he plays in the Centralaires Concert Band, the National Capital Clarinet Consort, and with the Trillium Dixieland Band. He enjoys listening to and playing jazz.
Favourite song in the repertoire: We’ve Only Just Begun
Adam feels so fortunate to have studied classical clarinet with Peter Smith (NAC Orchestra) at the University of Ottawa in the 70s and flute as a private student of Jean Guy Brault. Then came a pronged hiatus from making music in order to pursue other passions but he remained an enthusiastic audience member at jazz and classical concerts. In recent years, Adam renewed his fervor for playing saxes, clarinet and flute. In addition to loving big band music, he is a member of a quintet that performs traditional jazz, funk, blues and some classic rock. Adam’s favourite tune reflects his take on life: each day is the next of all our journeys.
MEET THE BAND
Favourite song in the repertoire: Sing, Sing, Sing
Hailing from Fisherville, ON near Lake Erie, Fred's desire for the sax was influenced by many great 70s bands with large horn sections. He joined the RCAF in 1981 to pursue a career in avionics and, after tours in BC and Germany, it was decided Fred required a cooling off period. He was posted to Cold Lake, AB, where he was introduced to military bands. He once again picked up the sax, and enjoyed opportunities to play for Queen Elizabeth, the cast of the “Royal Canadian Air Farce”, and many others. After 30 years, he retired in Ottawa to focus on his passion. He is the sax section leader in the Ottawa Community Concert band, directs a sax ensemble, and plays in the Ottawa Rube Band as well as the Main and Abbot Dance Band. Proficiency on everything from soprano to bass ensures Fred never becomes bored with requests to make his saxophones Sing, Sing, Sing!
Favourite song in the repertoire: Come Rain or Come Shine
Born in South Porcupine, Ontario, Dave’s musical studies at McGill included clarinet and sax lessons with Gerry Danovitch. After teaching elementary and high school music for many years, and playing in several ands in southwestern Ontario, he retired to the Ottawa area to practice and play – come rain or come shine! Although big band music is his greatest love, when not playing music, he enjoys playing with his grandchildren.
Favourite song in the repertoire: Livin’ La Vida Loca
Vic’s crazy musical life is comprised of three parts: teacher, saxophonist, and fiddler. Vic is classically trained on the violin but, when he chanced upon his grandfather’s collection of fiddle tunes in the mid-80s, he was booked! Influenced by folk, blues, and jazz, among other genres, Vic played tenor sax in The Memphis Mafia showband while fiddling with The Skirmish – Lanark Country’s troubadours. Having played in the orchestra for the Orion Theatre Co., Vic is an all ‘round professional musician with an eclectic repertoire who likes fun and variety while entertaining crowds.
Favourite song in the repertoire: Stray Cat Strut
Sourdough Pete blew in from the north many moons ago. Before settlin’ in Ottawa couple of years ago and concentrating on the low end, he was struttin’ around the globe blowing his horns. We've got this stray cat on a bari sax all the way down to a low low A.
Copyright 2015 The Wild Cards. All photographs used with permission. All rights reserved.
Favourite song in the repertoire: Zoot Suit Riot
Doug became passionate about the saxophone after being captivated by Boots Randolph’s “Yakety Sax”. Having discovered his instrument of choice, he graduated from the jazz program of Humber College in Toronto, studying sax, theory, and composition. Recently, he was thrilled to be invited to perform at the Havana Jazz Festival.
Doug is a jazz saxophonist, composer, and teacher who has been working in the Ottawa area for many years. Audiences come to hear him because of his engaging, emotional style and his fresh approach to jazz standards. As leader of several groups, he has played every venue in the Ottawa Valley and has been a regular participant at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival.
Zoot suits of the 1940s represented freedom and self-determination, which match Doug’s approach to life . . . but you won’t find him wearing one!
Favourite song in the repertoire: Bari, Bari Good
From working with the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency and as a Nuclear Design Engineer, life as a self-employed musician is now bari, bari good for Paul. Professional music life started in 1964 as a bass player with various rock, jazz, and community bands before love of the reeds kicked in. Paul plays alto, tenor, and bari(tone) sax as well as clarinet, and his Ottawa-area credits include Silver Swing, the Ottawa Community Concert Band, Standing Room Only, the National Capital Concert Band, and the Georgian House Orchestra. He is a founding member of The Wild Cards and is looking forward to the next steps in his musical journey.
Favourite song in the repertore: What Is Hip
Bruce is an Ottawa Valley musician who’s been playing tenor sax since the early ‘70s. Bruce has been involved in a wide variety of musical ensembles favouring swing and jump bands including The BCP Swing Band, The Starlighters, and The Savoy Swing Band. He has arranged for, and currently performs with, various R&B bands around town covering ‘50s-‘60s, county rock, funk, jazz, rock ’n’ roll, and blues.
Bruce’s musical influences are . . . anything and everything! From the hard driving swing and riffing sounds of Louis Jordon, Cab Calloway, and Benny Goodman to the orchestrations of Maynard Ferguson, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, and Woody Herman. His saxophone influences are a little harder to pin down but, clearly, Scott Hamilton, Stan Getz, Junior Walker, and King Curtis played a role in shaping Bruce’s sound.
What is hip? In a word: Bruce.