Tuesday, August 26, 2014


On a late Tuesday summer afternoon, I had the pleasure of catching an early jazz set performed by a bunch of talented young musicians led by saxophonist Peter Cavanaugh.   Not only they are a talented band, they happen to be my new young confreres in the Toronto jazz scene through weekly jam sessions and for one member being an integral part of my trio.

In a program of mostly standard repertoire, I won’t analyze here the nooks and crannies of the takes of the standards, but I want to comment on the individual styles of each musician and how they have impacted my life.

Peter Cavanaugh is a young, vivacious leader, and a soulful saxophonist with a well developed voice.   He can also be seen busking around the streets of Toronto performing contemporary hits with his “Sidewalk Crusaders”, giving musicians a chance to make money while honing their crafts on the piano.   He is a talent that you will hear a whole lot more of, and I can’t wait to feature him in one of my groups someday.

Miles Finlayson and I hang out week in and week out through the Norman Marshall Villeneuve jam sessions held every Tuesday afternoon, working with old and young musicians honing our improvisation and repertory skills while becoming better musicians in the process.    He is always searching, always striving for perfection, and he is developing into a more mature sounding musician that is serious about the music.

Felix Wong, as a young teenager, is slowly becoming a new ferocious beast on the piano.    His command of bebop, his solos, and his style shows maturity far beyond his years and it is only going to get amazingly better with well-aged time.

Bennett Young.  Also met him at the Norman Marshall Villeneuve jam sessions.   Upon hearing him not only we have been playing a lot together, but we have become true music friends, confreres, and confidants in the jazz world.    When I call him my “Ray Brown” (Oscar Peterson’s longtime bassist), there is a reason why.

I haven’t heard much from Stuart Mein, but from what I heard he is an exciting drummer that I love to work with in the future.   Very colourful, rhythmic, and very precise in his timekeeping.

Hanging out with these musicians makes me feel young again.   Listening to them makes me all the more assured that the spirit of jazz will live on and on for those who have ears to hear and the drive to succeed.

(Peter Cavanagh, Bennett Young, Miles Finlayson, Felix Wong, Stuart Mein)

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