FONT Canada

March 12, 2014

FONT Canada preview: Nigel Taylor

Sunday, March 16, ”Trumpet Generations”
(Doors open at 8, Music starts at 830pm)
185 avenue Van Horne
(for venue info contact )


Teachers: Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to study with Laurie, but I did study with Jon McNeil who is a long time friend and colleague of hers.  He would sometimes mention her and her pedagogy.  My other trumpet teachers include Lou Ranger during my time at UVIC and Miles Newman from Saskatchewan before that.  More recently I studied with Anthony Coleman, Joe Morris, and several other NEC faculty during my time in Boston.


Influences: Greg Kelley, Nate Wooley, Peter Evans, Axel Doerner, Don Cherry, Kevin Drumm, Merzbow, Morton Feldman, …I think this list might get long now that I’ve exited from trumpet players so I’ll stop there.


Current Projects: I’ve been on tour in the States for a few weeks now playing with several different people and I’m leaving on another mini Canadian tour right after the CFONT festival.  These dates have all been free improv.  When I’m finally at home for awhile in April I’m going to spend some time writing for a group of Boston musicians I’m bringing up to Montreal for a recording session in May.  I also have a collaborative project with electro acoustic artists Max Alexander and Eric Powell that I’m hoping to spend more time on when I get back to Montreal.


On the Side/Hobbies: I have an 11 month old son, so most hobbies these days are baby related ones.  We like to spend time in the parks in Montreal, which when the weather is nice are really beautiful and lively with people.


I knew I wanted to play the trumpet when:  My older brother plays the trumpet and my father used to.  I think when I was little I just wanted to be able to do what they did so I started playing it pretty early in my life.  I always liked playing it when I was younger…I think me and the trumpet argue with each other more these days then we did then.
Performance Highlight: It’s hard to pick just one, so many gigs are rewarding but unique.  A recent highlight was playing at a house show in Boston with guitarist Chris Cretella.  We played right after Joe Morris and Patrick Kuehn.  Was one of those nights that the music just seems to go all the right places without you having to force it anywhere, and the audience was really listening and got that it was good.  It’s really a great feeling when the whole experience of the performance is good and not just some elements of it.


Dream Band: hmmmmm, thats a tough one!  I’m tempted to put people from radically different genres or times together but who knows if that would make a fruitful venture so…….I’m going to leave this one alone!


Fun Fact: I used to be really into juggling.  I was once Ben Mulroney’s stunt double on a Canadian TV show called “Corner Gas”.  If you ever see Ben juggling torches while riding a unicycle…


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March 9, 2014

FONT Canada preview: Bill Mahar

Friday, March 14 ”Trumpet Cultures”
(Doors open at 830, Music starts at 9pm)
Cafe Resonance 5175a avenue. du parc

Bill Mahar Quintet (Montreal): Bill Mahar trumpet, Jennifer Bell alto/soprano saxophone, John Sadowy piano, Clinton Ryder bass, Michel Berthiaume drums.

Some of my favorite teachers over the years have been:

(McGill) – Kevin Dean, Jim Thompson, Ted Griffith, Jan Jarzyk

(Banff) – Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland, Don Thompson, Dave Liebman,
Muhal-Richard Abrams, Cecil Taylor, George Russell
As a trumpet player, I would say the chronological history of trumpet players
Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Miles Davis, Kenny
Dorham, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Randy Brecker, Wynton Marsalis.
I would also like to add, as a sideline, Don Cherry, Booker Little,
and Kenny Wheeler.

As a jazz composer/arranger a few of my main influences are: Duke Ellington,
Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland, Gil Evans, Charles Mingus

Current Projects: What are you working on? Arrangements, techniques
you’re practicing, other projects
I am currently working on projects for my big band, The Altsys Jazz
Orchestra. Over the years we have produced many concerts of my
compositions and have done projects with Kenny Wheeler, Donny
McCaslin, Tim Hagans, Ray Anderson, to name a few. In the fall of
2014, we will be doing a project with british / canadian expat
composer John Warren. A canadian premier preformance of his large work
Tales Of The Algonquin.
I am also busy writing arrangements for concert band, brass quintet
and brass band.

On the Side: any other hobbies, other interests…
On the non-music side of things, I enjoy the outdoors though cycling,
sailing, cross-country skiing, and hiking.
I knew I wanted to be play trumpet when… after hearing a live
dixieland band made up of group of amatures who played with some great
energy. It really connected with me as an 11 year old. I started the
trumpet the next year.

A Performance Highlight:
My first indoor gig at the 1987 Montreal International Jazz Festival,
with the Vic Vogel Big Band at Place des Arts. Dizzy Gillespie was
the guest and we played music from his big band book. Dizzy played
trumpet, percussion, conducted, told a few jokes, and got me to do a
solo on his piece, Manteca. I felt like I had known Dizzy all my life
It was an up lifting experience for me at such a young age (and it
paid pretty good also).

Dream Band:
I play in several dream bands made up of Montreal musicians. I just
wish we were able to play more often together.

Did you know? A short story about some fun fact people wouldn’t
necessarily know about you.
I also play electric bass, ukelele, and a bit of thermin. I’m ready
for gigs on the bass and uke, but the thermin still needs a bit of