Few commercial recordings of Canadian jazz musicians were made in Canada before 1980. Only (see also ) and its affiliated Onari label (see ) concentrated on jazz, and Sackville's roster was largely comprised of US musicians. Other Canadian labels showed sporadic interest in jazz musicians during this period: (Pat Riccio); (Boss Brass, pianist Joel Shulman); (Lee Gagnon, vibraphonist Yvan Landry); Chateau (Trump Davidson); (CTL) (Norm Amadio, Ron Collier, and others); (Moe Koffman, Doug Riley's Dr. Music); (Mike White's Imperial Jazz Band); and Umbrella (Boss Brass and Humber College).
Since then, jazz has undergone constant and often dramatic change. It has followed several parallel courses and overlapping styles, at times in response to external influences (e.g., those of chamber and symphonic music in the “third stream” of the 1950s, and of rock and R&B in the fusion style originating in the late 1960s), but more often due to internal innovation and transformation. While jazz has exerted a marked influence on other genres of music during its first 100 years, it has itself undergone a degree of internationalization as musicians of other countries, Canada early among them, have taken up, adopted and/or adapted many of its traditions.
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Four Canadian musicians have moved decisively into this category of admired icon, whereby they have influenced the tradition's larger development or been imitated in turn. is widely recognized as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, and among the most influential of the postwar era. was a significant figure in the free jazz movement of the early 1960s, and his trios were a model for many American, European and Canadian pianists. The trumpeter developed a distinctive compositional style and lyrical approach to his instrument that have been widely imitated. While initially known as a jazz pianist, introduced jazz to broader audiences and was among the most commercially successful vocalists in any musical genre in the early 2000s.
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Both the traditional music of African Americans in New Orleans and the Dixieland of their white imitators had proponents in many Canadian cities. The concentration of activity in these styles, however, was in Toronto, beginning in the mid-1930s when Trump Davidson's dance band showed a decided Dixieland influence. The international “trad” revival was taken up in Toronto in the late 1940s by Clyde Clarke (pianist and leader of the Queen City Jazz Band, and also a scriptwriter for CJBC's 1010 Swing Club), Ken Dean (cornetist and leader of the Hot Seven) and , among others.
Jazz - definition of jazz by The Free Dictionary
In the 1950s and early 1960s, the leading Toronto band was cornetist Mike White's Imperial Jazz Band, which often presented American players as guest soloists. Other popular bands were led by Jimmy Scott and trombonist Bud Hill. The Metro Stompers (led in turn by the bassist Jim McHarg and ) were the most successful band of the mid-1960s (rivalled by Big Muddys) and survived through the 1970s before turning to a mainstream, swing style in the 1980s. The Stompers were eventually supplanted as local favourites by the Climax Jazz Band, formed in 1971.
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Other cities also had bands or musicians who championed “trad” or Dixieland: in Vancouver, beginning in 1950; cornetist Peter Power in during the 1950s; pianist Gordon Bennett's Capital City Jazz Band, formed in in the 1950s and rivalled in the early 1980s by the Apex Jazz Band; the Limestone City Jazz Band (late 1950s to early 1960s) in , ON; and trumpeter Russ Meredith (1940s and early 1950s), the Mountain City Jazz Band (1950s and early 1960s) and the Al Peters Jazz Band (1970s) in Montréal. A younger generation of players was heard in Montréal during the 1980s playing in such groups as Bande à Magoo, Dixieband and Sweet Dixie as part of the street activities of the ().
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Many veteran “trad” and Dixieland musicians in Toronto are of British or European origin, and include a large contingent of Scottish players, among them Galloway, McHarg, the trombonist Jim Abercrombie (leader of the Vintage Jazz Band), the cornetist Charlie Gall (leader of Dr McJazz), the trumpeter Malcolm Higgins, the clarinetist Al Lawrie (leader of the mainstream Jazz Corporation that also includes the pianist Ian Bargh) and the clarinetist Jim Purdie. The London-born trumpeter Cliff “'Kid” Bastien (leader of the Black Eagle, Magnolia and Camelia jazz bands, as well as the Happy Pals) was influential in the development of many traditional musicians who would later lead their own bands, most notably drummer Dennis Elder of the Silver Leaf Jazz Men, established in 1974.