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Take Five With Ryan Oliver

Take Five With Ryan Oliver
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Meet Ryan Oliver:

Juno-nominated, Toronto-based saxophonist, Ryan Oliver honed his craft in Canada's west coast before moving to Amsterdam, Toronto, and then New York. Since returning to Toronto, he has maintained a busy schedule as one of Canada's most in-demand saxophonists. Oliver has toured in India, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada with the legendary eclectic jazz group the Shuffle Demons. He is also a member of Juno Award-winning blues/rock performer Derek Miller's group. The band has traveled throughout North America, including performances at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, the Aboriginal Achievement Awards (broadcast on CTV), and Toronto's Dundas Square. Oliver is featured in the horn section on Derek Miller's most recent recording, Derek Miller and Double Trouble, featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan
1954 - 1990
guitar
's heralded rhythm section, Double Trouble, and music icon Willie Nelson. The recording was nominated for a Juno in 2011.

Ryan Oliver's debut recording, Convergence, was selected by CODA Magazine as one of the top 10 Canadian jazz releases of 2007. He has received numerous Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council grants for touring and recording and has performed at most of the major jazz clubs and festivals throughout Canada. Oliver's straight-ahead and tough-toned tenor can be heard often in Toronto. He maintains a weekly Sunday night residency with Organic, a quartet that features Canadian great, Bernie Senensky, on the Hammond B3 organ, along with being a member of The Cookers, a hard-bop quintet, and Tonight at Noon, an octet that plays the music of Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
. Jazz education is also an important part of Oliver's professional life. He has been a featured clinician at Malaspina College, Western University, the University of Windsor, and high schools throughout New York, New Jersey, Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. Ryan Oliver's driving melodic inventiveness, charismatic sound, and swinging time feel light up bandstands wherever he plays.

Instrument(s):

Tenor saxophone.

Teachers and/or influences?

My first teacher was Michael Butterfield, in my hometown of Williams Lake. Michael introduced me to a lot of great jazz, including the music of Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
, John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, and Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
1924 - 1982
saxophone
. While at Malaspina College in Nanaimo, I studied with guitarist Pat Coleman. I have also studied with Pat La Barbera
Pat La Barbera
Pat La Barbera
b.1944
saxophone
, Eric Alexander
Eric Alexander
Eric Alexander
b.1968
sax, tenor
, Ralph Bowen
Ralph Bowen
Ralph Bowen

sax, tenor
, and Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
b.1950
drums
.

My musical style is rooted in the saxophone tradition and hopefully presents my take on it. The main players that have influenced me are John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
, Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
1924 - 1982
saxophone
, George Coleman
George Coleman
George Coleman
b.1935
sax, tenor
, Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
b.1940
saxophone
, and Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
b.1950
drums
.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I was 15 and started getting into the saxophone on a serious level. I couldn't really see myself doing anything else.

Your sound and approach to music:

My approach to music is simple. Listen, project, swing hard, learn tunes, and play within the music. I want to make any group I am playing with sound good and improvise within the context presented by the group. This approach allows me to play with a wide variety of groups, from straight ahead standard jazz, to the eclectic music of the Shuffle Demons, and to the electric blues-rock of Derek Miller's Bliss Fiasco.

Your dream band:

The list would be long, but a few of my heroes still on the scene include Harold Mabern
Harold Mabern
Harold Mabern
b.1936
piano
, George Cables
George Cables
George Cables
b.1944
piano
, Rufus Reid
Rufus Reid
Rufus Reid
b.1944
bass, acoustic
, Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
b.1950
drums
, and Jimmy Cobb
Jimmy Cobb
Jimmy Cobb
b.1929
drums
.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

My latest recording Strive! It features Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
b.1950
drums
on drums and I was honored and humbled to have the opportunity to step on the bandstand and into the recording studio with this jazz legend. I am proud of the compositions and the sound of the band.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

John Coltrane, Live at Birdland.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Trying to maintain the importance of tradition in the music—learning tunes, swinging, then trying to carry those ideals into original music.

Desert Island picks:

m: John Coltrane, Crescent (Impulse);

Dexter Gordon, Go (Blue Note);

John Coltrane, Ballads (Impulse);

Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
b.1940
saxophone
, Crescent With Love (Evidence);

George Coleman
George Coleman
George Coleman
b.1935
sax, tenor
, Amsterdam After Dark (Timeless).


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Download jazz mp3 “Eddie” by Ryan Oliver
  • Eddie
  • Ryan Oliver
  • Strive
Download jazz mp3 “Rhythm” by Ryan Oliver
  • Rhythm
  • Ryan Oliver
  • Convergence

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