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Take Five with Wayne Eagles of trio \ DEF

Wayne Eagles By

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Meet Wayne Eagles:
Wayne Eagles is Canadian guitarist/educator known for his unique guitar style, which incorporates diverse influences from textural soundscapes and free jazz to old school fusion and progressive rock. Wayne has played live and in the studio with a long list of local and internationally known musicians including Adam Nussbaum, Ken Rosser, Lee Fish, Rob Frayne, Mike Milligan and T Bruce Wittet. He is a long-time performance instructor and ensemble director for the Music program at Carleton University in Ottawa. Wayne's recordings include REGALS -The Double-Duo Sessions (post-production by David Torn; TetraArtist, 2011), Milligan-Eagles Project (featuring Billy Kilson on drums; TetraArtist, 2005), and the solo recording How's Now? (Carleton Sound, 2000). His latest release is trio \ DEF (Drouin/Eagles/Froman) featuring bassist Marc-Andre Drouin and drummer Ian Froman (TetraArtist, 2015).

Instrument(s):
Electric & acoustic guitar

Teachers and/or influences:
I consider David Torn and Dave Holland mentors; same goes for many of the musicians I'm fortunate to work alongside, as well as past & present faculty of the Music program at Carleton University. In terms of very early influences, after The Beatles and Elton John, inspirations included improvising bands like Focus, Deep Purple, Jeff Beck Group, Band of Gypsys, Return to Forever, Funkadelic, John McLaughlin's myriad groups, prog bands like Gentle Giant and Yes. At a young age, I was fortunate to attend performances by Joe Pass, B.B. King, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ella Fitzgerald, Jerry Reed, Weather Report, Johnny Winter and Lenny Breau, among many others. Guitarists John Abercrombie, Allan Holdsworth, Terje Rypdal and Wes Montgomery remain huge inspirations. Of course, I listen to non guitar-oriented music, such as pianist Bobo Stenson, drummer Tony Williams, bassist Steve Swallow, and Miles Davis.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when:
I had such a strong response to listening to music from a young age. My parents were huge music listeners, appreciating every style imaginable. They took me to many concerts from jazz, blues and symphonic to rock, country and flamenco. Of course, they also coordinated my early guitar lessons (starting when I was 8) and remained unwaveringly supportive. George Harrison (The Beatles) and Davey Johnstone (Elton John) band were my initial guitar heroes. Listening and playing music became pretty all-consuming by the time I was 11.

Your sound and approach to music:
I've always worked to have a unique voice on the instrument. That—of course—remains a workin-progress. I remain influenced by a wide-range of music and players, and continue to refine my sound and improve both in terms of proficiency/ability and musical knowledge. I still read musical materials rather voraciously, whether musician biographies or theoretical treatises. My students are obviously a constant source of inspiration, keeping me on my toes and in-the-loop. Perhaps I'd best describe my approach to music as trying to fuse the freedom of sounds and improvisation approaches of the best early jazz/rock with the space/clarity of the European/ECM tradition all filtered through my composition and theoretical approach. Lofty goal, I realize.

Your teaching approach:
My hope is to assist students find and define their musical vision as well and move towards a distinctive sound on their instrument. This of course requires attention to many details: honing a skill set, general musical comprehension, being honest with one's strengths/weaknesses.

Your dream band:
I've been fortunate to work with some incredible musicians over the years, which has certainly been motivating. Case in point, the new trio \ DEF (Drouin/Eagles/Froman) recording: very hard to not be inspired and humbled working with Ian Froman (drums) and Marc-Andre Drouin (bass). Similarly, work with bassist Mike Milligan and drummer Billy Kilson was a genuine learning experience. Ottawa drummer/journalist T Bruce Wittet another important collaborator. As for dream bands, it's hard not to think of many renowned rhythm sections: Steve Swallow / Adam Nussbaum, Jimmy Johnson / Gary Husband, Miroslav Vitous / Jack DeJohnette, Anders Jormin / Jon Christensen...

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Years ago, I played in a couple of uniquely named pickup bands: Godzilla & the Mukluks, as well as The Morty Bagelman Review. One gig each, thank goodness! Ha! Won't even get into some of the New Year's Eve casualties I've endured.

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