Updated 2014 September 30 to add video interviews and concert excerpts
On Friday, a benefit concert in Ottawa for the late Canadian trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler raised $900, with more expected from those who couldn't attend.
The benefit was organized by guitarist Roddy Ellias and pianist Peter Hum. They recruited Mark Ferguson on trombone, Alex Bilodeau on bass, Michel Delage on drums, and Christine Fagan on vocals. Together, they honoured Wheeler and his major influence on jazz and big band music. In two sets, they played a wide range of compositions by Wheeler, to a very attentive, quiet, and appreciative full house at Zola's Restaurant in Bells Corners.
A Toronto benefit, with the Mike Murley Quintet also playing two sets of Wheeler's compositions, will be held October 2 at The Rex. Another will be held in Rome, Italy, on September 28 with trumpeter Fabrizio Basso, saxophonist Stefano di Battista, and pianist Enrico Pieranunzi.
Wheeler died the day before the benefit, at age 84, after having been in ill health and unable to perform for several months. Ellias said the money raised would go to defray the family's expenses and help Wheeler's widow, Doreen.