Two well-known Canadian jazz musicians – guitarist Oliver Gannon and bassist Alain Caron – were announced as new members of the Order of Canada today.
Oliver Gannon has been a stalwart of the Vancouver jazz scene since 1970, best known for his long and fruitful collaboration with legendary Canadian tenor saxophonist Fraser MacPherson. Their album of duets, I Didn't Know About You, won a Juno for best jazz album in 1983. In 2002 Gannon was named Guitarist of the Year in the National Jazz Awards.
And Gannon hasn't stopped since: he's released five albums as leader on the Cellar Live label, and played on many more. In early January, he'll be unveiling a new trio at Frankie's Jazz Club in Vancouver, and recording the shows for another album. The Vancouver Coastal Jazz Society says that “Gannon cites Barney Kessell and Wes Montgomery as formative models, of horn players as conceptual influences, and of Art Blakey’s music as a favourite direction. His fluid swinging style is rooted in 50s and 60s bop.”
The Order of Canada awards list recognized Alain Caron for “his contributions as a six-string electric bass virtuoso and for his role in mentoring musicians in Canada and abroad”.
Caron is best known for his many years as a member of the Quebec jazz super-group UZEB, but has also released many solo albums. He's recorded and toured with jazz greats which include Oliver Jones, Lorraine Desmarais, Mike Stern, Frank Gambale, Bireli Lagrene, Didier Lockwood, Tiger Okoshi, Billy Cobham, and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez.
Caron has received two Oscar Peterson Awards from the Montreal Jazz Festival for contributions to Canadian jazz – the first in 1991 for UZEB and the second in 2013 for his solo work. In 2005, his album 5 was nominated for a JUNO award in the “Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year” category. He's won 10 Félix awards, including best album of the year in 2011, for his seventh solo record, Sep7entrion.
In addition, Sir Terence Matthews was named an Officer of the order. Matthews is the founder and Chairman of Wesley Clover International, which owns the Brookstreet Hotel and the Marshes Golf Course in Kanata. Brookstreet has offered jazz seven nights a week since 2013, more frequently than any other venue in Ottawa, while the Marshes has offered jazz on Friday evenings for the last two years.
The recipients will be given their order insignia at a ceremony to be scheduled later in 2018. The Order of Canada “recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.” The Governor General of Canada makes the appointments on the recommendations of an Advisory Council for the order.
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