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January 10, 2006

Canadian Jazz Clarinetist Phil Nimmons

Written by
cindy mcleod

Clarinetist, composer, arranger, bandleader and teacher Phil Nimmons has been honoured with a triple-CD set, the first jazz musician in the Composer’s Portrait Series by the Canadian Music Centre.

The 82-year-old Juno Award winner has written for, performed with and taught a great many of the country’s best players. He is a director emeritus of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, and has received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. He was the first recipient of the Juno Award for best jazz recording, and was honoured last November with SOCAN’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Nimmons and Toronto’s Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra will unveil a new work composed by Nimmons at this year’s International Association for Jazz Education conference, Jan. 11-14 in New York City.

Nimmons, 82, was born in Kamloops, B.C., and studied at the Juilliard School in New York City and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He has played regularly on many CBC Radio programs for more than 50 years, composed more than 400 original contemporary classical and jazz works for stage, television, radio, theatre and film, and was a founding member of the Canadian League of Composers.

The Canadian Music Centre’s Composer Portrait Series features three discs of his work, with two of the CDs contain 17 Nimmons compositions performed by the artist with the Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra at the Montreal Bistro in Toronto in October 2004. The third disc is a 50-minute documentary on Nimmons in which he discusses his early years in B.C., his decision to pursue music rather than medicine, his influences, the CBC work, and the celebrated Nimmons ‘N’ Nine and Nimmons ‘N’ Nine Plus Six jazz bands he fronted playing his music.

Nimmons is still going strong performing and teaching, and recently recorded with pianist David Braid (53 years his junior) in a duo setting.

The set is available at www.musiccentre.ca for $30.

CANADIAN COMPOSERS PORTRAITS: PHIL NIMMONS
Phil Nimmons
2005 Centrediscs / Centredisques
CMCCD 11005

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