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December 11, 2007

Dr. Music Remembered in Charlottetown Tribute Concert

Written by
cindy mcleod

jazz concerts, Canada


Doug Riley Memorial Concert
Confederation Centre of the Arts
Charlottetown, PEI

Tonight’s Concert Honours Canadian Keyboard Legend Doug Riley

Legendary keyboard player and composer Doug Riley is paid tribute in a memorial concert tonight at Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, PEI. Riley, best known as Dr. Music, died last August at the age of 62.

Halifax saxophone player Chris Mitchell will act as musical director for the tribute, while Matt Rainnie, host of CBC’s Mainstreet, will serve as master of ceremonies.

The headline roster underscores the depth and breadth of Order of Canada recipient Doug Riley’s work, with compatriots from the classical, jazz, blues, and theatre communities performing in his honour. The concert will be broken into several sections and will feature everything from a string ensemble to a monster horn section.

Making headline appearances are guitarists Doug Mallory (Dr. Music) and Bernie LeBarge, and vocalists Jackie Richardson, Catherine MacKinnon, and acclaimed Canadian tenor Michael Burgess, for whom Riley had served as musical director for many years.

Also on tonight’s bill are Former Tower of Power trumpet player Rick Waychesko, who will share the stage with Riley’s son Ben, as well as Joey Kitson, Terry Hatty, Catherine O’Brien, Alan Dowling and Chris Corrigan, Riley’s fellow performers of Canada Rocks: The Hits Musical Revue at the Charlottetown Festival, for which he was special guest.

Other artists slated to perform are jazz guitarist Ian Toms, jazz ensemble Field Trip, blues guitarist Danny B., Jamie Gatti, Brett Ryan, Chris Mitchell, Mark Haines, Roy Johnstone, Shawn Ferris, Chas Guay and the P.E.I. Jazz Band.

In a career that spanned over fourty years, composer, arranger, pianist, organist, and record producer Doug Riley had an enormous impact on Canadian popular music, and an equally active career in classical music.

Over the years Riley produced and recorded with artists like Ray Charles, David Clayton Thomas, Bob Seger, Ringo Starr, Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray and many more.

Born and raised in Toronto, Doug studied piano through the Royal Conservatory and obtained degrees in composition and ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, doing his postgraduate work in the music of the Iroquois.

During his teens Riley played with R&B group Silhouettes at Toronto’s legendary Blue Note nightclub, going on to become a prolific jingles composer in his twenties. During the 70s he was active in television, as arranger and pianist for numerous hit shows and picking up the Dr. Music moniker as leader of the 16-piece vocal/instrumental ensemble of the same name. The 90s saw Riley focus more on live performance, forming a quartet with saxophonist/composer Phil Dwyer, and settling down in semi-retirement in Prince Edward Island.

Most recently Riley toured with tenor Michael Burgess and performed numerous festivals across Canada, including the du Maurier Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, PEI Jazz & Blues Festival, and the Calgary International Blues Festival.

Proceeds from the Charlottetown event will be split between the music faculty at UPEI and the Atlantic Veterinary College.

The tribute is the the second major event held in honour of Riley, with an earlier tribute taking place November 15 at Convocation Hall in Toronto.

for more information visit www.confederationcentre.com

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