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    James David Blackley (1927-2017)

    James David Blackley (1927-2017) taught jazz-focused drums to students who went on to play or record with many of the greats, including: Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock amongst many others.

    His first publication was hailed as a “Musical Gem” by Elvin Jones. His second received praise as “Percussive Wisdom” by Downbeat Magazine

    His publications, Syncopated Rolls for the Modern Drummer and The Essence of Jazz Drumming have been embraced by teachers and musicians alike.

    Blackley lived and taught monthly sessions and 10 day master classes in Barrie, Ontario, Canada to students and professionals from around the globe. He passed away July 16th 2017.

    photo credit: Scott Grant

    Ray Phiri (1947-2017)

    South African jazz legend Ray Phiri has died at the age of 70.

    The guitarist, producer and vocalist is most remembered in North America for his contribution to Paul Simon's Graceland album in 1986. He was also the founding member of the Cannibals in the 1970s and Stimela, producing gold and platinum-selling albums: Fire, Passion and Ecstacy (1982), Look, Listen and Decide (1986) as well as the controversial People Don't Talk So Let's Talk. The group's afro-fusion sounds combined jazz with mbaqanga - a Zulu musical style with rural roots.

    Among his many musical accomplishments, Phiri also recieved the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver, honouring his contribution to the South African arts and music industry while using his gifts as an instrument for social transformation.

    Admitted to hospital two weeks ago, he died early Wednesday morning after a two-month battle with lung cancer.

    As reported by the BBC, Phiri told The Sowetan newspaper in an interview earlier this month, "Let me suffer [in peace with my] pain, on my own with my dignity."

    Watch some of his performances with Paul Simon on the Graceland project and also Stimela:

    Gregory Porter Involved in Give a Home

    Give a Home is a global concert series involving 1,000 musicians playing in people’s homes in support of the refugee crisis.

    Jazz Festival Season 2017 – The Complete List

    The TD Toronto Jazz Festival may be over for another year, but Festival season has only just begun! Here is our comprehensive list of festivals in and around the GTA and beyond.

    Mary Alice Stuart Scholarship winner – Emily Steinwall!

    The founding chair of JAZZ.FM91, Mary Alice Stuart, made an unparalleled contribution to the organization, helping to make JAZZ.FM91 the successful enterprise that it is today.

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