basically a result of years of collaboration with my best friend and musical buddy Marc Atkinson, perhaps Canada’s finest guitarist; but I am biased. We are both secretly rock’n’rollers at heart, so why not do what we love best? This began as a fun weekly get together in the mid 1990’s with drummer Matt Pease, and (most of the time) keys man Danuel Tate, and it still is based upon having a damn good time.
Bitches Brew style, eyes closed, intuitive groove jamming. We have a great intuitive rapport. Scott Sheerin –sax, Matt Pease-drums, Marc Atkinson-guitar, Laurent Boucher-percussion, Danuel Tate-keys
Fourth Stream (1983-1985)
A power “Free jazz with rock leanings” trio. Featuring Ken Vandermark on sax and Brendan Burke on drums, this was my first real band.
We were all students at McGill at the time, I answered an ad for a bassist into Mingus and Ornette (I was), and away we went,
practising in Brendan’s bedroom and gigging wherever they’d have us. We recorded an LP, and then I moved to Vancouver.
Ken has gone on to great renown in the free jazz scene, and lives in Brendan’s hometown of Chicago.
Claude Ranger Trio (1986-1987)
Well, in Canada, Claude is a real dude of the drums. I’ve heard him with Charlie Haden and other greats, he is a monster.
So is Rob Frayne, a gem of a saxophonist (and flute, clarinet, etc.) and a great composer as well. We had a brief but satisfying run at it,
some CBC recordings and various gigs.
The Henry Boudin Quartet (1985-1990)
Ron Samworth-guitar, Dave Mason (and initially James McRae) –drums. Henry is my father’s age, but seems younger than many 16 year olds. A tremendous saxophonist who toured with Dizzy, and played a bit with Mingus, Monk, Jaco and others. He was in the Gunther Schuller big band in NYC with Eric Dolphy, and met Coltrane many times. We would jam regularly, and the band had at times Miles Black on piano, Stan Taylor or Jim Chivers on drums (all Vancouver cats), and carries on to this day playing around Vancouver. In the glory days we met regularly to play through Wayne Shorter tunes or standards, gigging mostly at the legendary Classical Joint, and being VERY INTO JAZZ.
New Orchestra Workshop (1985-1990)
This is sort of an umbrella group for the Vancouver Free Scene, in which I was heavily involved with many different players including Coat Cooke, Ron Samworth, Roger Baird, Kate Hammet-Vaughn, among others.
The Romaniacs (1986-1995)
I was playing a jazz gig at Canada’s grooviest jazz club, the Classical Joint in Vancouver (now extinct) ,
when in walked a punky looking prairie boy; Calvin Cairns, and offered me a tour of Australia, money and fame- all I had to do was play ethno-fusion.
I was doing it everyday playing for the old immigrants at the synagogue I was working at, so I said sure.
We toured Canada like crazy, Australia, the US, performed in Fringe festivals and with Symphony Orchestras,
and even in the dwindling last few years had some nice TV spots and weddings. It was a slice, and did we ever rock Climax, Saskatchewan!
Also featured Steve Bengtson on mandolin and vocals and Ron Thompson and later Richard Baker (Doug and the Slugs fame) on guitar.
Of course Calvin on fiddle.
This band had such significance for me, and achieved a certain cult following on a local level ( though we did play in the states and across Canada as well, ending with a cross Canada jazz fest tour in 1995), that it deserves special attention. We began as Loose Gypsies, with Dan Lapp on trumpet, violin and a smattering of vocals, Marc Atkinson-guitar, and James McRae-drums. We seemed to be receiving a lot of interest, and began getting a lot of work, a number of Canadian Jazz Festivals, opening for Spirit of the West, and so forth. Dan left to pursue a solo career, and we became simply Loose, I sang and we tended to rock out in a psychedelic way. We were voted best band in Victoria a few times, toured a lot on the Gulf Islands and in Western Canada, and opened for everyone from Moxy Fruvous and the Rheostatics to Allan Holdsworth. We had a great time being a band who actually rehearsed and jammed together a lot, old style, we went through a few band vans, bought bigger and louder amps, I began playing more electric bass, we recorded, we almost had some good breaks but didn’t, and we broke up while we were still good friends. There are some good stories to be told, freezing on the highway near Prince George, and of course replacing the engine ourselves in 20 degrees below in Ottawa (in the great sax player Rob Frayne’s driveway), while we missed half the tour.
The Quacktones (1997-2003)
This is basically the band who played Pomp Duck and Circumstance, a crazy cabaret show in Germany with very entertaining and wild music for much of 1997-2003. The band changed a bit but for 4 years we were the core of this experience, I was the bandleader but we were really a band, and we have played thousands of hours together, and hundreds of shows. James Scannel-saxes and flutes and clarinets, Pavel Rendzov- drums and percussion, and Tobias Tinker-keys, including computer. Violinists have included Valentin Gregor, Hannes Schindler and Ulli Bartel, while trumpeters have been Martin Auer, Sven Klammer, Christian Grabandt and the secret agent Achim Rothe.