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Canadian Heritage

Chris Mitchell


CHRIS MITCHELL (saxophonist, arranger, composer) was born in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He lived and performed in the province of Nova Scotia from 1989 to 1996 when he moved to Toronto, Ontario to continue with his already well-established career as a busy studio musician and live jazz performer. After several successful years performing on the Toronto scene, he returned to Nova Scotia to accept an appointment as Professor of Saxophone Studies and Jazz Educator at Dalhousie University in Halifax, where he also maintains ‘MitchMusic’, a full-scale commercial music company composing for a variety of soundtrack applications.

Mitchell’s mastery of a diversity of styles and proficiency in several music genres have earned him feature spots on numerous television, radio, and commercial jingle productions, and CD recordings by many established Canadian artists, in addition to his own projects. He was a member of the Benghazi Saxophone Quartet (later known on their two Justin Time CDs as ‘Benghazi Sax’) for their successful 12-city tour of Canadian jazz festivals in 1997.

He released his second solo recording, ‘The Witches of Redbeard’ (Koch) in 1998. In addition to showcasing Mitchell’s own indisputable abilities as both a performer and arranger, the recording features saxophone icon Phil Woods as guest artist, and stellar sidemen including Kirk MacDonald, Jerry Fuller, Neil Swainson, Jamie Gatti, and Tom Roach. The release of the recording triggered an invitation to the Chris Mitchell Quintet to perform at the 1999 Montreal International Jazz Festival where they were awarded the ‘Prix de Jazz du Maurier’, a win that gave them the financial boost, studio time, and a Justin Time licensing arrangement to permit the completion and release of their critically-acclaimed ‘Spectrum’ (Justin Time) album.

Mitchell performed and recorded several times with the great B3 maestro Doug Riley, including during a sold-out performance in the ‘Symphony of Jazz’ world premiere of Riley’s ‘Prince Edward Island Suite’ concerto for symphony and jazz quartet. He is one of three musicians who tour the world with singer Michael Burgess, and continues to arrange, compose, perform, and record, in tandem with his responsibilities as a jazz educator.