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Canadian Heritage

Alastair Kay


ALASTAIR KAY (trombonist) is widely recognized as one of Canada's finest trombonists. Over the past three decades, he has performed with some of the world's best orchestras, entertainers, and jazz artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Phil Woods, Mel Torme, Renee Rosnes, Diana Krall, Lionel Hampton, Slide Hampton, Bill Watrous and many others. He played lead trombone with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass for 15 years and guested with the Rob McConnell Tentet on several occasions.

His virtuosity and versatility have made him a first-call player for most of the studio, musical theatre, and jazz gigs in Toronto. In the recording studios, he has played on more than a thousand radio and television jingles and soundtracks, and on a multiplicity of CDs, records, and feature film soundtracks. He has been an integral part of Toronto's musical theatre production scene for many years, playing in long-running hit shows including "The Lion King", "Ragtime", "Fosse", "Crazy for You", and "Chicago".

He is highly respected as a classical musician, too, playing principal trombone with many major regional orchestras, including seven seasons with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Touring Orchestra. He has worked frequently with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, and in many contemporary music ensembles. Al is also busy as a soloist, playing standard classical and his own jazz repertoire with orchestras, concert bands and brass bands across Canada.

Al is also a dedicated educator. In addition to the hundreds of clinics and master classes he has given, and continues to give, he holds a full-time faculty position as Head of the Brass Department at Humber College in Toronto where his duties include teaching improvisation, brass master classes, private lessons, leading several jazz combos and the brass choir (small and large chamber ensembles).

Since becoming a Yamaha artist several years ago, he has performed in and presented numerous Yamaha-sponsored brass clinics and concerts. Travelling to Japan, he worked with Yamaha's head instrument designers on a new small-bore lead trombone, model YSL 697Z, an instrument which has since received rave reviews from all who have tried it, and quickly sold out in Canada. In 1997, Alastair Kay was honoured by Jazz Report Magazine as Canada's "Jazz Trombonist of the Year".

Al was part of the highly successful Boss Brass reunion concerts in December 2008

1997 - named Jazz Report Magazine's "Jazz Trombonist of the Year".