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Canadian Heritage

Paul Cram


PAUL CRAM (tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, bandleader, composer, arranger, artistic director) was born on August 11, 1952 in Victoria, British Columbia. His famiy relocated to Vancouver when he was eight years old, which is when he first began playing the clarinet and later, inspired by Coltrane, the tenor saxophone. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Music in 1978, and went on from there to form several Toronto-based groups before making Halifax, Nova Scotia his home in 1989.

He is co-founder and Artistic Director of Vancouver’s NOW Orchestra Workshop, Hemispheres in Toronto, and the Upstream Music Association in Halifax, Nova Scotia, all non-profit organizations featuring “large creative improvising rchestras working out beyond the perimeters”.

Cram has toured Canada extensively with the Paul Cram Trio, the Paul Cram Quintet, the Benghazi Sax Quartet, the Ellis/Cram Duo, and the Paul Cram Orchestra, playing everywhere from small bars to major jazz festivals. He has recorded on Onari Records, Appartition Records, Justin Time, Victo Records, and Ombu Records, and has been heard frequently on CBC broadcasts.

The Paul Cram Quintet, featuring bassist Dave Young, performed in the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series at the Ontario Science Centre on November 21, 1988. In 2004, the Paul Cram Orchestra performed at the lauded Jazz em Agosto Festival in Lisbon, Portugal to enthusiastic audience response and rave critical reviews.


1982 - JUNO Award Nominee for ‘Best Jazz Album’ (Blue Tales in Time)

1987 - JUNO Award Nominee for ‘Best Jazz Album’ (Beyond Benghazi)

1997 - Nominated with the Benghazi Quartet for ‘Best Jazz Album’ at East Coast Music Awards

1997 - Nominated for the du Maurier (Jazz) Prize at the Montreal International Jazz Festival

1999 - Winner of a Gemini Award for ‘Best Lifestyle Series’ (Foodessence, Salter Street)

1999 - PROMAX Award for Special Event Promotion (Pier 21, CBC)

1999 - FIPA D’OR Winner from the Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuel in Biarritz, France for Best Film Score (dramatic film One Heart Broken into Song)

2002 - Nominated with the Paul Cram Orchestra for ‘Best Jazz Album’ at East Coast Music Awards

2003 – Nominated for ‘Best Composer’ and ‘Best Big Band’ at the National Jazz Awards

2004 - Nominated for ‘Best Big Band’ at the National Jazz Awards

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