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Live From Frankie’s & The Yardbird

Al Muirhead

Released Mar 26 2021

Pre-order now! All vinyl copies include a digital download card, and all pre-orders will receive signatures from Al Muirhead himself.

Al Muirhead is considered by many in Calgary, Alberta and Western Canada as one of the veterans and pioneers of the region’s jazz scene. He has been performing professionally for 70 years, since he began with the Regina Symphony Orchestra at age twelve in 1947! Al’s expertise includes the trumpet, flugelhorn and rare the bass trumpet. He grew up playing in the dance halls and in big bands with musicians like Tommy Banks, PJ Perry, and Mart Kenny.

In 2014, Al began his recording career at the age of 79 years old. Sure, he had been on a number of other musicians’ projects throughout the years, but didn’t yet have his own recordings. Producer and double bassist Kodi Hutchinson approached Al with the idea to capture his playing while he is still performing at a high level, and after some thought and discussion with his wife, Al decided to jump right in.

Since then, Al has released four albums so far, with his first and fourth nominated for JUNO Awards (a rare feat for a Calgarian jazz artist). He has recorded with Order of Canada recipients Tommy Banks, Guido Basso, Don Thompson, and other heavy weight jazz performers Laila Biali, Reg Schwager, Mike Murley, Kelly Jefferson and more.

The underlying theme for all this recorded music is the concept of legacy. After such a long career, it was time to capture Al’s playing and the music he loves to play. The method was to plan for some jazz standards ahead of the recording sessions, but also to allow for organic creation through in-the-moment decisions and improv. Some of his best tracks have been spontaneous, single takes!

This live recording project speaks to the concept of legacy. It captures the organic nature of live jazz that is spontaneous from one night to the next. It’s an in-the-moment recording that can’t be replicated and is very different than a produced, studio recording. A live recording captures the musical conversation that happens on stage – there is no option for overdubs or retakes. It’s a pure representation of the musicianship that Al and his band have brought to the Canadian cultural landscape for so many years.

Al Muirhead – Bass Trumpet / Trumpet
Kelly Jefferson – Tenor Saxophone
Neil Swainson – Double Bass
Reg Schwager – Guitar
Jesse Cahill – Drums
Jim Head – Guitar
Ted Warren – Drums