Skip to content

Burlington pianist nominated for jazz group of the year Juno

The band is missing the Juno Awards ceremony to play a legendary New York City jazz club.
Brian Dickinson, and the band Canadian Jazz Collective, are up for Jazz Album of the Yera: Group.

Brian Dickinson began been playing piano with what he describes as the nice little old lady piano teacher when he was five years old. 

Moving from the likes of Beethoven and Bach, Dickinson found himself playing more rock and jazz as a young adult – and has been nominated for a handful of Junos, including this year's award for jazz album of the year: group, as a member of the Canadian Jazz Collective. 

“It’s a group of musicians, many of whom I’ve been playing with for decades,” Dickinson said. “Kirk MacDonald is our tenor sax player, we’ve been playing together since we were in our early 20s. His daughter, Virginia, is the new one on the scene, she has a great, individual, modern take on the clarinet.”

The band also consists of American trumpet player Derrick Gardnert, Lorne Lofsky on guitar, Neil Swainson on bass, and Belgian drummer Bernd Reiter. 

Some of the Canadians had to let the international players know just what they were up for. 

“Derek actually taught at the University of Manitoba for a few years, so he’s a token Canadian because he did his time in Winnipeg,” Dickinson said. “Bernd was new to the concept of the Junos though.”

Though he now lives in Burlington, Dickinson and the rest of the group recorded their album 
Septology-The Black Forest Session in a few studios around Europe, and followed with a tour of the continent. 

McDonald, Gardnert, and Lofsky write the majority of the music, and decide where the performances go stylistically. 

“It’s an interesting mishmash of the three writers, because there’s contrast but they’re all on the same wavelength,” Dickinson said. “I’d call it modern mainstream jazz, because it’s not acoustic and it’s coming from a lot of the music that was around in the late 1960s like Miles Davis.”

Unfortunately, none of the members of the Canadian Jazz Collective will be at the Juno Awards in Halifax on March 24, as they’re slotted to play a show at Birdland Jazz Club in New York City that night. 

The original Birdland opened in 1949, with saxophone legend Charlie Parker headlining. Other names including John Coltrane, George Shearing, and even Miles Davis have played Birdland at one point. The club has since moved locations from a block over from the jazz hotbed of 52nd street to its current spot on 44th street

“I’m looking forward to that one, I’ve never played that club before,” Dickinson said. 

Jazz runs in the family – and so do Juno nominations – as Dickinson’s son Sam plays guitar on Russ Macklem’s album The South Detroit Connection, which is up for Jazz Album of the Year: Solo. 

The Juno Awards will be broadcast on CBC. Dickinson said even though the band can’t be there in person, they’ll be watching. 

To listen to the Juno nominated album Septology - The Black Forest Session, click here

What's next?

Reader Feedback

Chris Arnold

About the Author: Chris Arnold

Chris Arnold has worked as a journalist for half a decade, covering national news, entertainment, arts, education, and local features
Read more
push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks