People aspire to be master of many skills and Al Muirhead is one who has accomplished this dream and has no plans of slowing down. Whether it is playing a sweet and melodic trumpet solo, composing and arranging for a big band, small ensemble or orchestra, performing one take sessions on recordings or mentoring young musicians, Al is an inspiration in the Canadian music scene and is known as the "Elder statesman of Jazz Trumpet in Alberta".

Al Muirhead News & Trumpet Tips

Breakout West Performance with Jack Semple 

So happy to be back in my hometown performing this evening as part of the Western Canadian Music Awards at the Breakout West Festival. Such an honour to be nominated for Jazz Artist of the Year!

What started as a small affair performing in trio tonight has expanded with so many wonderful musicians in town.

Joining my trio of Jack Semple on guitar and Kodi Hutchinson on bass will be drummer Tyler Hornby, pianist Kristian Alexandrov and Dean McNeil on trumpet. Looking forward to making music with so many old friends.

Show is at 10:15pm at the Capitol club in Regina, SK.


YYC Music Award Win 

Such an honour this past weekend to be the first ever recipient of the 'Jazz Artist of the Year' award at the inaugural YYC Music Awards.

Congratulations to all my fellow nominees: Johnny Summers, Tyler Hornby, The Hutchinson Andrew Trio and the KIVA Singers.

Wonderful event at the brand new National Music Centre in Calgary!


CD Review - Oop! - Ted Quinlan - The Whole Note 

Oop! CD Review - Ted Quinlan (TheWholeNote.com)

Oop! - Al Muirhead; Tommy Banks; PJ Perry 
Chronograph Records CR045 (www.chronographrecords.com) 

Oop! by Calgary-based trumpeter Al Muirhead exemplifies the reasons that the American songbook continues to inspire jazz musicians some eight decades after many of its tunes were originally written. Accompanied by iconic musicians PJ Perry on alto saxophone and Tommy Banks on piano, Muirhead virtually owns the compositions presented here and embodies the approaches that are essential to getting deeply inside this time-honoured material. All three of these musicians (as well as percussionist Rogerio Boccato who guests on Black Orpheus) possess a longstanding connection to this music and play it in the most natural way possible. 

Miles Davis’ The Theme (based on the chord changes to Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm) opens the album with Muirhead and Perry playing the line in harmony over Banks’ relentlessly swinging piano. Perry, one of the world’s finest exponents of the bebop tradition, solos brilliantly followed by Muirhead who exhibits impeccable taste and tone in his relaxed, melodic delivery. Tommy Banks plays one perfect chorus of unaccompanied piano, demonstrating his blues-infused bop style. Rhythm changes, as we refer to tunes based on the classics, are a test piece for jazz musicians and The Theme firmly establishes the impressive credentials of these players. 

The ballad medley is a testament to the deceptively simple art of playing a melody beautifully. Alfred Newman’s Street Scene, featured in the overture of How To Marry A Millionaire, and an uncharacteristically languid reading of Mean To Me, are pleasant surprises from this superb trio of seasoned pros.

- Ted Quinlan (TheWholeNote.com)

Oop! #5 on Canadian Jazz Radio for Month of May 

!earshot charts - may 2016 - top 20 jazz 

Asterisk (*) denotes Canadian artists. All !earshot charts in this issue reflect actual airplay on campus/community stations during the month of May 2016. Charts are weighted according to broadcast range and market size. To view older charts from as far back as 1999, go to our charts main page. 

top 200 >> electronic | hip hop | international | jazz | loud | folk/roots/blues | main charts page 

1 Atlantis Jazz Ensemble * Oceanic Suite Marlow 
2 Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up Old Locks And Irregular Verbs Pi 
3 Snarky Puppy Culch Vulcha Ground Up 
4 Nick Fraser Quartet* Starer Self-Released 
5 Al Muirhead * Oop! Chronograph 
6 Organik Vibe Trio Things We Did Last Summer Cellar Live 
7 James Danderfer * Time and Tide Reigning Parade 
8 The Beeched Wailers * The Johnson Lake Sessions Self-Released 
9 Ches Smith The Bell ECM 
10 Dr. Lonnie Smith Evolution Blue Note 
11 Horse Lords Interventions Northern Spy 
12 Misc * Misc Bonsound 
13 Gunwale Polynya Aerophonic 
14 Thumbscrew Convallaria Cuneiform 
15 See Through 5 * Utilities All-Set! 
16 Kinga * Guess Who I Saw Today Arts7 
17 Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus The Distance ECM 
18 Brahja Waldman * Wisdomatic Self-Released 
19 Alex Goodman * Border Crossing OA2 
20 Myriad3 * Moons Alma

Cadence Magazine Review - 'It's About Time' 

Thanks to Sheila Thistlethwaite who came across a nice review of 'It's About Time' from Cadence Magazine's January 2016 issue:


Muirhead, tpt, b tpt, vcl; P. J. Perry, as, ts; Tommy Banks, p; kodi Hutchinson, b; Tyler Hornby, d.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

Here's a new name for us. Our neighbors to the north have produced many musicians we have eventually become familiar with, Oscar Peterson being the most well known. But trumpet ace Al Muirhead is very well known among fellow Canadian musicians especially on the studio scene where he has appeared on a multitude of albums many by A-list artists. The easily recognized reed master P.J. Perry is probably the most recognizable to Cadence readers and life-long friend Tommy Banks mans the piano bench. The principal's clear, ringing tones are heard on eleven tracks many of which are salutes to trumpet kings (Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown and Miles Davis). The title number and “Ida Mae” are both from Muirhead's pen and while not especially memorable serve as good blowing vehicles. With eight decades in his pocket, 
it is heartening to see veteran players receiving some well-deserved exposure while they are still here to enjoy it. - Larry Hollis

Breakout West Nomination 

Found out today that I was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for Jazz Artist of the Year!

Such a whirlwind of nominations, I'm overwhelmed by the response to my music! I guess it ain't over till the fat lady sings!


Thank you for the overwhelming support at the JUNOs! 

Thank you so much for all of your well-wishes at the JUNO's this past weekend!

It was such an honour to be nominated, and the winner Robi Botos is an amazing person and musician. Well-deserved!

Had such a great time playing at Ironwood for the Jazz Showcase with my band and special guest Chris Andrew on piano. Was so happy to have Tommy make it down to the show in time to sit in for a couple of tunes. PJ, Kodi & Tyler sounded great! Jens Lindemann came and played one of my trumpets with me as well!

Such an amazing night performing live at the JUNO awards on Saturday night with the JUNO Jazz All-Stars (Jerry Granelli, Tommy Banks, Kodi Hutchinson, Allison Au, Rich Brown, Robi Botos, Mark Kelso & myself). I'm told you can download the track on itunes!

Looking forward to making more music! All the best!

JUNO Nomination - 'It's About Time' 

A whirlwind of a day. Just found out that my debut album 'It's About Time' has been nominated for a JUNO award in the 'Jazz Album of the Year: Solo' category. Very humbled and honoured to be mentioned with so many other wonderful jazz artists!

To see the nominees this year: www.junoawards.ca/nominees

Thank you already to the many well-wishers on this exciting announcement!

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Prime Time Big Band

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Ironwood Stage & Gril, 1229 9 Ave SE, Calgary

Saturday afternoon brunch with Prime Time Big Band at the Ironwood Stage & Grill in Inglewood is now in its 13th season! Every two weeks, the 20-piece Prime Time plays a new program to packed houses of all ages. They come to hear music ranging from Duke Ellington classics to The Big Phat Band’s exuberant contemporary tunes.

Founded 20 years ago by bandleader Dave Jones, Prime Time’s membership is made up of almost all of the city’s most veteran jazz musicians, including Eric Friedenberg on saxophones and woodwinds, Al Muirhead on trumpet and flugelhorn, Brian Walley on trombone, Kai Poscente on bass and John de Waal on drums, playing alongside more recently established pros.

The concerts include vocal selections by singing sensation Deanne Matley, whose first CD Stealin’ Blue enjoyed top 10 jazz play across Canada and whose three later recordings have found a growing fanbase worldwide.

“One of the best big bands in Canada” – Kodi Hutchinson, A Time for Jazz, CKUA Radio

“A spectacular who’s who of local players” – Mike Bell, Calgary Herald

Admission is $20 adults and $15 students/children plus GST.

Reservations recommended: 403-269-5581 and reservations@ironwoodstage.ca.

Admission is $20 adults and $15 students/children plus GST Age limit: All ages