Paul Blissett


Guitar


A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Paul Blissett became interested in a wide variety of music at an early age. It was a period when the guitar was already taking centre stage and contributing to the style, shape and evolution of popular music and its artists.


Immersed in the swing and popular standards of his parents and later, rock and roll and the British invasion, Paul started playing guitar, underage, in some of those infamous Ontario and Quebec bars of the day at the age of sixteen. It seems he was usually the youngest in a long series of rock, country, blues and popular bands; until he started forming his own bands and crafting his own musical journeys.


From gigs in the nations clubs and ballrooms to Rideau Hall, the beat goes on.


Although working with vocalists in those bands, there were always a few instrumentals in the set list. Paul developed an interest in instrumental music and the versatility of the guitar; it was an instrument that could generate the intensity and power of rock, interpret the beautiful melodies of popular songs and reflect the essence of the blues.


Wedged between the music, there were a couple of parallel careers and varied interests in journalism, politics, photography and nature.


Following retirement from my other professional career I decided to start recording and producing my own albums. Consequently, I released Fire and Soul (2007), Guitar Christmas (2010) and Luna in 2012.

The albums continue to log air play with a number of Canadian radio/cable stations as well as internet stations in the U.S. and the U.K.


I have also licensed tracks for compilation albums and various media applications.


Tim Roberts

Fire and Soul


Saxophones, Flute


From London, Ontario, Canada, Tim Roberts was a natural fit for the variety of music presented in this album.


Immersed in rock & roll and rhythm & blues of the 1960’s and 70’s and with a passion for jazz, Tim has developed a sax sound and style that is both classic and unique.


Tim played with my former band, Legend, for a few years and his music career has included shows with Roy Orbison, Ronnie Hawkins, Sherisse Lawrence and a musical directorship with two former members of The Platters. He toured North America as music director of the show band Explosion and his Heritage College Big Band won gold in the ‘Canadian Stage Band Competition’. Tim was asked by Duke Ellington’s family to perform some of Ellington’s religious works and was principal reed player for The Savoy Ellingtons.


Tim formally teaches music and currently performs as a clarinetist with a military band, saxophones with The Brian Downey Big Band and tours with award winning British blues guitarist Otis Grand.


Brian Downey

Fire and Soul

Drums, Percussion


Swing’s the thing and let there be drums. Groove master on the album, Brian Downey started playing drums professionally in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and has covered a lot of musical ground over the years.


He provided the groove, drive and dynamics for a wide range of artists and leads his own big band.


After a number of years playing the Detroit, Chicago and Louisiana jazz and blues scenes and as drummer for the Disney World Concert Band, he moved to Gatineau, Quebec, and formed The Brian Downey Big Band along with quartet and quintet bands. Brian has played with many jazz and blues artists including Chet Baker, Herb Ellis, John Lee Hooker, Eddy Cleanhead Vinson and Teddy Wilson of the Benny Goodman Quartet.


For more information about The Brian Downey Big Band please reference web-site www.BrianDowney.ca


  

Randy Demmon 

Fire and Soul, Guitar Christmas, Luna

Piano, Keyboards


Randy Demmon contributed  piano/keyboards on my Fire and Soul album and was also the Music Director for both the Guitar Christmas and Luna albums.


Randy is a versatile and creative pianist with a talent for painting a song and blending with the music.


Randy is based in Ottawa, Ontario and performs regularly as a pianist and double bassist. As a composer and arranger, his music has been performed by groups ranging from small ensembles and choirs to large bands and symphony orchestras.


Originally from British Columbia, Randy began his career as an oboe/English horn player and continues to teach music theory and improvisation on a wide range of instruments.


Peter Brown 

Fire and Soul

Piano


Peter Brown is a jazz/blues enthusiast and a dynamic pianist. His expertise includes performing, writing, teaching and recording. Peter has been playing and teaching jazz and blues piano in the Ottawa, Ontario, region for sixteen years. He is a permanent member of the Mumbo Jumbo Voodoo Combo and also works with his own jazz group. He has performed and recorded with many local and international artists and has toured with Dutch Mason, Texas guitar great Sherman Robertson and former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor. In 2002, Peter released, Marie-Claude, an album that crosses a variety of genres.


For more information about Peter Brown, please visit www.PeterBrown.ca



Corey Shvetz

Fire and Soul

Bass


Cory Shvetz is a great addition to the rhythm section as he polishes that groove carved by the drums.


From Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Cory grew up in Victoria, British Columbia and moved to Toronto in 1981 to attend the music program at Humber College. Following graduation, he played in several bands including nine years with Juno winning guitarist Jack DeKeyzer. Cory currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario and has been playing with blues band The Mud Boys, The Brian Downey Big Band and The Sway Orchestra.


Mike Belanger

Fire and Soul, Luna

Guitar


Originally from Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, Mike Belanger has been playing guitar professionally for over thirty years. A talented guitarist in rock, blues and country, Mike has developed a guitar style and technique that complements any music format. His interest in guitar and an appreciation for a wide spectrum of music is similar to mine and on a number of the album tracks Mike and I exchange contrasting styled guitar solos.


Mike’s bands have opened for Marty Stewart, David Lee Murphy and Carolyn Dawn Johnson. Over the years he has played with Van Horn, 60 Cycles, Hickory Wind, Bruce Golden, Maria Hawkins, Midnight Highway and Sweet ’n Low Down


Voices of Praise Gospel Group of Ottawa (VOP)

Fire and Soul

Vocals


Referred to as the ‘funky disciples of Gospel’, Voices of Praise describe their music as ranging from “funky rhythm and blues with a new urban attitude, to soulful acappella with a world beat feel.” The group’s vocal arrangements provide an interesting dimension to the songs on the album.


Voices of Praise is featured on the 2005-2006 Howe Gelb Project and has performed on stage with Paul Anka, The Chieftans, Celine Dion, The Barenaked Ladies and Gordon Lightfoot among others. Under the musical directorship of Steve Johnson and Faith Mason and public relations of Joy Clarke, the group also consists of Michael Shaw, Judy Lewis, Jerusha Lewis, Neema Mugala, Christine Mathenge, Patrick Joseph and Suzan Lavertu.


For additional information about VOP, log on to www.vop.freehomepage.com



Julie Robichaud-Martin

Fire and Soul

Vocals


Julie Robichaud-Martin contributed support vocals on a couple of the album tracks. Among her many interests and talents, Julie also teaches a variety of dance styles including jazz and ballroom dancing.


Julie along with Guy Martin own and operate Studio G.R Martin and provided the photography and insert graphics for the Fire and Soul, Guitar Christmas and Luna albums. Julie and Guy are multi-award winning photographers with over 75 provincial, national and international awards.

In their words, " We understand the power of the lens and use it to transform a photo session into an artistic experience.


For more information about Studio G.R. Martin, please reference www.martin-photography.ca



Al Bragg

Fire and Soul

Steel Guitar


Al Bragg is the consummate steel guitar player and his talent and sound is featured on a couple of the album tracks. He has recorded and performed with a series of artists and bands and is active as both a musician and producer. Al has performed on many recording projects and has produced thirty studio albums for a variety of artists.


From Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, Al is a member of the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame, has been nominated by the Canadian Country Music Association five times as best steel player and won the CCMA Best Backup Band’ (with Baker Street) in 1981.


Al started his career with The Family Brown and has toured with Carol Baker, Terry Carisse, South Mountain (where they won Best Foreign Band from Holland), National Defense tours as band leader and played on Lee Towers’ album which went platinum in Holland.


Ken Kanwisher

Fire and Soul, Guitar Christmas, Luna

Double Bass


A talented and much in demand double bassist, Ken Kanwisher has been a freelance bass/double bass player for over twenty years. From Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, he has worked with a wide variety of artists, bands and orchestras both as a bassist and producer. Ken has played and toured with Ian Tamblyn, Sneezy Waters, Charlie Major, The Refrayne Chamber Jazz Group and The National Arts Centre Orchestra. Ken has also performed on various radio and television shows and contributed to several theatrical productions


Don Paterson

Fire and Soul, Guitar Christmas, Luna

Trumpet


Don Paterson and his trumpet style and sound surfaces on a couple of the album tracks.


As an active jazz and blues musician, Don has worked as a freelance musician for various radio and television shows as well as an orchestra member for many musicals at the National Arts Centre. He has participated in the National Defense show tours to entertain Canadian troops and spent many years in various jazz bands ranging from Dixieland and big band jazz to small jazz combos.


From Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Don is a member of the Ragtime Brass for the ‘music in the schools’ program sponsored by the National Arts Centre and currently performs with the Sugar Sticks and the Magnolia Rhythm Kings.


Michel Legault

Fire and Soul

Audio Engineer


Michel Legault’s expertise as audio engineer and general advice was appreciated during the course of this undertaking.


I am sure I could write a book about the project and it is unfortunate we didn’t record the ‘Scotch Sessions’; those post-recording session, scotch-enhanced conceptual design discussions that I initiated as out-takes.


From Ottawa, Ontario, Michel attended Musitechnic in Montreal and graduated in Arts and Music from the University of Ottawa. He started working for Sound of One Hand in 2000 now called Liverpool Court Studios.

The studio also provides consulting, audio, sound and recording services for a wide variety of clients.

Liverpool Court Studio's has recorded many artists and the studio’s reputation is well known and deserved.

As an engineer and producer, Michel has worked on many recording projects ranging from classical to hip-hop.


To learn more about the studio, please reference www.liverpoolcourt.com.



Tom Denison

Guitar Christmas

Drums/Percussion


A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Tom Dennison has been a professional bassist and drummer/percussionist for thirty two years. For a number of years he was a member of the Central Band of the Canadian Forces and The Stradacona Band of Canada’s Navy. Highly regarded on both instruments, Tom has recorded and performed on CBC and CTV television and radio and is the house bassist for the National Arts Centre’s “Manhattan on the Rideau” jazz master class series.


Tom occasionally performs with the N.A.C. Orchestra and has done extensive theatre work as a pit orchestra musician. Through the years he has also participated in the Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal and Fredricton jazz festivals and has performed with a wide range of headlining vocalists.


Tom released his own Christmas CD IN 2002 titled “Comfort and Joy” holiday jazz in the capital.


Steve Groves

Guitar Christmas, Luna

Guitar


Steve Groves’s career spans several decades as a jazz and blues guitarist. At the age of seventeen he hit the road as a professional musician which was shortly followed with music studies at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, majoring in composition and arranging. He later returned to Canada and recorded numerous CBC radio and television shows as both a band leader and sideman. He had the privilege to record with Dave Hildinger and Ottawa’s great sax legend Hugh O’Connor.


In the late seventies Steve moved to New York and over the next fifteen years he had the opportunity to perform with such diverse musicians as blues greats The Holmes Brothers, jazz artists Charlie Rouse and Percy France, classical clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, B3 masters Lonnie Smith and Brother Jack McDuff and Pioneer drummer Sunny Murray.


Influenced by jazz guitarists Howard Roberts and Wes Montgomery and an attraction to the Brazilian nylon string Bossa Nova sound, Steve’s style evolved into a unique fingerstyle montage of harmony and melody. Steve continues to play extensively and teaches at the Ottawa Guitar School and the annual Guitar Summit master class.


For additional information about Steve Groves, please reference www.stevegroves.ca 


Jeff Asselin

Guitar Christmas, Luna

Drums/Percussion


Jeff Asselin was a welcome addition to our recording projects and joined us for both the Guitar Christmas and Luna sessions.


His versatility and talent is impeccable and he has mastered the unique technical aspects of all the musical styles. He is also very creative in the studio and on-stage, contributing elements that are complimentary to both the artist and the song. 


Jeff received his Bachelor of Music Degree (high honors) with a minor in business from Carleton University, was awarded a scholarship with Humber College and in 2009  was hired as an associate professor at Carleton University. Jeff has established a successful teaching career and has received a series of endorsements including Sonor Drums, Cympad and Vic Firth.


Jeff has recorded and toured with a wide variety of artists including The JW Jones Blues Band, Chase Sandborn, Amanda Marshall, Sue Foley, The Texas Horns and has opened for Canned Heat, KC and The Sunshine Band, Kentucky Headhunters, Brian Wilson and Simple Plan among many others. 


Sandy Wilson

Guitar Christmas, Luna

Guitar


Residing in Brockville,Ontario,Canada, Sandy Wilson, contributed his guitar expertise and style to both the Guitar Christmas and Luna sessions.


Sandy brings a wide variety of musical experience to his vocal jazz and guitar playing. He has over forty years of teaching and professional performance experience and was recently inducted into the Music and Performing Arts Hall of Fame in Brockville. Sandy has performed on stage in clubs and lounges from Ontario to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and over the past fifteen years has performed at various clubs in Brockville, Rockport, Ivy Lea and Ottawa with his blues band in addition to his Saturday jazz gig at the Buell Street Bistro.


While in Yellowknife, NWT, he wrote and released an album of original material which won a NWT Arts Grant, played guitar on sessions for other artists and performed in broadcast concerts on CBC Radio and Television.


Sandy teaches private music lessons for guitar, violin, bass and voice and teaches guitar at the St.Lawrence College in Brockville. 


Brian Asselin

Guitar Christmas, Luna

Saxophone


Brian Asselin has developed a beautiful style, tone and attack on the alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and reflects the essence of a variety of musical styles in his playing. It is all in the detail and he instinctively understands the variations and nuances between the blues, jazz, rock and roll and popular styles. 


Brian has been playing saxophone professionally for fifteen years and during that time has toured Canada, the United States and Europe with various bands including The legendary Funk Brothers, Mary Wilson (The Supremes), The Temptations, The JW Jones Band and the Jivewires.


He appears on the recordings of many artists and through the years has also performed with Kim Wilson, Dan Ackroyd, Chase Sanborn, Colin James, Sue Foley, Kathleen Edwards and The Texas Horns.


Brian received his Bachelors in Music from Carleton University and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario playing and teaching full time.


For further information about Brian, please reference www.brianasselinmusic.com.


Quincy Damphousse

Guitar Christmas

Steel Guitar


Quincy Damphousse, with his unique and smooth steel guitar style, joined us for the Guitar Christmas album.

From Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Quincy and his family have a long history in the music business and with his brother, Roger, is a member of the Ottawa Country Music Hall of Fame. Quincy played numerous gigs in the Ottawa Valley until 1970 when he joined the Honey West Show and toured the country with Chiefie Morin and Wayne Rostad. Through the years he has toured and recorded with Joe Teevens, Bob King, Terry Carisse, Irwin Prescott, Marie King, Colleen Peterson and The Prescott Brothers. He also performed with Cajin artist Doug Kershaw, opened for Roy Orbison, was a band member with Wayne Rostad's television show and performed with the Ronnie Prophet show in Nashville.


Although not as intense as the earlier years, Quincy and Roger (guitar) still perform regularly in the Ottawa region.


 

Mike McNeil

Luna

Drums


As a professional musician, Mike McNeil is known for his strong sense of time and his ability to play with other musicians in all kinds of styles. Whether he’s slamming out the back beats for a disco band, laying it in the pocket for a funk tune, floating the brushes over the drums for a ballad, making the time swing for the jazz crowd or laying out a quiet and serene bossa nova with a delicate touch, he’s there helping to make the music happen. Recent highlights in Mike’s music career include working as a cruise ship show band drummer, performing with Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters, studying with Juno Award winning drummer Paul Delong (Kim Mitchell), performing at the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Ottawa International Jazz Festivals, and performing on the main stage of The 2009 Cisco Systems Ottawa Blues Fest with Jeff Rogers and The Liquid Sound.


www.mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca


Mike Tremblay

Luna


Saxophone


A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Mike Tremblay joined us on the Luna sessions on saxophones as part of the horn section for the album. He is a talented and versatile player with a sound, technique and style that transitions very well to a wide variety of musical genres. His attention to detail is particularly noticed in his support of the artist and the music.

    

Mike has more than twenty years of experience in the music industry as a saxophonist/educator and holds a BA MUS from Carleton University where he currently teaches. Mike adjudicates for Musicfest Canada and the Kiwanis Music Festival, founded the Ottawa Saxophone Camp and was the music director of the 2010 OCDSB Secondary School All-Star Jazz Ensemble.


Performance and recording credits include Natalie Cole, Josh Groban, Alanis Morissette, John Pizzarelli, Lou Rawls, Bob Newhart and Beradette Peters. He also performs with the National Arts Centre Orchestra as part of the CTV Pops Series and has also toured recently with Holly Larocque and the Mark Ferguson Orchestra.

In 2009 Mike co-released the CD “Home” with pianist Mark Ferguson.


Further information is available at www.miketremblay.com    

John Steele

Luna

Originally from Renfrew, Ontario, John Steele contributed pedal steel guitar and banjo on the Luna album.


A talented multi instrumentalist, John is a familiar face on the Ottawa music scene; frequently found playing piano in jazz combos, occupying the pedal steel chair for country shows or popping up in bluegrass settings as a banjo player.


More recently, John is most often seen playing the 5-string banjo with the Dusty Drifters bluegrass band and laying down pedal steel guitar for country rockers, The Cooper Brothers.


Through the years John has been the sideman of choice for The Peter Turner Quartet, Ronnie Prophet, The Anders Drerup Band, The Bluesaholics and The Grievous Angel Band among many others.



Steve Foley

Steve Foley was the recording and mixing engineer for both the Guitar Christmas and Luna albums.

Steve started as an audio engineer in 2001, and with Keith Glass, has owned and managed the Audio Valley Recording Studio since 2003


The studio has recorded a long series of successful albums in a variety of formats. An expert and intuitive recording and mixing engineer, Steve is also a talented musician and multi-instrumentalist and has worked with a long series of country and rock bands.

Steve also played acoustic rhythm guitar on some of the Luna tracks. 


For additional information about Steve and Audio Valley Recording, please reference www.audiovalley.ca