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Andy Ballantyne

A native of Toronto, Canada, Andy Ballantyne began learning music in the Toronto public school system, studying clarinet and saxophone. He soon developed an interest in jazz and studied privately with Woody Herman alumnus Steve Lederer. Later teachers included Pat Labarbara, Alex Dean and Mike Murley. Exposure to recordings of the Stan Kenton Band, Nimmons and Nine Plus Six, and especially Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass fueled an early interest in composition and arranging. Andy went on to study arranging, orchestration and composition with Ron Collier at Humber College and Phil Nimmons at the University of Toronto. Andy gained his first professional experience at Expo’86 in Vancouver playing daily for five months with the Humber College big band under the direction of Ron Collier, and went on to play in the Ron Collier Jazz Orchestra up until the time of Ron’s death in 2003. Over the past 20 years, Andy has established himself on the Toronto scene as a versatile performer on both tenor and alto saxophones, as well as a skilled woodwind doubler, arranger, composer and jazz educator. He is a regular member of several noted jazz groups, including the Juno Award winning Rex Hotel Orchestra, the Brian Dickinson Jazz Orchestra, Brian Barlow Big Band, Martin Loomer's Orange Devils swing band, and the Toronto Saxophone Quartet. Having the opportunity to perform with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass was a particular thrill, and Andy was featured on Rob's epic arrangement of “All The Things You Are” on the band's final recording “Live at the Old Mill”

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”Reedman/composer Andy Ballantyne has found plenty to work with deploying his A-list troops on The Sum of the Parts (Indie). He's written seven of the ten pieces here, and has made charts of substance for a group with four saxophones, two trumpets and two trombones, balanced by the thriving rhythm section of pianist David Braid, bassist Mike McClennan and drummer Daniel Barnes. Together they pull off the tricky feat of balancing improvisation with composition. Everyone solos, eight of them on the fascinating opener “American Portrait,” and the ensemble creates unusually rich blends throughout from the leader's crafted structures

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Discography

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