Roy Patterson

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About Roy Patterson


"Patterson...a perfectionist with a big, round and dominating sound that turns every tune into a stimulating experience.." - The Toronto Star

"every note that he plays seems to have a purpose and a place, and both purpose and place usually have something to do with melody." -The Globe and Mail

For guitarist Roy Patterson, growing up in rural Nova Scotia provided a strong sense of individuality rooted in the history of the land that would play a large part in his music. But early musical influences of rock, blues, and R&B are what fostered Roy's interest and passion for the guitar. He performed with local groups touring Atlantic Canada, and worked as a seaman in between bands, always exploring the mysteries of jazz, listening intensely to the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, and other masters from the jazz tradition.

In 1978, the 24 year old made the move to Toronto, and brought along an intense practice routine and a burning desire to play music. Since then he has performed with many of Canada's jazz elite, including Don Thompson, The Doug Riley/Phil Dwyer Quartet, The Barry Elmes Quintet, The Bob Mover Quartet, Mike Murley, Bernie Senensky and many other highly accomplished artists. His style has drawn comparisons with some of the most respected guitarists in North America, and his playing has taken him to Finland, Istanbul, Italy and the U.S.A. In the spring of 2002 Roy was invited to take part in a series of concerts and a workshop for the Commission Project in Rochester, New York where he performed with a number of U.S. musicians including John Faddis, Keeter Betts, Jay Leonhart, Akira Tana and Fred Wesley.

Since the release of his first recording in 1989, Roy has built a body of original work which demonstrates a personal, evocative style drawn from early musical influences and eastern meditative practices. His fourth CD, Inland Passages, was released in 1997 and came about as a result of the Roy Patterson Quartet winning the coveted Prix de Jazz at Montreal's Festival International de Jazz, the first Toronto based band ever to win this competition. The substantial award brought exposure through national radio, television, and a tour that concluded at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Inland Passages is a testament to Roy's own earthbound and spiritual journeys and his pursuit of adventure.

Other credits include the Jazz Report magazine award for Guitarist of the Year for 2000, and the formation of the Toronto Jazz Composers Collective (a non-profit group dedicated to the performance and dissemination of Canadian jazz compositions) the composition and performance of music for string quartet and jazz trio in collaboration with pianist and composer Brian Dickinson (presented by the Chamber Music Society of Southern Ontario) and performances with Japanese jazz musicians as part of a cultural exchange sponsored by the Japan Foundation and the Consulate General of Japan.

Along the way to establishing his credentials as a performer, Roy obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, and a Master of Music from McGill University. While continuing to compose and perform, he endeavors to pass along his knowledge and experience as an educator. He spent 15 years teaching at the University of Toronto, is currently a Course Director at York University and has for over a decade been a regular contributor to the U.S. publication, Just Jazz Guitar.

Roy Patterson joined the JazzTimes community on Dec 13, 2010