THE MAPLE BLUES BAND
The Maple Blues Band: (From left to right) Michael Fonfara, Pat Carey, Gary Kendall, Chris Whiteley, Tom Bona, Teddy Leonard, Chris Murphy, Al Lerman. (Photo by Tracey Savein, Southpaw Productions)
The Maple Blues Band has been a cornerstone of the annual Maple Blues Awards Ceremony in Toronto since 1999. This world class, eight member group includes some of Canada’s highly respected blues musicians, all of whom are multiple Maple Blues Award winners and nominees.
Providing the MBA’s musical background and theme, The Maple Blues Band also accompanies all the special guests who perform as part of that special night.
The Maple Blues Band with singers John Mays (Fathead), Chuck Jackson (Downchild) and Dawn Tyler Watson are also part of the touring ensemble, The Maple Blues Revue www.maplebluesrevue.com. They have released one recording, Live at Twisted Pines on the Preservation Music label.
Gary Kendall | Band Leader | Bass | www.garykendall.com
Teddy Leonard | Lead Guitar
Teddy Leonard has won The Maple Blues Award for Guitarist of The Year once and been nominated in that category three times. He is a longtime member of the Juno and Maple Blues Award winning band Fathead . A guitarist who is known for his own original blues sound, Teddy has recorded and toured with Fathead, Little Mack Simmons, Big Daddy G, The Johnny Max Band, Paul Reddick, Porkbelly Futures, The Gary Kendall Band and Rita Chiarelli along with maintaining a busy career as a freelancer. In 2010 the city of London, Ontario presented Teddy Leonard with “The Jimmy Lewis Award”, a life time achievement award recognizing his long career as a blues musician.
Michael Fonfara | Hammond Organ & Electric Piano | www.iridescentmusic.ca
Long known as one of the busiest, most versatile keyboard players in North America, Michael Fonfara has added immeasurably to hundreds of recording sessions in a career that began in the 60s when he was a member of Mike Bloomfield’s, Electric Flag and the supergroup, Rhinoceros. Since then he has played with artist’s as varied as Lou Reed and Solomon Burke. A member of The Downchild Blues Band since 1992, Fonfara has won The Maple Blues Award for Keyboard Player of The Year four times and has be nominated in that category nine times.
Chris Murphy | Baritone Saxophone & Horn Arrangements | www.chrismurphysax.com
Saxophonist, Chris Murphy has been a full-time musician since 1978 and has been fronting his own band since 1985. HOTWIRED, his 3rd solo CD, and his 7th recording as a bandleader was released in October 2011. Chris has toured and recorded with Jack de Keyzer, Alberta Adams (Detroit’s Queen of the Blues) and Chicago Pete.
Multi-instrumentalist Al Lerman (harmonica, tenor saxophone, guitar and vocals) is the band leader of the 2x Juno Award winning blues/roots outfit FATHEAD. He also performs regularly as a solo acoustic artist and has released two critically acclaimed solo albums to date. He can often be heard as a guest artist with a variety of top-notch bands. Al has produced and/or appeared on numerous internationally acclaimed recordings including releases by blues greats Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Morgan Davis and Mel Brown. He has received several Maple Blues nominations in his instrument categories.
Pat Carey | Tenor Saxophone | www.patcarey.ca
Pat Carey has been the saxophone player with The Downchild Blues Band since 1985. Pat has received seven Maple Blues Awards for Horn Player of The Year and has been nominated fifteen times in that category. A very busy freelance musician, Pat has appeared on Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne’s Juno Award Winning CD “Let It Loose”, Sam Myers’ WC Handy Award Nominated CD “Coming From The Old School”, as well as numerous recordings by Downchild, Fathead, Jack de Keyzer, Rita Chiarelli, Jimmy Cavallo, Ron Hynes, Curley Bridges, Gary Kendall, Raoul & The Big Time, and many others. He also leads and records with his own jazz group, Pat Carey’s Jazz Navigators.
Chris Whiteley | Trumpet, Guitar & Harmonica | www.chriswhiteley.com
Chris Whiteley has been performing, recording and composing blues and roots music for over 30 years. He has received numerous awards, including Maple Blues Awards for Horn Player of The Year, Songwriter of The Year, Blues With A Feeling Award, a Jazz Report Award for Blues Album of The Year, and six Juno Award nominations. He has performed on Saturday Night Live with Leon Redbone and with his brother Ken at the Chicago Blues Festival. He has appeared on over 150 recordings and his compositions have been recorded by Amos Garrret, Fathead, Cindy Church, Penny Lang and Quartette. His successful partnership with Diana Braithwaite has produced to excellent recordings, “Morning Sun” and “Night Birds” on the Electro-fi label.
Tom Bona | Drums | www.tombona.com
Tom Bona (Toronto/Halifax) is a multiple Maple Blues Award Winner, including five time winner for Drummer of the Year. A long time member of the ‘Maple Blues Revue Band’, and ‘Raoul and the Big Time’, Tom also holds drumming duties for roots innovators ‘Jon Knight and Soulstack’, and the critically acclaimed “Life Death and the Blues” touring theater production. Tom has toured, performed and recorded with a diverse variety of national and international artists, in many different genres encompassing blues, r&b, pop, and country, with the likes of The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, The Powder Blues, Wilderness of Manitoba, Steve Lukather (Toto), Martha and the Muffins, Sue Foley, Jeff Healey, Colin James, Colin Linden, Duke Robillard, Roxanne Potvin, Jarvis Church and the Good Brothers. Career highlights include; an appearance at the Cape Breton International Drum Festival, presenting a solo drum workshop called “The Seven Beats of Blues and Other Groovy Grooves”, performing with Muddy Water’s drummer, Willie Big Eyes Smith, and re-recording the pop song “Echo Beach” with Martha and the Muffins to celebrate the song’s 30th Anniversary.
Jim Casson | Drums | www.jimcasson.com
Jim Casson is a veteran of the Canadian Blues Scene for over 25 years. Notably spending many years in Downchild (Recorded 2 albums and winner of Maple Blues Award for Album of the Year.) He has also toured and / or recorded with Rita Chiarelli, The Official Blues Brothers Revival (Musical Director), Sparkjiver, Chuck Jackson’s All-Stars, The Mighty Duck Blues Band, Jani Lauzon, Carlos del Junco, Bill King’s Rockit 88 Band, The Gary Kendall Band, The Stickmen, Chris Murphy, Joe Mavety and many others.
He has twice been nominated for a Maple Blues Award for Drummer Of The Year, won the Jazz Report Blues Band of the Year with Downchild and has had performances nominated for Junos and Genies. He has released two critically acclaimed solo albums under the name “Dark Orchard”. He teaches several students and has his recording studio “The Cherry Pit” at his farm in Niagara.
The Maple Blues Revue performs “Let The Good Times Roll” at the Dutch Mason Blues Festival in Truro, Nova Scotia.