Toronto Blues Society | » THE MAPLE BLUES BAND




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.

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Band Members

Gary Kendall | Band Leader | Bass | Musical Director |

“A career spanning 55 years with a motto of don’t quit, traveling a blues highway that never ends”

The Maple Blues Band’s musical director and band leader is one of the best known bassist’s in Canadian Blues primarily because of his long time association with the legendary Downchild Blues Band and numerous other musical adventures. He has won the Maple Blues Award for Bassist of the Year eight times and received twenty nominations in that category. In 1993 he received the prestigious “Blues With A Feeling Award” from The Toronto Blues Society. In 2002, the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario presented him with the “Thunder Blues Award”, along with The Thunder Bay Blues Society`s “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award.  As part of Downchild he celebrated the Juno Award winning recording “Can You Hear The Music” and the Maple Blues Recording of the Year awards for “I Need A Hat” and “Come On In”

As a sideman, Gary Kendall has appeared  with  blues legends Snooky Pryor, Sunnyland Slim, Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, Big Jay McNeeley, Bob Margolin, Big Dave MacLean, Duke Robillard, Morgan Davis, Zora Young, Phil Guy, Johnny Rawls and Joe Louis Walker.  He has been part of ten Downchild releases and recorded with David Vest, The Kendall Wall Band, The Maple Blues Revue, Matt Lucas, Chris Murphy, Little Bobby & The Jumpstarts, Peter Schmidt & Shane Scott, Maria Aurigema, Ray Edge, Braithwaite & Whiteley Judy Brown and Son Roberts. His own 47 Records label has released the solo recordings, Dusty & Pearl and Feels Real Strong with the digital singles, This Sacred Ground and Sumlin Around.

When not with Downchild, The Maple Blues Band or The Gary Kendall Band, his insatiable need to play good music finds him with The Hogtown Allstars, Robin Banks, The Swingin Blackjacks, Big Groove and The Mighty Duck Blues Band.


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.




Lance Anderson | Piano & Organ |

Lance is a Juno award winning producer (Leahy) and the 2014 Maple Blues Award ‘Keyboardist of the Year’. He was trained as a classical composer and has both film and TV credits as a writer.

Considered one of Canada’s finest roots record producers, Lance has his own label Make It Real Records which only records live-off-the floorand captures the drama of a real performance. Blackburn, Fathead, Garth Hudson, Roly Platt, The Cameo Blues Band and 2B3 The Toronto Sessions are just some of the artists Lance has produced.

Lance spent ten years touring North America and the world with Shakura S’Aida and arranged two Symphony shows that she wrote and performed.

As musical director and session pianist Lance has worked with, Ian Gillam, Ms. S’Aida,, Danny Brooks, Jackie Richardson, John Finley, Matt Weidinger, Quisha Wint amongst many others. Lance has had an eclectic career, from writing songs with Gordon Pinsent to performing with Lee Oskar in Panama and Roger Whittaker in Ireland! From rockin’ boogie and blues piano to jazz, N’Orleans R&B and orchestral music and filmscores.

Lance is also an internationally known Hammond organ player, and his organ and drum duo, Anderson & Sloski have been featured on CBC Radio’s Saturday Night Blues and are set to release their second CD in the fall of 2018. He is co-executive producer of the Boquete Panama Jazz and Blues Festival, and is Artistic Director of ‘Gathering’ a music, dance and art festival in Orillia ON.



Alison Young | Baritone Saxophone |

Born and raised in Ottawa, JUNO nominated saxophonist and composer Alison Young discovered jazz at an early age, gravitating towards the exuberance of Sonny Rollins and Cannonball Adderley, who continue to influence her to this day. As well as being featured in the National Youth Jazz Ensemble at the Ottawa jazz festival in 2001 and 2002, she began playing professionally as a teenager, developing an affinity for soul and R&B as well as jazz. Since moving to Toronto in the early 2000s to study music at the University of Toronto, Alison has been an active presence on the Toronto jazz scene.

​As a sideman, Alison is versatile and in-demand, at home on soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, in a wide range of genres. She has toured across North America, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia with Joe Sealy, the Heillig Manoeuvre, Alysha Brilla, Big Rude Jake, Johnny Reid, and the Shuffle Demons, and has appeared on over 40 recordings. Her 2018 album, ‘So Here We Are’, has received regular play on JazzFM and CBC radio, as well as numerous jazz radio programs across Canada. In DownBeat magazine, writer Ted Panken described her playing at the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival as having “endless creativity and flair”. In 2017 Alison was chosen as one of the ‘Best 35 jazz Canadian Jazz Artists under 35’ by the CBC. Later that year, she was featured in Pat LaCroix and Ted O’Reilly’s book, “Toronto Jazz Treasures” alongside many of her musical heroes. In the summer of 2019, Alison toured across Canada accompanying iconic pop star Corey Hart, and was featured on his single “Dreaming Time Again”.

​Alison has been leading her own band in various formations since 2012,  composing and arranging for duo through to septet. Her latest project features a line up of her favourite Toronto musicians: virtuoso bassist Ross MacIntyre on upright and electric; Saskatchewan’s hard swinging Jeff McLeod on piano and organ; the eclectic and energetic Eric St Laurent on guitar; and the excellent Sly Juhas and Chris Wallace alternating on drums. The Alison Young Quintet has played the main stages of the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Markham Jazz Festival and the Niagara Jazz Festival. Seeking to combine her love of hard bop, soul, and New Orleans-style funk, Alison recorded an album of mostly originals with this ensemble in 2017, putting an emphasis on energy and drive, but also prioritising elegant, singable melodies. Canadian jazz star Guido Basso joins the quintet on two songs, lending his lyrical sound to the album. The Alison Young Quintet’s debut album, ‘So Here We Are’, was released in November of 2018, and was nominated for a 2019 JUNO in the Solo Jazz Instrumental Album of the Year category.




Al Lerman | Harmonica & Tenor Saxophone |

Bluesman AL LERMAN is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. He was founder and leader of the 2X Juno Award winning band FATHEAD, and along the way built a solid career touring as an acoustic solo act, accompanying himself on guitar and rack harmonica. An engaging and skilled artist with a dry wit to boot, he is regarded among the top harmonica players in the country. His prowess on the instrument has earned him ten Maple Blues Award nominations category. He has been heard on countless recordings and live sessions with some of the best in the blues. In 2016 he garnered a Maple Blues Award nomination for “Acoustic Act Of The Year” and the following year he received a Recognition Award for “Leadership In Arts & Culture” from the County of Peterborough. His latest release “Northern Bayou” was released April 12/2019 to rave reviews world-wide.




Pat Carey | Tenor Saxophone & Horn Arrangements |

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 Downchild’s Juno Award Winning CD “Can You Hear The Music” (2014), Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne’s Juno Award Winning CD “Let It Loose” (2006), Sam Myers’ WC Handy Award Nominated CD “Coming From The Old School” (2005), as well as numerous other recordings by Downchild, Raoul & The Big Time, Ron Hynes, Jimmy Cavallo, Chuck Jackson’s Big Bad Blues Band, Gary Kendall, Sophia Perlman and The Vipers, Andre Bisson, David Vest, Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whiteley, Jack de Keyzer, Rita Chiarelli, Curley Bridges,  and many others. Pat performs with the Downchild Blues Band, Powder Blues Band, Hogtown All Stars, Chuck Jackson & The All Stars, Raoul & The Big Time, Sophia Perlman & The Vipers, Andre Bisson, Chuck Jackson’s Big Bad Blues Band and many others.


Jim Casson | Drums & Percussion |, 

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 throughout North America and Europe and / or recorded with Rita Chiarelli, The Official Blues Brothers Revival (Musical Director), The Johnny Max Band, 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 performed on over 70 albums.  He has twice been nominated for a Maple Blues Award for Drummer Of The Year. His mantle boasts Maple Blues Awards, Jazz Report Awards, Hammer Blues Awards and nominations for Junos, Genies and Niagara Music awards.  He has released three critically acclaimed solo albums under the name “Dark Orchard” and one under the name “The Reluctant Cosmonaut”.  He is the founder and artistic director of the Fonthill Bandshell Concert Series.  He hosts a weekly radio show on CFBU in St. Catharines called “Cerebral Cinema”, teaches several students and has his recording studio “The Cherry Pit” at his farm in Niagara.


Howard Moore | Trumpet

Howard Moore is a classically trained musician who studied at York University, University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music. His in-depth and versatile career has been as a trumpet player, keyboard player and vocalist.

Over the past 15 years Howard has toured and recorded with many international reggae stars such as Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Third World, Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown. TV appearances include the NHL Awards, Juno Awards, Genie Awards, Gemini Awards and the 2006/07/08 Canadian Idol series. Movie/TV music supervisory roles include BRAVO’S “The Jazz Man”, Disney’s “In a Heart Beat”, “In My Father’s Shoes” staring Lou Gosset Jr. and “Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang” staring Gary Busey and Ice-T.

Howard Moore has consistently recorded with many of the country’s best artists. He has appeared on over 200 albums, acting as music arranger/producer on many of them. In addition to performing with The Maple Blues Band, Howard’s busy performance schedule  includes Bradley & The Bouncers, Chuck Jackson’s Big Blues Revue, Sophia Perlman & the Vipers, Big Rude Jake, The Gillian Margot Quintet , Pat Carey’s Jazz Navigators, Johnny Rawls and Powder Blues.

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The Toronto Blues Society acknowledges the annual support of the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage, and project support from FACTOR< and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Broadcasters, The Canada Council for the Arts, the SOCAN Foundation, SOCAN, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.