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.


Information & booking:






Listen to Maple Blues Band on SoundCloud:


The Maple Blues Band: Live at The Calgary Blues Festival


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 (Honours B. of Music – Composition) 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 floor and 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 did the orchestral arrangements for two Symphony shows that she wrote and performed. Recently the Toronto Symphony, Kitchener and Windsor Symphonies have performed these arrangements.

As musical director and session pianist Lance has worked with, Ian Gillam, Ms. S’Aida, 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.

In 2019 Lance and Matt Weidinger  formed MATCHEDASH PARISH and released their first recording of this diverse and impressive 12 piece ensemble. The ‘Saturday Night’ CD has been a critical success and the band is a fan favourite at the many festivals it has played including The Montreal Intl. Jazz festival, Kitchener Blues Festival, Mariposa Folk Festival and the Mont Tremblant Blues Fest. 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 winter of 2022. He is co-executive producer of the Boquete Panama Jazz and Blues Festival and Musical director of ‘An Evening of Blues and Gospel’ an annual concert for the Mariposa Folk Foundation.


Alison Young | Tenor & 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 prioritizing 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 & Acoustic Guitar |

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.


Meirion (Mei) Kelly – Trombone

Meirion Kelly was raised in the West Toronto Junction and received early musical training in the public school settings of Lord Lansdowne, Osler Street Public and Western Technical Commercial School, where he was offered instruments and selected for specialized instruction. An able sight reader and jazz improviser he enjoys performing in a wide variety of ensembles and genres.

Meirion’s professional experiences have included television broadcasts, work as a studio musician, sideman and jazz performer, and Arts Educator. In addition to this local work, he will continue as a staff musician and Bandleader with Cunard Shipping and plans to resume touring the world in the future.

Meirion received a Master of Arts degree in Jazz Studies from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens
College, City University of New York and he is also a member in good standing of the Ontario College of Teachers. and Seafarers Trade Union, Nautilus International.

Associated studio recordings have earned Meirion a Canadian Recording Industry Alliance Gold Record, and he received a tuition scholarship from the Banff School of Fine Arts and a childcare bursary from the University of Toronto.Meirion has appeared on screen with Wynton Marsalis in the television series titled Soul Food and with Paul Shaffer, Joey DeFrancesco and Dr. Lonnie Smith for a Canadian Screen Awards broadcast. And as a house band member for the Canadian Idol television series he appeared with Tom Jones and Robert Goulet. Meirion possesses a great sound on the trombone and loves to perform.


Jim Casson | Drums & Percussion |, 

Jim Casson is a veteran of the Canadian Blues Scene for over 30 years.  Notably spending many years in Downchild in the 90s (Recorded 2 albums and winner of Maple Blues Award for Album of the Year) and now back in Downchild once again. 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, The Hogtown All Stars, 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 100 albums.  He has been nominated three times 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”, three under the name “The Reluctant Cosmonaut” and his latest “Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns”. He is a founding member 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 35 years Howard has toured and recorded with many international reggae stars such as Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Ken Boothe, Marcia Griffiths, Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown. TV appearances include the NHL Awards, Juno Awards, Genie Awards, Gemini Awards and the 2005-2008 Canadian Idol series(house band). Movie/TV music supervisory roles include BRAVO’S “The Jazz Man”, Disney’s “In a Heart Beat”(principal actors coach piano), “In My Father’s Shoes”(music contractor)staring Lou Gosset Jr. and “Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang”(choir coordinator/contractor) 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, Chuck Jackson’s Big Blues Revue, Raoul and the Big Time, The Vipers , Pat Carey’s Jazz Navigators, Johnny Rawls , various Lance Anderson productions, Blackburn, Powder Blues and the Hogtown  Allstars. He is a highly sought after studio musician and has travelled the world playing music.

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.


Roshane Wright | Percussion | Facebook

Roshane Wright has been added to The Maple Blues Band for The Maple Blues Awards on June 20, 2022 as part of a New Mentorship Program launched by The Toronto Blues Society.

He is a drummer and percussionist hailing from Portmore, Jamaica. He started playing percussion instruments in school at the age of 6. Throughout his high school tenure he studied under Jamaica’s best percussion teachers and competed in various national drum competitions winning numerous awards.

Roshane worked as a musical accompanist at Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica for 5 years until moving to Toronto, Canada in 2019 to study at Humber College in the Bachelors of Music Program.

While continuing his career in Toronto Roshane has been able to fuse his musical Caribbean roots with jazz and create his own authentic sound. He has been mentored and shared the stage with notable Canadian artists Mark Kelso, Waleed Abdulhamid, and Larnell Lewis.

Roshane Wright has been a freelance artist as well as a music educator, composer, arranger and band leader.

Donate Join TBS Volunteer

©2023 Toronto Blues Society. Design by Janine Stoll Media.
TBS logo and WBR artwork by Barbara Klunder

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.