Two Much Guitar Quartet feat. Oliver Gannon & Bill Coon

JUNO-nominated guitarists Bill Coon and Oliver Gannon team up once again as Two Much Guitar, a crowd favourite for 15 years, and always a swinging affair. Joined by Darren Radtke bass and Dave Robbins drums, this classic jazz quartet celebrates influences such as Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall, but has a sound all its own.

Oliver Gannon – Guitar

Jazz Guitarist Oliver Gannon has been very active in the Vancouver and Canadian jazz scenes since the early 1970’s. He has performed at many of the major jazz festivals in Europe and North America, and has made three concert tours of the former USSR.

He has performed on many jazz records, including four on the Concord label. Not only was he named Guitarist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards in 2002, a duo album, recorded in 1982 with longstanding colleague, the late tenor saxophonist Fraser MacPherson, won the Juno Award (the Canadian Grammy) for Best Jazz Album.

The son of irish pianist Joe Gannon, Oliver took up guitar at the age of twenty, when, studying Engineering at bla bla bla, his true love of music took over. With twenty bucks in his pocket, and a can of baked beans in his backpack, he set off for the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he received his bachelor’s degree.

Upon graduation, Oliver headed back to Vancouver, where he established a reputation as being ‘the man’ to call for studio sessions, and at the same time, was instrumental (pun intended) in founding Pacific Salt, a jazz/rock group comprised of himself on guitar, Ron Johnston on piano, Ian McDougall on trombone, Don Clark on trumpet, Tony Clitheroe on bass, and George Ursan on drums.

In 1975, he teamed up with Fraser MacPherson and the result was a series of highly regarded recordings, broadcasts, and tours including the USSR and Europe. As well at about this time, another great partnership was formed with jazz singer/bassist Pat Hervey. Beautiful music and beautiful children followed and the rest, as they say, is history…

That history includes a long list of acclaimed records, concerts, and performances, as well as the inception of PG Music, the brainchild of Oliver’s youngest brother Peter. Today, Oliver works full-time with Peter, while playing select gigs, including opening for the great Oscar Peterson in 2004.

“Fingers” as he is often referred to, is fresh off the release of his third record as a leader. The critically acclaimed “Easy Sailing” on Cellar Live spent 10 weeks on the Jazz Week Charts.

Bill Coon – Guitar

Juno nominated artist Bill Coon is one of Canada’s most highly respected musicians and is winner of the 2009 National Jazz Awards, ‘Guitarist of the Year’.

Performing professionally for over thirty years, he has played with many significant jazz artists including Jimmy Heath, Chuck Israels, Eddie Daniels, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Bucky Pizzarelli, Sheila Jordan, Hugh Fraser, P.J. Perry, Campbell Ryga, Ian McDougall, Phil Dwyer, Dave Restivo, Brad Turner, Carol Welsman, Fred Stride, Dee Daniels, and Rebecca Kilgore.

Among Bill’s more than fifty recordings are Speakeasy, and Scudder’s Groove featuring Juno award winners Ross Taggart and Dave Robbins, With Benefits with Cory Weeds, Lewis Nash and Peter Washington. His collaboration with award-winning guitarist Oliver Gannon: Two Much More! was acclaimed as one of the top ten Canadian jazz recordings of 2015 by the CBC, as was Jill Townsend Big Band’s Legacy, The Music of Ross Taggart, a tribute to the great Ross Taggart that features Bill’s guitar playing and large ensemble writing. He also appears on award-winning recordings by The Night Crawlers and the Big Band Sound, Down in the Bottom and Calgary guitarist Ralf Buschmeyer’s, Jazzspeak. 

Bill is busy performing with and composing for the BC Double Quartet featuring Brad Turner, Brasiliera with Jennifer Scott and Rene Worst, Triology, with Miles Black and Jodi Proznick, Oliver Gannon, Laura Crema, Cory Weeds Quartet, Tony Wilson-Bill Coon Quartet, B3 Kings, Kate Hammett-Vaughan, Steve Maddock, Michael Creber, Mike Allen, Kevin Elaschuk, Kristina Olsen, and the Minemoto/Coon/Danderfer Trio.

An in demand composer-arranger, Bill had recently had two of his arrangements for symphony orchestra and voice appear on the recording ‘True North: The Canadian Songbook’ with Eleanor McCain. He has been commissioned to write for The National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Woody Herman Jazz Band, the Jill Townsend Jazz Orchestra, the CBC Radio Orchestra, and John Korsrud’s Hard Rubber Orchestra. Bill’s musical partnership with jazz vocalist Denzal Sinclaire created the Juno nominated CD, I Found Love. Bill’s association with hip-hop artist K-os resulted in a collaboration with the CBC Radio Orchestra documented in the CBC television show Burning to Shine, and his arranging is featured on the Juno award winning CD Joyful Rebellion.

He has won awards and commissions from the BC Arts Council, the Socan Foundation, and has received several Canada Council Arts Awards enabling him to study with Jim Hall, Dr. Louis Stewart, Neil Chotem and Rick Wilkins. Bill is currently working on a recording of original music due out in fall of 2017 that is being funded by a Canada Council recording grant.

Bill is an adjudicator and clinician at music festivals and workshops throughout Canada, including the VSO School of Music and Summer Jazz Workshop and the BC Swing Workshop in Sorrento BC. He is on faculty at Capilano University in North Vancouver, teaching composition, arranging, jazz history, small and large ensembles, and jazz guitar.

Darren Radtke – Bass

Aldergrove, BC native Darren Radtke [guitar & bass] began his musical studies as a singer, but took a turn to studies on bass to pursue his future in jazz. He currently divides his time between his interest in young musicians as a faculty member in the jazz department at Capilano College, and performing. He performs at most of the jazz venues in Vancouver, and other provinces. His colleagues include the Sharon Minemoto quintet, the Bill Coon Trio and the Brad Turner Trio. He has recorded a Juno nominated CD with Denzal Sinclaire, and in 2007 shared a Pop Vox award for the soundtrack for a video game.

Dave Robbins – Drums

Dave Robbins is one of Canada’s premier jazz drummers and a first-rate composer, arranger and jazz educator. Though well known as a sideman for his exciting big band work and sensitive trio playing, Robbins also leads his own bands.

Dave grew up in Victoria and was educated at McGill University in Montreal where he received his Masters in Jazz Studies. While in Montreal he toured and recorded in bands with Vic Vogel, Joe Sullivan, Altsys, and the Streetnix among others. In 1996 he could no longer resist the pull of the west coast, and is thrilled to have moved back. He is kept very busy playing with Bill Coon, Dee Daniels, Hugh Fraser, Oliver Gannon, John Korsrud, and Jennifer Scott, to name a few.

Dave has played music all over the world, in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Cuba, Finland, France, and Ireland. Musicians he has performed with include: Gary Bartz, Maynard Ferguson, Slide Hampton, Buddy Montgomery, Bob Minzer, PJ Perry, and Don Thompson.

Dave is also very involved as an educator. After teaching at McGill’s Conservatory of Music while in Montreal, he is now on the music faculty at Capilano University where he instructs arranging, drums, piano, and large ensembles. As well as institutional educating, Dave does clinics and private instructing.