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Paul Grosney, Veteran Jazz Trumpet Player

TORONTO MAY 20th, 2003: On Saturday, May 17th, veteran Toronto jazz trumpeter and major figure in the Canadian music scene, Paul Grosney, passed away quietly in his sleep. He celebrated his 80th birthday early in the year, and had been happily preparing for an upcoming gig at "The Montreal Bistro & Jazz Club" with one of his performing groups, "The Kansas City Local". As recently as last week, he joyfully played two gigs in one day. Paul cherished his family and friends, and was generous to a fault and in keeping with that, prior to his passing, he expressed his wish that no memorial service or funeral occur. Instead, he allocated funds for his good friends to have a big party, and enjoy themselves. He was one of a kind.

Paul Grosney was born on February 10th, 1923 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was the son of Russian immigrants, and one of four siblings. His parents owned and ran a successful delicatessen, where Paul worked as a youth. In addition to his musical pursuits, he was also a keen and skilled athlete, who was scouted by major hockey teams of the day. At the tender age of 19 he re-located to New York City where he worked with legendary vibraphonist Red Norvo.

Following a stint with the R.C.A.F. during World War II, he worked with the great Georgie Auld and also Bert Niosi at the Palais Royal. In 1948 he toured with drummer Buddy Rich, and a year later was leading the band at the Rancho Don Carlos in Winnipeg. During that gig he worked with a parade of luminaries, which included Lena Horne, Doris Day, Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., The Andrews Sisters and the incomparable Louis Armstrong.

In 1959 he moved to Toronto where he led the bands at a number of jazz venues including The Barclay Hotel, The Town Tavern, The Colonial and The Park Plaza. In addition to his playing, Paul had other full careers as the Entertainment Director for the legendary Toronto area jazz clubs, "Basin Street" and "Bourbon St." as a busy orchestral contractor, and as a comedy writer, who along with collaborators such as Alan Blye, Chris Beard, Gary Ferrier and Aubrey Tadman, contributed to a number of hit comedy-variety shows during the 70’s both in Canada and Los Angeles.

Paul’s late wife, Julie passed away in 1983, and during the last couple of decades, Paul continued to perform, contract orchestras and record. His recent recordings on Leo Records include Swing That Music! with "The Kansas City Local" as well as an all-star tribute to trumpeter Harry James, I’m Just Wild About Harry featuring arrangements by Rick Wilkins and vocals by Tommy Ambrose and Lynn Roberts. Just last year, Paul Grosney released The Best (Well, Almost) of Paul Grosney-a compilation of his work with a number of ensembles.

On Monday, June 9th, Paul Grosney and "The Kansas City Local" featuring Norm Amadio, Neil Swainson, Terry Clarke, Michael Stuart, Hart Wheeler and Terry Lukiwski - were to perform at "The Montreal Bistro & Jazz Club". According to Paul’s family’s wishes the gig will go on as planned, with Paul Grosney’s dear friend, Hart Wheeler acting as leader, and a guest artist filling the trumpet chair. On Monday, June 9th, performances begin at 9:00 PM. For dinner reservations (highly recommended), please contact "The Bistro" at 416-363-0179.

A Celebration of Paul Grosney’s Life will take place on Friday, May 23rd, 2:00 PM at "Le Parc" - #6 (the Southwest Corner of Leslie and Highway #7 Markham). Please contact LMC Media for further information. Phone: (416)486-6742.

Paul Grosney is survived by his son, Michael; Daughter-in-law, Maureen; Grandson, Colin; Granddaughter, Heather; Sister Jeanette Block and Brother-in-law Sam Block of Winnipeg; and Nieces, LeeAnne, Rhea, and Sheila. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to The Relief Fund of The Toronto Musican’s Association Local #149, A.F. of M. For donation information, please contact the Local at 416-421-1020.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Paul Grosney
  • Subtitle: Dead at Age 80
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