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"BLI" 2007 Obituary


BLICK  BLISS 

BLICK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-08-08 published
BLICK, J David
Suddenly, but peacefully, at home on August 5th 2007, David, loved husband of Dwyne and formerly of Pat COOK; proud father of John and Kate BLICK and Sarah KEOGH; step-father of Don and Pat ROBINSON and Deborah and Brian SHAW; granddad to Robert, James and Patrick BLICK; grandpa David to Lindsay and Michael ROBINSON and Jennifer and David SHAW. Retired businessman, mentor to many, respected and admired, lover of music, books and the Toronto Maple Leafs. A true friend, we will miss him. A celebration of David's life will be held in September. In lieu of flowers, please remember him by supporting his beloved alma mater, Saint John's College, Cambridge www.joh.cam.ac.uk/johnian/support

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BLICK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-08-11 published
BLICK, J. David
Suddenly, but peacefully, at home on August 5th 2007, David, loved husband of Dwyne and formerly of Pat COOK; proud father of John and Kate BLICK and Sarah KEOGH; step-father of Don and Pat ROBINSON and Deborah and Brian SHAW; granddad to Robert, James and Patrick BLICK; grandpa David to Lindsay and Michael ROBINSON and Jennifer and David SHAW.
Retired businessman, mentor to many, respected and admired, lover of music, books and the Toronto Maple Leafs. A true friend, we will miss him.
A celebration of David's life will be held in September. In lieu of flowers, please remember him by supporting his beloved alma mater, Saint John's College, Cambridge www.joh.cam.ac.uk/johnian/support

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BLISS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-08-30 published
Gifted keyboard artist, arranger and composer 'could play everything'
Known as Doctor Music, he was music director of shows for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and CTV, and backed up Ray Charles and scores of other performers, writes Sandra MARTIN. He also fronted his own 16-piece band
By Sandra MARTIN with a report from Canadian Press, Page S9
Composer, pianist and record producer Doug RILEY was a classically trained musician and a prolific jingle composer who had a major influence on the sound of popular Canadian music beginning in the 1970s. Best known by his nickname, Doctor Music, he worked with many jazz and pop artists and was the leader of a 16-piece vocal and instrumental ensemble. He produced and performed with Ray Charles, David Clayton-Thomas, Bob Seger, Ringo Starr, Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray, Moe Koffman and many others.
Mr. Clayton-Thomas, former lead singer of Blood, Sweat and Tears, described Mr. RILEY as a close friend and a brilliant technician who "could play everything from Tchaikovsky to Thelonious Monk and then could get down and rock 'n' roll and play the blues, too. He's irreplaceable. There's only one Doc RILEY."
Canadian keyboardist Paul Shaffer, musical director of the Late Show with David Letterman, said Mr. RILEY was a big influence on his playing after they met in Toronto in 1968 during auditions for the musical Hair. They were both accompanying would-be performers on piano. "He really was an inspiration for those of us thinking about going into music ourselves."
Doug RILEY grew up in Toronto as the middle of three children of businessman Norman RILEY and his wife Lillian (MARSHALL) RILEY. When he was 2, he contracted polio, which meant he couldn't walk until he underwent a revolutionary operation at the Hospital for Sick Children when he was 9. (He walked with a limp for the rest of his life.) Born with perfect pitch, he seemed to have emerged from the womb playing the piano, an instrument he began studying when he was 3. By 5, he was taking lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Music, eventually studying pipe organ with Harry Duckworth at Saint Anne de Belleville Church near Montreal, and piano with Paul DeMarky, Oscar Peterson's piano teacher. At 6, he discovered jazz by listening to records - mostly his father's collection of stride and piano boogie 78s that featured such players as Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons, James P. Johnson and Fats Waller.
As a teenager, he played rhythm and blues with a group called The Silhouettes at the Toronto nightclub the Blue Note. He attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a bachelor of music degree in 1965, after having studied composition with John Weinzweig and ethnomusicology with Mieczyslaw Kolinski. Later, he did postgraduate work with Prof. Kolinski on the music of the Iroquois.
Even while at university, he was a prolific composer of jingles, working with Mort Ross, Tommy Ambrose and Larry Trudel (through Trudel Productions). By the early 1990s, he had composed more than 2,000 catchy commercial tunes.
Drummer Bob MacLaren played in a jazz group led by Mr. RILEY and worked steadily with him recording jingles in the 1970s and 1980s, including a campaign for Labatt Blue and Carlsberg. "He would go to the production meeting one day and write the music that night, and the next morning we would record it and the singers would come in and the voice over would be done by the afternoon." The next day, they would repeat the process. "He was a workhorse," said Mr. MacLaren.
"He had an ear for the commercial, but he was also a writer and a player and a bandleader. He had all these things going at the same time and he had respect from the commercial community that was hiring him and respect from the musicians," he said. "Once he was on the bandstand and the music started, he was 100-per-cent player. He loved playing and that's why he never retired."
In one of Mr. RILEY's earliest recordings, he was the arranger and second keyboard player for Ray Charles's album, Doing His Thing. "Ray Charles was my first influence outside of boogie-woogie and stride pianists like Albert Ammons and Fats Waller," he told the Toronto Star last year. "I was enthralled by his jazz, blues and gospel music, and really his roots and my roots were the same. It was the biggest break of my life when I played organ and piano and arranged his 1969 album Doing His Thing."
Mr. Charles asked Mr. RILEY, who was 22 at the time, to join his band, but after a lot of soul-searching, he decided to stay in Toronto and write music.
He found steady work as a studio musician in television working as an arranger and pianist for The Ray Stevens Show from 1969 to 1970 and Rolling on the River from 1970 to 1972, both of which aired on CTV. He also served as music director for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Music Machine from 1973 to 1974 and Tommy Ambrose's Celebration from 1975 to 1976 and The Wolfman Jack Show the following year. He went back to CTV in 1981 to work for a season on Ronnie Hawkins's Honky Tonk and also did specials with Anne Murray, Lou Rawls and others.
As a player, he performed as a sideman for jazz and pop artists, including Tommy Ambrose, Dianne Brooks, Mr. Clayton-Thomas, Dan Hill, Klaatu, Mr. Koffman, Mr. Lightfoot, Bob McBride, Kathryn Moses, Ms. Murray, Walter Rossi, Sweet Blindness, Sylvia Tyson, the Brecker Brothers and Mr. Seger.
He also formed his own group, Doctor Music, a 16-piece vocal and instrumental ensemble. The band made three albums between 1972 and 1974: Doctor Music, Doctor Music II, and Bedtime Story. The last consisted largely of jazz compositions by Mr. RILEY and band members Claude Ranger and Don Thompson. His most popular singles were One More Mountain to Climb (1971), Sun Goes By (1972), and Long Time Comin' Home (1972), all of which were included on the compilation Retrospective (GRT). The group disbanded in 1997, soon after recording a fourth album.
In the 1990s, he began focusing on live performances and formed a quartet with saxophonist Phil Dwyer in 1993. Late in 1998, he and his second wife, Jan, bought a restored farmhouse near souris, Prince Edward Island, and settled there permanently in 2005. Walking on the beach near his farmhouse, he began to hear and feel the beginnings of what would become the Prince Edward Island Suite for Symphony and Jazz. The piece had its premiere at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto and has since been known to evoke such emotion in Island audiences that tears begin to flow.
"His concerts had been a highlight of the season for the last several years," said University of Toronto historian Michael BLISS, who spends summers on Prince Edward Island and is a patron of the Indian River Festival. "He was just a wonderful pianist&hellip there have been concerts where Doug was simply the accompanist and done a much better job than the featured performer."
Prof. BLISS said the Island was very proud of Mr. RILEY. "He had an immediate and big impact on the musical scene here."
Mr. Clayton-Thomas considered Mr. RILEY his closest musical collaborator and friend. "Canada just lost a musical giant," he told Canadian Press in a telephone interview from Montreal on Tuesday, his voice shaking with emotion. "I can't imagine my life without him," he said. "I loved him beyond what I could tell you."
Mr. RILEY was supposed to have shifted into semi-retirement, playing golf and performing frequently with the Indian River Festival. But he loved playing so much that he couldn't resist invitations, and so Mr. RILEY, a smoker who enjoyed a drink and suffered from diabetes, spent a great deal of his time on airplanes travelling from one festival to another, one performance to another. That is what took him to Calgary late last week to play in a jazz and blues Festival.
He was jazz organist of the year from 1993 to 2000 at the annual Jazz Report Awards and was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2004.
Douglas Brian RILEY was born in Toronto on April 24, 1945. He died of a massive heart attack in an airplane on the tarmac in Calgary on Monday, August 26, 2007. He was 62. He is survived by wife Jan RILEY, sons Ben and Jesse from his first marriage, two siblings and his extended family. Musical celebrations of his life are being planned for October in Toronto and Charlottetown.

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