(from August 28, 2007)
To those of you who knew him personally, or even just by name, or who have listened to the radio in Canada anytime over the last few decades, or who are Hammond B-3 organ fans, it is with deep regret and sadness that I relay the news of the sudden and unexpected passing of a Canadian musical legend, Doug Riley.
I’m attaching a link here: http://www.cbc.ca/arts/music/story/2007/08/28/doug-riley-obit.html
Please read the article … it is a pretty thorough synopsis of his prolific career.
I’m having a lot of difficulty trying to figure out what to say … I got to know Doug fairly well over the last 5 years; I first met him in January 2003 when I went to his place in TO for a lesson/jam. We hung out for several hours – we played with his band in the basement, then he showed me his beautiful imported one-of-a-kind piano, we listened to some records … since then he has been tremendously supportive and encouraging of me; he came and sat in at a jam session I hosted in Charlottetown and also attended a live concert recording I did at the Rex in Toronto …
The last time I saw him we were both taking part in a series at the Maison de la Culture Frontenac last October for Radio-Canada; he played the 8:00 show with his group, and it was one of the best Hammond B-3 concerts Martin and I had ever been to. Doug’s organ intro to his own “Goodie Two-Shoes” alone was a show in itself.
Our 3-organ & big band tribute to Jimmy Smith was due to go on at 10:30, and as Doug was wrapping up his set he took a moment to tell the audience to stick around and check out “the great Vanessa Rodrigues”. I’ve never been so humbled in my life … I’ll never forget that, and I hope someday I’ll live up to it.
I’ll also never forget the outrageous story he told us at the soundcheck about when he met Jimmy Smith; ask me for that when I’m not feeling so bummed out and I’ll be happy to recount it for you.