Artists' Jazz Band

Artists' Jazz Band (AJB). A pioneering Canadian free-jazz group initially composed of Toronto visual artists associated with the abstract-expressionist movement of the late 1950s. Collectively self-taught, it was formed in 1962 in a studio over the First Floor [jazz] Club by Dennis Burton, who played saxophone, and Richard Gorman, who played bass - both were members only briefly - with Graham Coughtry (trombone), Nobuo Kubota, (saxophones), Robert Markle (tenor saxophone and piano, b 1936, d 1990), and Gordon Rayner (drums). It has included on a casual basis many other artists and musicians - including Bill Smith, Michael Snow, the bassist Jim Jones, and the guitarist Gerald McAdam - sympathetic to its adventurous style of spontaneously composed music. The AJB has generally performed in private (eg, for many years in Rayner's downtown loft) but has given occasional concerts at universities, galleries, and clubs in Ontario and was influential in the development of free jazz in Toronto during the 1970s. Some of its infrequent performances during the 1980s were made under the name An Artists' Jazz Band.