Denny Christianson

Denny (Dennis Richard) Christianson. Trumpeter, arranger, composer bandleader, b Rockford, Ill, 12 Sep 1942; naturalized Canadian 1991.

Christianson, Denny

Denny (Dennis Richard) Christianson. Trumpeter, arranger, composer bandleader, b Rockford, Ill, 12 Sep 1942; naturalized Canadian 1991. He studied at the US Navy School of Music in Washington, DC, played 1971-5 at Harrap's Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nev, and worked 1975-80 as a trumpeter and arranger in Los Angeles studios before moving in 1980 to Montreal at the behest of Diane Dufresne. There he has continued to play and write for studio orchestras, taught 1983-4 at the University of Montreal, 1986-7 at Concordia University, and 1988-90 at McGill University. He has been an important figure in the stageband movement in Quebec and in 1986 began to lead the CFQR (later CHAD) All-City Stage Band. Christianson's arrangements have been recorded by Dufresne, Jano Bergeron, Jean Lapointe, Ginette Reno, Véronique Sanson, Martine St-Clair, and others.

In 1981 he formed the 19-man Denny Christianson Big Band, whose repertoire has comprised vivid, challenging works by the US composers Curt Berg, Alf Clausen, and Kim Richmond, as well as Christianson's own pieces (eg, Straight, No Half Tone, Arlequin, More Pepper). The band has appeared annually 1982-91 at the FIJM, on occasion accompanying pop performers at PDA (Ginette Reno and Michel Legrand in 1986, Shirley Bassey in 1990, Diane Schuur in 1991). It performed in Europe in 1987 (including the North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague) and 1989 (Finland, Denmark, England, Sweden, and Holland), and toured in western Canada in 1990. Featured soloists have included Christianson and Ron DiLauro (trumpets), Joe Christie Jr, Pat Vetter, Richard Beaudet, Jean LeBrun, and Jean Frechette (saxophones), Muhammad Abdul Al-Khabyyr (trombone), Richard Ring (guitar), and Kenny Alexander (piano). In 1986 the US baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams recorded as a guest soloist with the band.


Further Reading

  • Block, Irwin. 'Denny Christianson is making it big,' Montreal Gazette, 20 Jan 1986

    Miller, Mark. 'Montreal trumpeter hitting sweet notes,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 8 Mar 1986

    Green, Randall. 'Suite Pepper and more..'. Coda, 236, Mar-Apr 1991

    Cloutier, Mario. 'Denny Christianson: entre l'enseignement et la performance,' Musicien québécois, Vol 6, Nov-Dec 1994