Holmes, Johnny

Johnny (John Joseph Harold) Holmes. Trumpeter, bandleader, arranger, composer, b Montreal 8 Jun 1916, d there 11 Jun 1989. He began playing cornet at 10 and studied briefly with C. Van Camp. After playing trumpet 1940-1 in a co-operative band, the Escorts, he took over its leadership 1941-50. As the Johnny Holmes Orchestra it played on Saturday nights at Victoria Hall (Montreal), broadcast on CBC radio, and occasionally toured in Quebec and Ontario. One of Montreal's leading dance bands of the day, it boasted a healthy jazz quotient and benefited from Holmes' ability to identify talented younger musicians. His sidemen included, at various times, Nick Ayoub, Al Baculis, Percy and Maynard Ferguson, (pianist) Bud Hayward, Art Morrow, and Oscar Peterson. Lorraine McAllister and Sheila Graham, in turn, sang with the band.

Holmes retired from music 1951-9, but was heard 1959-69 on CBC radio in 'The Johnny Holmes Show,' 'Broadway Holiday,' etc. Holmes' orchestras made several broadcast recordings 1966-73 for the CBC's LM series and continued to perform periodically until his retirement from music in 1978. One edition without saxophones took the name Brass Therapy. Holmes wrote many arrangements for his orchestra and his radio shows, more than 40 songs, and such extended works as The Fair City, a jazz suite dedicated to Expo 67.