Paley, Ron

Paley, Ron (Ronald Frank). Composer, arranger, pianist, bass guitarist, b Winnipeg 20 Nov 1950; B MUS (Manitoba) 1972. He studied piano with William Aide at the University of Manitoba and with Ray Santisi 1972-3 at the Berklee College of Music. He later studied privately in New York with Richie Beirach (piano), and 1989-90 with Bob Brookmeyer (composition) and others. Paley toured internationally 1973-5 as the bass guitarist in turn with the Buddy Rich and Woody Herman big bands then took a central role in Winnipeg's studios and nightclubs as a leader (big band and small ensembles, led from the piano), composer, and arranger. He has been music director for local TV variety series (eg, CBC's 'Jerry and Ziz' in 1979 and CKND's 'Friday Night Live' in 1987) and was director 1976-86 for the University of Manitoba stage band.

His compositions include two works for big band and symphony orchestra (We've Got It, 1979; Sound Cells, 1987) and two for jazz trio and symphony orchestra (Rhythm Changes, 1978; Rhythm and Blues, 1987). All were premiered by Paley with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He also has written more that 25 pieces for big band alone (among them the extended Interior Alternatives, 1989) and some third-stream items - eg, Happiness Is a String Quartet Playing the Blues (1977), Shades of Jazz (1981, also for string quartet) and Saxophone Quintet (1981). Several of his compositions were premiered at concerts sponsored by the Manitoba Composers Association, of which he is a member.

Paley has recorded the albums Boxton (1977, Neptune NRP-1/London DL-3016) and Ron Paley Big Band Jazz Rocks & Swings (1986, Foresight RP-2/Black-Hawk BKH-534), and The Big Band Dance Album (1987, CKWG/87). Boxton, named for an early Paley tune, includes Happiness is... played by the Festival Quartet, and performances by a string ensemble, the big band, and smaller groups. The big band has performed for both jazz concerts and dances, appeared at Expo 86 as part of a western Canadian tour, and travelled widely in Manitoba. A Paley septet performed at the 1984 FIJM.