York University’s Department of Music in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) will feature award-winning pianist Tony Suggs as part of its 2021-22 Oscar Peterson Jazz Artist-in-Residency.
During his residency, he will deliver masterclasses, workshops and seminars for vocalists and instrumentalists. Two of these sessions will be free and open to the public:
Monday, Nov. 15
9 to 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 17
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
About Tony Suggs
Tony Suggs, at an early age, became interested in the church’s beautiful Hammond B3 and in a short time he began to play regularly for worship services. Seeing the sprouting interest, his parents surprised him with a piano for Christmas at the end of the year. This is where he found his lane. He was introduced to big band jazz in the ninth grade at Martin Luther King Jr. High. His early inspiration came from saxophonist and band director Ronald Carter, who instilled the art of “swing” into his students. During his senior year, Suggs entered the Illinois All State Music Composition contest and won, leading to several scholarship offers throughout the country. He chose Jackson State University of Mississippi, where he received a full scholarship.
In 1991, while opening for the Count Basie Orchestra (CBO), Suggs met the legendary Frank Foster, musical director for the Count Basie Orchestra. During this concert, Foster let Suggs play with the band on “Good Times Blues,” by Ernie Wilkins upon Suggs` request. After the performance, Suggs made a connection with the pianist of CBO George Caldwell, later they would become phone buddies. Most of their conversations ended with, “When you leave, I want cho’ spot.” In November 1999, Suggs was given the chance he wanted for a long time, to work with the world famous Count Basie Orchestra. This one chance was all he needed to accomplish one of his biggest goals. In addition to the Count Basie Orchestra, he has worked with numerous artists such as Ledesi, Nnenna Freelon, Nancy Wilson, Jon Hendricks, Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices and French entertainer Michele Leeb to name a few. He also has worked with other projects, such as Russell Gunn’s Grammy-Nominated Ethnomusicology Volume 2 , Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor and, Jeri Brown’s Canadian Grammy-Nominated Firm Roots. After 12 years of performing for festivals, television, and radio broadcasts, Suggs left the Count Basie Orchestra.
The Asian pop culture has been a focus in recent years touring and working with artists such as Yonoa, Hannah Spring, Toku, JuJu, Maya Hatch as well as other musical groups in Asia. In addition, Suggs has dedicated much time to teaching and fulfilling numerous invitations as a special guest at various institutions all over the world.
The Oscar Peterson Jazz Artist-in-Residence is made possible by a grant from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.