Benny Goodman Tribute Band

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The Benny Goodman Tribute Band features local Kingston musicians Chris Alfano (clarinet), Greg Runions (vibraphone), Paul Clifford (bass) and Rich Bannard (drums). Together they bring alive the music of Benny Goodman, performing famous works such as Avalon, Moonglow, Memories of You, and others. They have performed on the Island Star, as part of the Kingston Jazz Society’s series at the Tett Centre, as part of the Happy Hour Sound Bytes series as well as part of the St. George’s Summer Concert Series.

Their line-up includes: Let’s Dance. Lady Be Good, Moonglow, Avalon, Memories of You, The Chaser. Don’t Be That Way, Stompin’ At the Savoy (Eddie Daniels Version), In A Mist, The Man Love, Bei Mir Bist du Shoen, If I Only Had A Brain, Sing Sing Sing, and Goodbye

Sample recording from the Island Star performance – Tribute to Benny Goodman “Bei Mir Bist du Shoen”

Chris Alfano, Clarinet

Chris is an active musician performing on clarinet, saxophone and flute in both classical and jazz idioms. He has performed with noted Canadian jazz musicians Phil Nimmons, Peter Appleyard, Mike Murley, David Braid, Jon McLeod, Carol Wellsman and with the National Arts Centre Orchestra under the direction of Pinchas Zukerman. He has also performed with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra as Guest Principal Clarinetist and soloist.

He holds Baccalaureate degrees from Saint Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Music degree (Performance) from State University of New York, College at Potsdam as well as a PhD in Education from McGill University, Montreal.

Presently, Chris is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University and Professor in the Music and Digital Media program at St. Lawrence College.

Greg Runions, Vibraphone

Greg Runions is a Canadian composer, arranger and percussionist residing in Kingston, Ontario. His original works for big band, small groups, orchestra, orchestra with big band, and percussion ensemble have been performed by The Greg Runions Big Band and The Greg Runions Septet, The Kingston Symphony Orchestra, and by
ensembles at colleges and high schools in Canada, the U.S., and the Netherlands. His work was featured at the first Jazz Composers Symposium in Tampa, Florida in 2006 and in the ArtEz Composition Contest in Enschede, Netherlands in 2013. A graduate of Queen’s University in Kingston, and the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY, Greg performs primarily as a vibraphonist and devotes a lot of his time to composing and arranging. He is a professor at The Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University, teaching percussion and directing the Jazz Ensemble.

Paul Clifford, Bass

Paul Clifford hails from Kingston, Ontario. He began playing bass in the early 1990s in local bands later studying jazz performance at the University of Toronto with bassists Jim Vivian and Dave Young, jazz composition with Phil Nimmons and jazz improvisation with Alex Dean, Kirk MacDonald, and Jim Lewis.

Since moving back to Kingston in 2010 he has played with a variety of artists such as Cantabile Choirs, The Jive Ass Slippers, Chris Alfano, Dave Barton, Greg Runions, Hannah Barstow, Mike Cassells, Paul Morrison, and The Gertrudes. Paul is currently pursuing a masters in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University.

Rich Bannard, Drums

Ottawa born drummer Rich Bannard graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Queen’s University before moving to Toronto in 1979 where he studied with Jim Blackley, and subsequently with Andrew Cyrille. Over the next ten years he performed extensively with Rainer Wiens’ Silk Stockings, the Bill Smith Ensemble, the Fred Stone orchestra, and Lisle Ellis, appearing at the Toronto and Vancouver jazz festivals.

He performed with the International musicians Roscoe Mitchell, Joe McPhee, Vinny Golia and the John Tchicai before moving to Kingston in 1990. Since then, there have been opportunities to tour the Czech Republic with Sound Image Theatre as well as Western Canada with the ReFrayne Quintet. He currently works with clarinetist Chris Alfano, The Jive Ass Slippers, and most recently, with vocalist Chantal Thompson.

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