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Saxophonist, composer and arranger is the 2012 Doug Riley Artist

Barrie SorensenThe TD PEI Jazz and Blues Festival has announced that the Doug Riley Artist for 2012 will be Barrie Sorensen, from Tryon, PEI.

Doug Riley was an undisputed keyboard master, prolific composer/arranger and “Islander-by-choice” whose sudden passing in 2007 was a hard blow to music lovers everywhere, especially in his adopted home province. In Doug’s memory the festival designates a leading Island musician as the Doug Riley Artist. Festival organizers say that they believe that Barrie Sorensen’s extraordinary musical talent and commitment to the highest performance standards make him a fitting choice for this year’s Doug Riley Artist.

After Bluefield High School, Barrie Sorensen attended McGill University, earning a Bachelor’s in jazz performance. He later studied privately in New York with  jazz saxophonist Bob Berg.

Barrie spent several years performing in cruise ship show bands, was a member of the two-time ECMA-award winning Jive Kings, and performed at the Charlottetown Festival Orchestra in Hairspray, The Full Monty and Guys and Dolls. Barrie’s musical interests extend beyond the boundaries of jazz and musical theatre. He has performed with the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra, Eklektikos new music project, and this spring presented classical concerts accompanied by sister and Island pianist Jacqueline Sorensen-Young.

Since returning from an extended stay in northern Europe, Barrie has been strengthening his reputation as a leading talent of the Island musical scene. Having successfully auditioning for the Canadian Armed Forces band program, Barrie is freelancing on PEI while waiting to clear armed forces formalities. The festival organizing committee sees this as a opportunity to recognize his achievements with a Doug Riley Artist designation.

During his festival performance Barrie will be joined by the 20-member Charlottetown Jazz Ensemble, a group which Barrie founded 17 years ago. Since that time the band has developed a loyal following performing the works of the masters (Basie, Ellington, Mingus) and the modernists (Mantooth, Mintzer). Among the tunes to be played at the festival will be several of Barrie Sorensen’s own big band compositions and arrangements.

This year’s festival will also include an increased number of free concerts on Victoria Row and more free workshops in Murphy’s Community Centre. There will also be a lineup of top-flight talent performing on the Murphy’s Community Centre mainstage, in St. Paul’s Anglican Church, at the Shipyard in Summerside and at Confederation Centre of the Arts.

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