Gordon Delamont



Born:    October 17, 1918
Died: January 18, 1981

Gordon (Arthur) Delamont. Teacher, author, composer, trumpeter, born in  Moose Jaw, SK. Raised in Vancouver, he studied trumpet with his father, Arthur Delamont, and was soloist with the boys' band. He moved in 1939 to Toronto, where he played lead trumpet in dance bands and CBC radio orchestras. He also led a dance band 1945-9 that performed at the Club Top Hat, Toronto, and other southern Ontario halls.

Delamont had a special talent for teaching. (Jonn took Delamont's first book on his Europe trip to study, before beginning studies with Delamont, and found the book quite intimidating and challenging to follow. Once he started sessions with Delamont, each lesson "de-mystified" the pages they were working on. The lessons tranformed the studies from and up-hill struggle to an interesting and creative exploration.)

After brief studies (arranging, composition, and pedagogy) in New York with Maury Deutsch in the summer of 1949, Delamont opened his own studio in Toronto. He taught harmony, counterpoint, composition, and theory privately for more than 30 years, counting among his pupils Peter Appleyard, Saul Chapman, Gustav Ciamaga, Ron Collier, Jimmy Dale, John Dobson, David Elliott, Jack Feyer, Doug Foskett, Bill Goddard, Hagood Hardy, Herbie Helbig, Paul Hoffert, Lawrence House, Don Johnson, Eddie Karam, Moe Koffman, Rob McConnell, Ben McPeek, Marek Norman, Lloyd Orchard, Bernie Piltch, Mort Ross, Fred Stone, John Swan, Norman Symonds, and Rick Wilkins. Delamont's theoretical texts have been used in schools and by musicians throughout North America.

Delamont led a rehearsal band ca 1953-ca 1962 in order that his students might have an outlet for their compositions. In the 1960s he directed a jazz octet which performed for Ten Centuries Concerts and on the CBC.

A guiding figure in Canada in the third-stream movement which revolved around two of his earliest pupils, Collier and Symonds, Delamont himself composed several works applying classical forms to the jazz idiom. His compositions include Allegro and Blues (1962, for jazz orchestra), Portrait of Charles Mingus (1963, for octet), Ontario Suite (1965, Kendor 1967, a piece for soprano and orchestra performed daily at the Ontario Pavilion at Expo 67), Centum (Kendor 1966, for band), Collage No. 3 and Song and Dance (both 1967, Kendor 1970, recorded by the Ron Collier Orchestra with Duke Ellington as soloist), Moderato and Blues for Brass Quintet (1973, Kendor 1974), and Conversation for Flugelhorn and Alto Saxophone (Kendor 1977). His best-known work, Three Entertainments for Saxophone Quartet (1969, Kendor 1970), has been performed widely in North America and in Europe and was recorded by the New York Saxophone Quartet (Mark MES-32322).

On the advice of Paul Hoffert (Lighthouse), Jonn gained an interview with Delamont in 1970. After the usual ear tests and questions, they had some interesting discussions about music and life. Delamont told Jonn he had an 'above average ear for his students', and that he should have come to him five years ago. He said that he was booked up for the next two years, but that several of his former students were now teaching from his books. However he said he would be interested in teaching Jonn himself, and if Jonn were to contact him on his return from Europe in the fall, he would fit him in if he had a cancellation. Jonn studied with Delamont for four years.