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As a kid in Pembroke, Ontario, Peter Turner’s earliest musical experiences included school bands and a Glenn Miller-style big band.  His early experience also included various concert bands and orchestras, as well as musical theatre productions with the Pembroke Musical Society. 

After moving to Ottawa, Peter’s first professional gigs were with the Derek Robertson Jazz Band – a dixieland group in the British trad style.  Between 1988 and 2000, the trombonist performed 667 gigs across Canada with Derek Robertson and became a frequent substitute for other traditional jazz bands, including the Apex Jazz Band and the Magnolia Rhythm Kings.  His association with these groups continues to this day.

During the 1990s, Peter began to explore mainstream jazz repertoire and develop his ability to lead small ensembles – either as the only horn or with one other horn or vocalist.  This led to several long-running small-group engagements, including a remarkable 12-year run at Westwinds Restaurant in Pembroke, as well as an eight-year stint at the Swan at Carp, near Ottawa’s western boundary.  At both locations, Peter built a loyal following and a sense of community among his listeners through the Bandwagon, a quarterly newsletter that he created and maintained for seven years. 

The Westwinds and Swan engagements gave Peter an opportunity to perform with the finest professional musicians from Ottawa and beyond.  The late Gerry Helke was a particularly strong influence during this time.  Peter’s first CD, These Lips, featured Gerry’s distinctive arrangements for sax, trombone and rhythm.  Peter also worked with well-known saxman and vocalist Tim Roberts throughout much of the 1990s and performed with him at Caribbean resorts.

John Steele is another frequent collaborator of Peter’s.  John was the original piano player in Peter’s Westwinds group starting in 1992, and he accompanied Peter for most Swan gigs.  Their monthly duo gig at Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro in Ottawa is entering its 14th year.  John appeared on Peter’s second CD, Live at the Swan – a recording that also included Goodman-style clarinettist Scott Poll along with Gerry Helke on bass and Glenn Robb on drums.  

From 2006 until 2009, Peter played in Big Band Caravane – a successful and popular group under the leadership of Jean-Pierre Moisan and musical direction of Kieran Milne. With Big Band Caravane, Peter was the main trombone soloist on a range of big band standard repertoire as well as various latin and funk arrangements.  



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