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    Riley, Doug (24 April 1945 - 28 August 2007)

    Arranger, composer and keyboardist nicknamed "Dr. Music"" who transcended musical genres with seeming effortlessness and is considered one of the most important voices in Canadian music.  A Toronto native, Riley was a classically trained pianist who studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music and a church-instructed organist who received tutelage at St. Anne de Belleville Church in Montreal.  It was composition, however, which he studied at the University of Toronto, where he earned a Bachelor of Music.  His extracurricular activities included club-hopping with the likes of The Silhouettes.  In 1969, he was asked to arrange and play keyboards on Ray Charles' Doing His Thing LP.  So impressed was Uncle Ray with Riley's studio acumen, he asked the young phenom to join his band, an offer Riley respectfully declined.  Something inside him yearned to contribute to and help shape the musical culture of his homeland, in spite of the allures of fame and fortune in the States.  He started his own band, Dr. Music, and put bread on the table by writing commercial jingles.  Eventually, he had enough money to start the Toronto Sound Recording Studio, and began to establish a reputation for himself as an indispensable session musician.  His musical collaborations reflected his eclectic musical taste, working with such variegated artists and groups as Edward Bear, Placido Domingo, Ofra Harnoy, Dan Hill, Ian & Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, the London Symphony Orchestra, Anne Murray, Bob Seger, and Ringo Starr.  He recorded twenty-five CDs with Murray alone.  Domingo personally commissioned him to arrange Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "None But The Lonely Heart" for him to perform with the LSO.  In addition, Riley composed three ballets for The National Ballet of Canada, and dabbled in other classical-music forms, including concerti and a string quartet.  Riley's first love was jazz, however, and he always came back to it.  He established the Prince Edward Island Jazz Festival in the early '90s and consistently won the Jazz Report Awards' prize for "Jazz Organist of the Year" seven years running, from 1993 to 2000.  Doug Riley was associated with a variety of groups and ensembles during his illustrious career, including his own Doug Riley Band, Doug Riley Quartet, and Tenor Madness, for whom he played the vaunted Hammond B-3 Organ.  He died suddenly of a massive coronary on 28 August 2007 while sitting on an airplane awaiting take-off from Calgary Airport.  All totaled, Doug Riley's discography comprises some 300-plus recordings.   His last was 2005's Stride, in conjunction with John Roby and Tyler Yarema.  In 2004, he received one of the highest honours that can be bestowed up anyone, the estimable Order of Canada.  As Musical Director of the Famous People Players, Doug Riley contributed his time and talent to a number of worthy causes, including Easter Seals, Princess Margaret Hospital Lodge, and the United Way.  Links are listed below.

     

    Bob Seger recordings

    Feel Like a Number

    Capitol P-A-5077 (S97843A) (US 45)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1107927/a/Night+Moves.htm
    2. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/2100612/a/Stranger+In+Town.htm
    3. http://www.answers.com/topic/the-complete-greatest-hits-folk-album
    4. http://shopping.yahoo.com/p:Doug%20Riley:1927021461
    5. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/appears/0,,485136,00.html
    6. http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/keyboardist/
    7. http://www.bigtreehouse.com/Bio.htm
    8. http://www.davekaymusic.com/?doc=news
    9. http://www.bittersuiteband.com/music_birthdays-april.htm
    10. http://forums.vteen.com/index.php?showtopic=27000
    11. http://reader.feedshow.com/show_items-feed=1f3fd0afb315ba99c0d2b8ac92a59fd5?page=0
    12. http://cdbaby.com/style/113/all
    13. http://anythingbut.com/archive/2007_08.htm
    14. http://settledinshipping.blogspot.com/
    15. http://www.easterseals.com/site/PageServer
    16. http://www.uhn.ca/Clinics_&_Services/services/pmh_lodge/
    17. http://www.unitedway.org/

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    19.                          Here he is performing in concert with three other keyboard greats....

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