Published Jun 08, 2015Toronto has lost a veteran drummer, as famed jazzman Archie Alleyne has passed away following a long battle with cancer. He was 82 and died at the local Bridgepoint Health hospital.
His official Twitter account has been updated with the message, "With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Archie Alleyne."
Alleyne was born in 1933 and was raised in Toronto's Kensington Market neighbourhood. Mostly self-taught, he went on to play with luminaries like Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, Lester Young, Sonnie Stitt and more.
He was the house drummer at the Town Tavern for over a decade in the '50s and '60s, but he stepped away from music following a 1967 car crash. He became a restauranteur before rekindling his music career in the '80s and playing in various ensembles in the subsequent decades.
He became an officer for the Order Of Canada in 2012, and established a non-profit organization called the the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund with the aim of supporting young local jazz musicians.
Alleyne's death comes a week before the launch of his autobiography Colour Me Jazz: The Archie Alleyne Story, which was co-authored with Sheldon Taylor. A book launch that was scheduled to take place at the Painbox Bistro on Sunday June 14, with all book sales going to the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund, has been postponed.