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Barry Elmes

Barry Elmes

Barry Elmes (drummer) was born in Galt, Ontario. Barry has occupied a position of prominence on the Canadian jazz scene since the 1980s and has become internationally-respected over the years since, not only as one of Canada’s most talented drummers, but for parallel accomplishments as a composer, producer, band leader, recording artist, and dedicated educator. His award-winning work has been documented on over 70 jazz CDs and he has performed all over the world with many renowned jazz artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Flanagan, Charlie Haden, Diana Krall, Joe Henderson, John Abercrombie, Oliver Jones, Cedar Walton, Phil Nimmons, and Moe Koffman. In 1992 Barry represented Canada at the Venezuela International Jazz Festival with the Time Warp, a quartet he co-leads. In 1994 he was featured with the Oliver Jones Trio on the Governor-General’s Tour of China, Japan and Korea. In 1996 he performed in Brazil with the Ed Bickert Quartet and toured South Africa with the Canadian Jazz Giants. In 2002 Barry was commissioned to create a special jazz group comprised of established Canadian jazz artists and student jazz musicians to perform at the Governor-General’s Performing Arts Awards Show (concert and national television broadcast). Barry has been commissioned by CBC Radio Canada to be the musical director for a special concert-recording-film in 2012 to honor the career achievements of CBC Radio show host Katie Malloch.

Barry has received numerous “National Jazz Awards”, including: “Drummer of the Year” four times (1994-95-96,1998) and “Jazz Musician of the Year” twice (1993-94). He has produced over 30 CD projects, including Mike Murley’s Juno Award winning CD Live at The Senator, (Cornerstone Records Inc. CD113).

In 1991 he formed the Barry Elmes Quintet, featuring a “who’s who” of the best in Canadian jazz. A success from the beginning, this group has released five notable recordings featuring Barry’s compositions, the first of which, the critically acclaimed “Climbing”, received a Juno nomination for Best Jazz Recording. The quintet’s fourth CD release “The Five Minute Warning” received an Indie Award nomination for Best Jazz Recording 2001. The following year the Barry Elmes Quintet received the 2002 National Jazz Award for “Acoustic Jazz Group of the Year”.  Since its inception, the Barry Elmes quintet has completed several domestic tours and one international tour. In April 2000, Barry’s quintet completed a groundbreaking tour of Chile, and in 2001 the quintet celebrated its tenth anniversary with a Canadian tour.

Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, the Barry Elmes Quintet has released its long-awaited fifth CD entitled “Redshift”, showcasing Barry’s new compositions performed by longtime regular quintet members Mike Murley (saxophone), Kevin Turcotte (trumpet), Reg Schwager (guitar), Steve Wallace (bass), plus special guests Kelly Jefferson (saxophone, flute) and Vanessa Rodrigues (Hammond organ).

In addition, Barry continues to produce recordings for a variety of artists, co-leads the quartet Time Warp and presides over Cornerstone Records Inc., a successful artist-owned jazz label and publishing company dedicated to presenting recordings by Canadian jazz artists. Barry is an associate professor of music at York University and currently serves as the Jazz Area Coordinator.


Video Clips


Barry Elmes Quartet “Happy Hour”

Perry White – Tenor Sax
Reg Schwager – Guitar
Vanessa Rodrigues – B3 Organ
Barry Elmes – Drums


The Cookers Quintet (2011 Rex Hotel Toronto)

Ryan Oliver: tenor sax
Tim Hamel: trumpet
Richard Whiteman: piano
Alex Coleman: bass
Barry Elmes: drums