This archival interview is from Bill King’s upcoming book of interviews, Talk! Conversations in All Keys.

In June of 2015, my good friend and bandstand partner Archie Alleyne passed away at 82. Archie had been battling prostate cancer for the previous decade — a decade during which we rarely saw each other. Our time shared was between 1992 and 2002, when it seemed like we played everywhere and with every aspiring singer, beginning with Liberty Silver. Archie didn’t particularly care for pushing singers along; he was a “schooled” hard-bop drummer intent on one day leading a band and producing his music. It happened as he cleared 70 years of age, when he formed Kollage.

Archie wanted his band to be black. He wanted it to speak to this country and tell the story of black Canadian jazz musicians, and to hold our attention. I was never troubled by that. I understood his frustration and purpose of mind. Archie wanted role models in his band for other young gifted black musicians. He didn’t want them focused on musicians south of the border where jazz originated; those popular jazz faces; the ordained or familiar. It was his story — a Canadian story near invisible — and he wanted black Canadian heroes recognized. Montreal got all the acclaim. There was Oscar Peterson, Sonny Greenwich, Ranee Lee, Oliver Jones. What about Toronto?

Archie made it his mission to restore and archive the photographs and names of those musicians before him. With the support of JAZZ.FM91 and friends, that dream was fully realized with a recording called Fine Print and a scholarship fund in his name. I was fortunate to produce one side of the band’s debut, and to contribute a song: Archie Meets Art.

Anyone who met Arch knew he carried himself with dignity and revealed a great sense of humour. I took him aside in 2001 just as he formed Kollage and caught this exchange. Archie taught us that living the dream is not something solely in possession of youth — it’s there for all of us.