Music Memory – Doug Mitchell

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the “Music For Memory Project”: a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

This week, we hear from listener and JAZZ.FM91 supporter, Doug Mitchell.

“I have been a jazz fan for most of my life, as well as being involved with music since my early childhood – a student of piano, clarinet and sax.

I was raised surrounded by classical music; that is was what interested my father. He was extremely knowledgeable about classical music and I remember him winning countless albums on a call in show in the early days of FM in Kitchener. I remember his interests, which were quite eclectic, changing as he started to listen to Stravinsky and Shostakovich.

One day, he arrived home with two albums. One was Duke Ellington plays the Cotton Club and the other was an album by Mezz Mezzrow because I had just started learning clarinet. Not long after that he came home with two tickets to hear Duke Ellington at the Kitchener Auditorium. I believe that it was 1957. I sat there absolutely enthralled by what I was hearing with the exception of Mood Indigo, which I could not appreciate at that time. Of course, it is now a favourite of mine.

He later gave me an extended play 45 of a few songs from Brubeck’s Dave Digs Disney and my life as a jazz lover was on its way. My connection to classical music has not waned and in fact my first two jazz album purchases were Barney Kessel Plays Carmen and Miles Davis Plays Porgy and Bess.

It takes reflection to realize now how much my fathers desire to understand all forms of music affected me. If it had not been for him jazz and I might not have had this long and wonderful relationship. At 73-years-old, I am just staring to work with a wonderful jazz singer to try and put a jazz touch to some of my favourite music.”