After over 40 years on the scene in Victoria, Gord Clements has established himself as one of Victoria’s most prolific multi-instrumentalists and sought-after educators. With five jazz albums, an orchestral recording of original bass clarinet pieces, and induction into Victoria’s Music Hall of Fame in 2009, Clements’ unique career has made his classes and workshops inspirational to students of all ages and levels.
An Accomplished Orchestral Performer
As a classical musician and clinician for Buffet Crampon Clarinets and Keilworth Saxophones, Clements spent 15 years as principal bass clarinetist and saxophone soloist for the Victoria Symphony. In 2012, Clements released “7 New Works”, a collection of original pieces by seven different composers for solo bass clarinet and string orchestra. Conducted by Timothy Vernon, the project more than doubled the existing repertoire for this instrumentation. Clements is also resident clarinetist and saxophonist for the Palm Court Orchestra.
A Renowned Jazz Musician
However, Gord Clements’ is most known for his work as a jazz musician. As a saxophonist, Clements has collaborated with Paul Horn, Louise Rose, Gary Guthman, Tommy Banks, Rob McConnell, Don Clark, Ian McDougal, Phil Dwyer, and Hugh Fraser. In 2002, Clements started working with renowned musicians Misha Piatigorksy and Neil Swainson, recording three highly acclaimed albums that pushed the boundaries of the bass clarinet in jazz. Starting with “Above and Below” (2002), the trio expanded to include the legendary Don Thompson on “Bounce” (2003), and with Willard Dyson and Rob Cheramy on “Run” (2006).
Regarded as one of Victoria’s best music educators, Gord Clements has worked as a teacher, clinician, ensemble coach and conductor for over 40 years. Clements has taught at the University of Victoria, was Head of jazz Studies at the Victoria Conservatory of Music for 27 years and was Artistic Director and Founder of the VCM Summer Jazz Workshop. He recently retired as Senior School Director of Concert and Jazz Bands at St. Michaels University School.
Thoughts from others on “7 New Works”:
Timothy Vernon - Artistic Director Pacific Opera
All the more reason to applaud Gordon Clements’ wonderful initiative. By turns contemplative, moody, lively, even virtuosic, these seven pieces show the expressive range and specific colours of the bass clarinet to advantage. Hearing fresh voices in brand new works of music is always exciting, and the stimulus to the composers, neophyte as well as more experienced, is an additional benefit. Gordon Clements has with great investment given us all a chance to share the love he has for this instrument and its expressive potential.
Tobin Stokes - composer, music director
I met Gord in 1984. I was starting to go to the University of Victoria and here was this guy encouraging me to play Jazz. I was not sure that was allowed there, and I was actually quite surprised. I was just learning to play jazz piano, jazz drums and jazz vibes. Gord was very very encouraging as he still is to so many people to this day. Soon after that I started sneaking into Victoria Symphony concerts and there was Gord. Every time they needed a saxophone they’d call Gord and I thought, “Who was this guy straddling both worlds?” Besides his encouragement and his love for music, he straddles these two worlds of Jazz and Classical.
Some reviews of his work:
“…a dark and smooth sound with a punch like neat whiskey.”
Susan Downs, Times-Colonist
“[Seven New Works] captures all of the beauty of the premiere concert performance and then some. […] His tone is rich as a finely brewed espresso.”
Patricia Kostek, Professor of Clarniet, UVic
“From its Mancini-ish opening notes to the killer Ellingtonian finale, this is some fine mainstream chamber jazz. …one of the strongest and best-sounding recordings yet from Victoria’s jazz scene.”
Ian Cochrane, Monday Magazine
“What a nice and warm sound, you can be sure to get lots of airplay from us at Radio-Canada.”
André Rhéaume, ICI Musique
“Super playing and terrific new repertoire, I’ll have to get busy making occasions to play some of this too! I’m sure this was a real labour of love and a lot of time, money and effort to pull together, bravo on a super disc.”
Peter Stoll, Clarinet Professor University of Toronto
“It is terrific, classic and excellent jazz. Very beautiful bass clarinet playing throughout the range. The whole ensemble is great.”
Keith McLeod, Principal Clarinet, Victoria Symphony
“The horn is so beautifully played. …this is a great album. It deserves consideration for an award of some kind. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Gord play with such confidence and agility.”
Will Goede, Professor, Capilano College
“I love the sound and the writing is first class.”
André Rhéaume, ICI Musique