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Canadian Brass takes on China

The Story

In 1977, as the first Western musical group to tour China since the death of Mao, the Canadian Brass learns that Chinese audiences aren't like those at home. When it becomes clear that the brass quintet is beginning one of its signature playful interpretations, the applause starts, then rises and falls throughout the piece. In this appearance on CBC-TV's 90 Minutes Live, the band takes a break to tell host Peter Gzowski about their Eastern odyssey.

Medium: Television
Program: 90 Minutes Live
Broadcast Date: April 5, 1977
Guest(s): Charles Daellenbach , Fredric Mills , Graeme Page , Ronald Romm , Eugene Watts
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 5:27

Did You know?

• The Canadian Brass, a quintet consisting of two trumpets, a trombone, a french horn and a tuba, was formed in 1970 as the Canadian Brass Ensemble. It shortened its name a year later. The group has undergone several personnel changes over the years, but at the time of this clip in 1977 the members were: Ronald Romm and Fredric Mills (trumpets), Eugene Watts (trombone), Charles Daellenbach (tuba) and Graeme Page (french horn).

• The group's tour of China was just the first of several international performances that year. It also performed in England, France, Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union.

• With members from both jazz and classical backgrounds, the Canadian Brass is very versatile. "Although the members remain first-class classical instrumentalists, they toss aside assumptions about musical boundaries, and are equally at home playing Dixieland jazz and Lennon-McCartney pop tunes." -- The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

• Longtime member Fred Mills, the trumpeter seen but not heard in this clip, played with the Canadian Brass from 1972 to 1996. He passed away in September 2009. 



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