Jazz musician Peter Appleyard dies at 84

Jazz musician Peter Appleyard died of natural causes at his Eden Mills, Ont., farm last night. He was 84.

Came out of retirement to release 2 new albums last year

Appleyard's life and legacy

8 years ago
The CBC's Laura Thompson looks at the life and legacy of Canadian jazz musician Peter Appleyard, who has died at 84. 2:34

Jazz musician Peter Appleyard died Wednesday night at the age of 84.

Appleyard died of natural causes at home on a farm in Eden Mills, Ont., his friend and manager John Cripton of Great World Artists confirmed to the Canadian Press.

The vibraphonist, percussionist and composer came out of retirement in 2012 to release two new albums. The Lost 1974 Sessions, recorded in 1974 with jazz giants like Hank Jones and Slam Stewart. Sophisticated Ladies featured Canadian vocalists.

Born in in 1928 England, Appleyard emigrated in 1951 to Toronto, where he spent much of the rest of his life.

After diving into Toronto's jazz scene, Appleyard started his own band in 1956, which led to frequent TV and radio appearances by the budding musician.

Appleyard co-hosted a CBC Radio program Patti and Peter with singer Patti Lewish from 1961-62. Several years later, he co-hosted CBC TV's Mallets and Brass with Guido Basso.

In 1972, Appleyard joined Goodman's band for almost 10 years of touring around the world.

"When I was starting out, I never dreamed I would even see Benny Goodman, let alone play with him for eight years. How does something like that happen?" Appleyard once said.

In 1992, Appleyard was made an officer in the Order of Canada.

That is only one of the artist's many accolades. He received the Oscar Peterson lifetime achievement award and an honourary degree from the University of Guelph.

His last performance was this past May, when he and a group of his decorated friends — including Basso on trumpet, Jane Bunnett on sax and Terry Clarke on drums — gathered for a night of jazz in Appleyard's barn.

Appleyard's son has reportedly confirmed a memorial will take place in August.

With files from The Canadian Press