Eddie Graf (1921 – 2017)
(first published on Aug, 2015)
Eddie Graf is a member of Encore Band. He is also a well known and beloved saxophone player, band leader, composer, arranger.
Eddie Graf is also dad to Toronto Musician Lenny Graf, who also plays in the Encore Band.
Lenny Graf talked about his dad, Eddie Graf:
…..He played and wrote for the Army Show during WWII where he met his wife Bernice, also known as “Bunny” to her friends. He then came back to Toronto to write for many CBC and USA TV and Radio shows, including Juliette, Gordie Tapp, Tommy Hunter and I’ve seen his band play for Rich Little, Bob Hope and Dina Shore among many others.
(I had the pleasure of playing in the band for many of these)….
Eddie Graf has been described by musicians, bandleaders and music producers as one of North America’s most gifted and versatile musical arrangers, as well as a fine clarinet/sax player and bandleader. He came from a musical family during the Great Depression. He began writing arrangements for local groups at an early age, continuing on during the Second World War, entertaining troops overseas. During the Big Band Era, he was influenced as a clarinetist by the works of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman, and many of the great arrangers from radio, TV and stage, as well as the works of the great classical composers, including his favorites, Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninoff and Debussy.
Eddie’s arrangements and recordings have been featured on countless TV, radio and stage productions across North America. He has arranged music for Maureen Forester, Dick Haymes, Juliette, Tommy Hunter and for Frank Sinatra when he performed in Toronto. A popular band leader, Eddie has performed with such stars as Victor Borge, Jack Jones, Gordie Tapp, Dinah Shore, Dinah Christie, Sandra O’Neill, Catherine McKinnon and Jerry Vale. He has arranged music for Dal Richards Big Band, Sharon, Lois and Bram, Mart Kenney, Dick Haynes, Henry Questa. Graf was chief arranger on the CBC’s Juliette TV series and Musical Director for The Tommy Hunter Show.Eddie Graf has led bands at the Palais Royale Ballroom, The Royal York Hotel, Stage West Dinner Theatre, Casa Loma, Wonderland Gardens, Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre and has also performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Eddie Graf has received many awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Toronto Musicians’ Association, and is an Honourary Life Member of the Canadian Band Association
Thanks to Mary Wiens, of CBC Metro Mornings, for doing an interview with Eddie Graf
Read article on CBC website posted on Oct 23, 2105.
Watch videos of Encore Band performing Eddie’s songs: “Trade Winds” or “Country Fair”. Both songs were composed and arranged by Eddie Graf. (look out for Eddie himself playing saxophone in the band!)
Here is a video of son Lenny Graf performing as flute soloist in another song composed and arranged by Eddie Graf, Latin Merengue.
Read more about Eddie Graf on theWholenote.com posted in April, 2011.
Eddie Graf’s Big Band jazz chart
An update on Eddie Graf (posted on Oct 17, 2017)
Eddie was a beloved member of Encore Band. Eddie left us in Sept, 2017 at the age of 96. He was a legendary musician and very well respected man.
Here is a video made by son, Lenny Graf, in memory of Eddie Graf.