A musician of rare versatility who can play saxophone, clarinet, and flute in genres ranging from classical to klezmer to rock, Tom has performed around the world. In the early 1980s he became a local favourite in the jazz, pop and blues scene in his hometown of Vancouver. More recently, Tom’s career has focussed on touring internationally with numerous Broadway musicals, although he would return home for several weeks at time for cherished stage shows. Throughout it all, he has been a sought-after studio musician.
Tom was barely into his twenties when he formed his own jazz fusion ensemble, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (comprised of early-in-their-career musicians Ian Putz, Michael Creber, Dane DeViller, Norm Fisher and Daryl Bennett), which quickly developed a following around town. In 1986, the Toad (with Bill Sample filling in for Michael Creber) competed at the Montreal Jazz Festival; by then they were known as “the band that other musicians listen to for fun.”
A two-time West Coast Music Award winner for his distinctive saxophone playing, Tom has accompanied many famous performing artists. A partial list includes Celine Dion, Gladys Knight, Jann Arden, Kenny Loggins, John Mann, Rae Armour, The Vancouver Symphony, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Dee Daniels, Randy Bachman, Tea Party, Boz Scaggs, Tom Jones, Natalie Cole, Jane Mortifee, Kenny Rogers, Joëlle Rabu, Carol Burnett, Donny Osmond, The Spinners, Clark Terry, Connie Kaldor, Rob McConnell, Rodger Hodgson, Wayne Newton, Diahann Carroll, Jay Brazeau, Bob Hope, Joan Rivers, Red Skelton, Rod Stewart, Melissa Manchester and Roch Voisine.
He has also recorded with Michael Bublé, Shari Ulrich, Leon Redbone, Veronique Beliveau, Anne Murray, Aerosmith, Yes, Paul Janz, John Denver, Farmer’s Daughter, Tamia, Rita McNeil, Powder Blues, Jim Byrnes, David Foster and Raffi.
For the past fifteen years, Tom has toured with many musicals across the United States, Canada and Asia, including The Wizard of Oz, Annie, Swing, An American in Paris, and Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Vancouver fans have enjoyed him locally on stage in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Guys and Dolls, Joni Mitchell: River, Hairspray, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Phantom of the Opera, Red Rock Diner, Sunset Boulevard, Swing, and many other productions, usually at the Stanley Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, The Playhouse or the Ford Theatre. He was the featured performer in the Benny Goodman Retrospective at the Chan Theatre. He often appears with Vancouver-based musical artists.
Tom studied music at the University of British Columbia.
His awards include:
- Two time Jesse Award winner (Jessie Richardson Theatre Award)
- 1979 Canadian Stage Band National Finals All Star Band
- UBC Wind Symphony 1979-80, Outstanding 1st Year Player