Shortly after getting my Crown alto saxophone, I started playing with this very cool ensemble called “Billy Meyer and The Tradewinds”. Billy on muted trumpet, sounded a bit like Miles Davis.
Members of the band (from left to right in the above photo) were Jimmy Nolan (vocalist), Russ Strathdee (alto sax), Bill Meyer (trumpet), Marvin Foy (drums), Nick Bassel (bass), a guitarist and Jimmy Nantais (piano).
The Tradewinds played mostly high school dances. Cool Jazz was very popular back then. One of the tunes we did was called “Four”, written by Miles Davis. It was very jazzy and jazz improvisation was very new and exciting for me. I can’t remember what we got paid, probably around $3.00 / night.
Nick Bassel and I would go our separate ways musically for a while. He continued to play with the Tradewinds doing summer gigs at resorts while I got involved with a number of other groups, playing around Toronto. I missed playing with Nick. He was a brilliant musician with Perfect Pitch.
Marv was a cool guy. His day job was selling cars. He had great admiration at the time for a successful Toronto drummer named Ron Ruly. Marv’s drum kit was blue sparkle, just like Ruly’s.
How I came to be in the Tradewinds was likely through Nick Bassel. Nick’s older brother Bill Bassel was studying to be a lawyer and I think he knew Bill Meyer, who was also studying law. William Jordan Meyer would become a QC and a member of the Law Society of Ontario.