Frank Norman Wright
May 5, 1929 - May 16, 2021
Frank, beloved husband, father, grandpa, great-grandpa, godfather, went to be with The Lord on May 16, 2021.
Passing peacefully in his sleep in his 93rd year, with family by his side. Born in Toronto on May 5, 1929, to William and Mary Wright.
Predeceased by his brothers and sisters: William, Henry, Alice, John and Carrie. Predeceased by his loving wife Marie and first born Douglas. Father of Norman (Wendy), Diane (Jake), Donna and Kevin. Loving Grandpa of Christopher, Erin (Bryan) and Kyle. Great-grandpa of Briana. Godfather of Gary. Uncle, cousin, friend of many.
A vibraphonist, band member and most recent leader of the CJQ - Canadian Jazz Quartet, he was a mainstay of the Toronto jazz scene. He is one cool jazz cat and will be sadly missed by all. He’s off to play in “the great gig in the sky”.
The CANADIAN JAZZ QUARTET - a Lasting Legacy
Since the establishment of the landmark "Fridays at Five" early evening jazz sessions at Quotes Bar & Grill in Toronto's Entertainment District in 2006 - and continuously until the CJQ's last "First Fridays" performance on March 6, 2020 which wrapped a six-year residency at the Old Mill Hotel's Home Smith Bar - the classy CANADIAN JAZZ QUARTET has played host in hard-swinging collaboration with some of the biggest names and most talented players on the Toronto jazz scene, as well as a lengthy roster of international mainstream giants.
Beloved vibes-master FRANK WRIGHT, a jazz icon who passed away on May 16, 2021, has been steadfastly making impeccable music from behind his vibraphone throughout...and at the leadership helm since the CJQ's 1987 founder, guitarist GARY BENSON's tragic death in 2014. After GARY BENSON's passing, and long-time bassist DUNCAN HOPKINS' relocation to Europe that same year, the CJQ under FRANK WRIGHT's leadership for the past seven years has comprised an all-star contingent including renowned guitarist TED QUINLAN, acclaimed bassist PAT COLLINS, and CJQ co-founder, drummer DON VICKERY.
The time-honored CANADIAN JAZZ QUARTET was established in 1987 by guitar maestro GARY BENSON - accomplished solo artist, composer, arranger, accompanist, ensemble player, and gifted teacher - and a musical consortium made up of some of the best musicians on the Toronto club and studio scene: accordionist GORDIE FLEMING, guitarist GARY BENSON, bassist GERRY HOELKE, and drummer DON VICKERY. When illness forced Gord Fleming's retirement, and Gerry Hoelke relocated to Ottawa, the remaining two original members, founder GARY BENSON and drummer DON VICKERY invited bassist BOB PRICE and vibraphonist FRANK WRIGHT to bring the complement back to four, the illustrious quartet which was the CJQ for more than a decade.
With Bob Price's passing in 2003, bassist DUNCAN HOPKINS joined the CJQ's GARY BENSON (guitar), FRANK WRIGHT (vibes), and DON VICKERY (drums), and that foursome remained the composition of the CANADIAN JAZZ QUARTET until Duncan and his family took up residence in Belgium in 2014, shortly after founder Gary Benson passed away. From 2014 until their final pre-pandemic performance in 2020, the current CANADIAN JAZZ QUARTET iteration under (the late) FRANK WRIGHT's leadership - with TED QUINLAN (guitar), PAT COLLINS (bass), and original co-founder DON VICKERY (drums) - have meticulously maintained the venerated CJQ's 35-year history of jazz excellence in Canada.
(Fay Olson - May 20, 2021)