is a Toronto-based broadcaster/producer/writer, born in St. Catharines,
Ontario. He is a 1963 graduate of the Radio & Television Arts course
at Ryerson Institute of Technology (now Ryerson University). After graduation,
he worked in commercial radio at CKKW in Kitchener, and CHIC in Brampton.
In 1965 O’Reilly joined CJRT-FM Toronto, a publicly-supported educational station. Given the freedom to present real jazz, he produced and presented a six-day-a-week show The Jazz Scene for the next 37 years. In 2002, he left the station--renamed JAZZ.FM91--unhappy with the commercial direction and diluted content.
Since early 2003 he has been working with Toronto Jazz Live!, an initiative of Tourism Toronto. As a spokesman and consultant, he encourages visitors to the city to discover its busy jazz activities.
In the mid-1960s there were few recordings by Canadian artists, so O’Reilly created The Sound of Toronto Jazz series of live performances. Eventually he presented over 250 concerts, all recorded for broadcast.
In addition, Ted recorded several hundred other performances at concert halls and clubs. Many have been released on labels such as Justin Time, Sackville and his own Unisson label in Canada; and Maracatu in France, Philology in Italy, and for US firms MusicMasters, Music & Arts and Label M. Artists include Kenny Wheeler, Ray Bryant, Oliver Jones, Niels Lan Doky, Sonny Greenwich, Jay McShann, Lenny Breau, Ralph Sutton, John Abercrombie and Geoff Keezer.
As well, O’Reilly has produced in-studio recordings by Canadian and international artists Dick Hyman and Dick Wellstood, Rob McConnell, Gene DiNovi, Ed Bickert, Art Ellefson with Tommy Flanagan, Fraser MacPherson, singer Trudy Desmond and others, for Unisson and Candid in the U.K. Outside the jazz world, he has produced releases for the classical piano duo Anagnoson & Kinton, and satirical singer/songwriter Nancy White.
Ted O’Reilly has interviewed hundreds of jazz greats, such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Charles Mingus, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, Buddy Rich, Eubie Blake and Cab Calloway. He has written reviews and articles for many publications, including coda, En Route, Maclean’s, AudioScene, and currently, WholeNote, which covers Toronto’s classical and jazz communities. As well, Arbors, Justin Time, Sackville, and other record companies have had him write liner notes for their releases.
Ted O’Reilly is a three-time winner of the Canadian Music Council’s national award for Best Jazz Broadcast. In 1998, the Ontario Association of Broadcasters gave him the Canadian Talent Development Award for the Sound of Toronto Jazz series. His production and recording of pianist Oliver Jones’ trio at Montreal Bistro in Toronto won the Felix Award from Quebec’s Asdiq as album de l’annee—Jazz in 1999. Ted has been given the Harbourfront Molson Award for services to traditional jazz, and when the Orillia Jazz Festival began in 1991, they made him their Honourary Chairman.
As the 20th Century ended, O’Reilly produced and presented (with research and writing by John Norris, founder of coda, Canada’s Jazz Magazine) a 26-hour radio series The Jazz Century, heard in Ontario and Alberta and on more than 50 public radio stations across the USA.
He has hosted many discussion panels, including a 2003 Massey Hall convocation on the 50th Anniversary of the famous Greatest Jazz Concert by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Panelists included Herbie Hancock, David Holland and Roy Hargrove. For SOCAN, O’Reilly conducted Composers’ Workshops; and Master Classes by George Shearing for KPMT. He has lectured at Phil Nimmons’ Jazz Camp At Manitou-Wabing; and frequently served as a jurist for the Juno Awards, FACTOR and Ontario Arts Council.
For a decade-and-a-half, with John Norris, O’Reilly led groups to the Bern Jazz Festival, and more recently brought fans to the Newport Jazz Festival on board the QE2. Other jazz cruises have been on the Seabourn and Princess Lines.
As a dedicated jazz fan himself, Ted has attended events such as the Duke Ellington Society’s conferences in Stockholm (and of course, in Toronto); the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles; Mt. Hood near Portland, Oregon; Montreal International Jazz Festival; Vancouver International Jazz Festival; the Swinging Jazz Party in Blackpool, UK; the Nice Jazz Festival in the south of France; the Arbors Jazz Party in Tampa Bay; and Bob Barnard’s Jazz Party in Melbourne, Australia.
He has searched out jazz all over Canada and the US (even New Orleans!), in Paris and Lyon; Berlin, Cologne, Munich and Hamburg; Zurich, Montreux, Geneva, Baden and Lugano; Milano, Florence and Rome; Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Sydney and Singapore. He is pleased to say he has found it everywhere.
Ted currently resides in
downtown Toronto, and still can be seen most nights doing what he loves
best-—listening to live jazz.
Contact Ted through email email@example.com.