Date of Birth: January
Stich Wynston is
a drummer, composer, bandleader and sideman born and based in Toronto,
Canada and best known for his 30+ years as the dynamic drummer for The
Demons. He attended York University from 1980 – 1985 where he
graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree majoring in music including
studies in jazz with John Gittens and Lorne Lofsky, South Indian classical
music with Trichy Sancharan and 20th-century classical music with James
Tenney. During that time period Stich was also accepted to the world-renowned
Banff School of Fine Arts summer jazz program for three years running in
1982, 1983 and 1984. While at the Banff School, Stich had the good fortune
of studying with and playing with Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, Kenny Wheeler,
Lee Konitz, Steve Coleman, John Abercrombie, Anthony Braxton, Albert Manglesdorf
and Julian Priester.
In the late seventies
while still in high school, Stich attended two Jamey Aebersold summer jazz
clinics with a faculty that included: Dave Liebman, Tom Harrell, Slide
Hampton, Ronnie Mathews, Hal Galper, James Williams, Ron McLure, Rufus
Reid, Elliot Zigmund and Ed Soph.
Stich has performed
with numerous jazz artists and ensembles including: Julius Hemphill, Charles
Gayle, Jon Ballantyne, Phil Dwyer, George McFetridge, Mike Murley, Brownman
Ali, Lorne Lofsky, Ted Quinlan, Bob Mover, Jane Bunnett, Holly Cole and
Molly Johnson. Stich is also one of the co-founders and co-leaders of the
legendary Shuffle Demons, a band with whom he has released nine CDs and
toured with for over three decades performing at festivals, concert stages
and clubs all over the world.
Stich has also worked
with many prominent artists in more commercial settings including: Jane
Siberry, Tom Cochrane, Alex Lifeson, Big Sugar, The Sidemen, Dr. Pop and
the Noise, Kobo Town, Digging Roots, Da and Abolengo.
As a member of the
Demons, Stich has been the recipient of several CASBY AWARDS and TORONTO
MUSIC AWARDS including: Best Jazz Recording, Best Toronto Jazz Group, Best
Independent Artist and Best Independent Video. Stich has also appeared
on two different recordings which received JUNO AWARD nominations (Shuffle
Demons – STREETNIKS – 1987 and Paul Cram Large Band – Beyond Benghazi –
1988), on Digging Roots JUNO AWARD winning recording WE ARE – 2010, and
was also a member of Big Sugar in 1995 when the Blues/Rock outfit was nominated
for Best New Group at the JUNOS.
As well as his recordings
with the Shuffle Demons, Paul Cram and Digging Roots, Stich’s discography
includes Jane Sibbery’s BOUND BY THE BEAUTY (Warner Brothers – 1989) and
Big Sugar’s DEAR M.F. (A&M – 1995).
In 1996, along with
his long time cohorts Mike Murley and Geoff Young, Stich formed his own
group called Modern Surfaces. Going far beyond the boundaries of jazz,
Modern Surfaces is a truly unique ensemble encompassing free-improvisation,
20th-century classical music, electronic textures, and more. In 1998, Modern
Surfaces recorded their first CD along with special guest Paul Bley. In
1999, Stich got signed to a world-wide licensing deal with Buzz Records,
a division of Challenge Records Services B. V. in the Netherlands.
In November 1999,
Modern Surfaces embarked on a very successful tour of Europe including
several dates in England as well as concert performances in Amsterdam and
Brussels. Modern Surfaces were joined by renowned British pianist Keith
Tippett for several of their concerts in the UK.
In October 2000,
Modern Surfaces toured Japan for two weeks doing ten concerts including
performances at the Yokohama Jazz Promenade and some of Japan’s top jazz
clubs. The tour was a resounding success as the trio’s music was met with
In 2004, Stich released
his second CD with Modern Surfaces called Transparent Horizons (TCB Music).
This world-wide release features Stich with band members Mike Murley –
saxophones, Geoff Young – guitars, and Jim Vivian – acoustic bass.
For 2021, a new Modern
Surfaces CD is in the works with the current band lineup comprised of Tim
Hagans - trumpet, Andrew Rathbun - tenor saxophone, Geoff Young - guitar,
Andrew Downing - acoustic bass and Stich Wynston - drums.
Stich has always
been a very open minded individual and his music encompasses a wide variety
of influences including jazz and the entire creative music tradition, 20th-century
classical music (especially the piano music of Arnold Schoenberg), blues,
rock, funk, soul, pop, African, Indian, Latin American, and more.
In terms of his own
playing, Stich’s most prominent influence is undoubtedly Jack DeJohnette.
“Wynston is a dramatic
drummer in the tradition of Jack DeJohnette. His atmospheric minimalism
is showcased in “Self Sacrifice,” a dramatic drum solo, while his delicate
touch animates two solo piano performances (“Catharsis”/”Looking Glass”)
that confirm the parallels with DeJohnette.”
– David Lewis, Sam
The Record Man.com (Canada).
His playing is also
very influenced by Paul Motian as well as some of the other atmospheric/textural
“Wynston is obviously
influenced by Jack DeJohnette and Paul Motian; he’s got DeJohnette’s muscularity
and Motian’s painterly approach.”
– Paul Olsen, AllAboutJazz.com
but it's on "Self Sacrifice"-Wynston's drum solo-that ears prick up.
He has Tony Oxley's ability to use timbral contrast to suggest an avantgarde
– Ben Watson, The
Hi Fi News (U.K.).
His forward thinking
musical sensibilities have always pushed the envelope of contemporary music
and creative improvisation.
Stich Wynston takes drumming about as far from it’s timekeeping role as
it can possibly go on Transparent Horizons, his first CD since his 1999
eponymous debut on Buzz Records.”
– Paul Olsen, AllAboutJazz.com
For the past three
decades Stich has been one of the first call musical accompanists for dance
in Toronto working at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Toronto Dance
Theatre Company, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre School and Company,
Dancemakers, Ballet Creole, The National Ballet of Canada School, York
University Dance Department, Ryerson University Dance Department, George
Brown College Dance Department and many more working with the top dance
teachers and choreographers both locally, domestically and internationally.
Stich has also toured with the Ballet Creole Company performing in theatres
across southern Ontario.
Since 2004, Stich
has added the role of booking agent for the Shuffle Demons to his resume
and has taken the band all over the world organizing tours of North America,
the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia,
New Zealand and Africa, highlighted by appearances at every major jazz
festival in Canada, the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, the
Baltimore Jazz Festival, The Iridium (NYC), Zacatecas International Arts
Festival (Mexico), International Jazz Plaza Festival (Cuba), Pori Jazz
Festival (Finland), Stockholm Jazz Festival (Sweden), Molde Jazz Festival
(Norway), Edinburgh Jazz Festival (UK), Jarasum Jazz Festival (South Korea),
Yokohama Jazz Promenade (Japan), OCT-LOFT Jazz Festival (China), Bangkok
International Festival of Dance and Music (Thailand), Goa International
Jazz Festival (India), Congo Square Jazz Festival (India), Dubbo Jazz Festival
(Australia), Jazz in the Pines Festival (Australia), Taranaki International
Arts Festival (New Zealand), the Tauranga International Arts Festival (New
Zealand), Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival (Panama), El Salvador Jazz Festival,
Guatemala Jazz Festival, Jazz E Vinho Festival (Brazil), Barranquijazz
(Colombia), Jazz al Parque Festival (Colombia), Panama Jazz Festival, Ecuador
Jazz Festival, Nicaragua Jazz Festival, Naniki Music Festival (Barbados),
Bequia Music Festival, MASA/Abidjan Arts Market (Ivory Coast, West Africa).
Stich has been lauded
for his business acumen by keynote speakers at important music industry
conferences who have cited him as a prototypical musician who takes his
band's business into his own hands and creates opportunities for them internationally.
Stich has turned
The Shuffle Demons into an international phenomenon and has elevated the
band to the status of Canadian ambassadors by collaborating with Canadian
Embassies and High Commissions all over the world to help promote Canadian
culture through their international touring activities.
Wynston is based in Toronto, Canada
all the Stich Wynston's Modern Surfaces recordings