Biography of Stich Wynston
Drummer, Composer, Arranger, Improvisor, Demon
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Name:          Stich Wynston
Date of Birth: January 29, 1961
Birthplace:    Toronto
Citizenship:   Canadian

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 Shuffle 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 10 albums 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 Shuffle 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 sincere adoration.

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 (Canada).

His playing is also very influenced by Paul Motian as well as some of the other atmospheric/textural European drummers.

“Wynston is obviously influenced by Jack DeJohnette and Paul Motian; he’s got DeJohnette’s muscularity and Motian’s painterly approach.” 
– Paul Olsen,

   "... 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 percussion ensemble."
– Ben Watson, The Hi Fi News (U.K.).

His forward thinking musical sensibilities have always pushed the envelope of contemporary music and creative improvisation.

“Toronto musician 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,

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.

Stich Wynston is based in Toronto, Canada

Hear all the Stich Wynston's Modern Surfaces recordings on Spotify


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