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Canadian Heritage

Ian McDougall


IAN McDOUGALL (trombonist,. arranger, composer) was born on June 14, 1938 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia where he began his 'professional' career at the age of 12 when he joined the Victoria Local (247) of the American Federation of Musicians, the youngest person ever to join that local.

He is perhaps best known for his work as lead trombonist with Rob McConnell’s Grammy and JUNO Award-winning ‘The Boss Brass’ for 20 years, during which time two suites composed by McDougall – ‘The Pellet Suite’ and ‘The Blue Serge Suit(e)’ – were recorded and released by the band. He was also lead trombonist and composer/arranger for JUNO Award-winning ‘The Brass Connection’.

McDougall left Victoria in 1960 to tour in Great Britain with The John Dankworth Band. Returning to Vancouver two years later, he immediately became a key part of the vibrant music scene there, playing for three years with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, working on numerous CBC Radio and Television shows, playing regularly on the bandstand at The Cave nightclub, and performing with the biggest visiting acts of the day including Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, The Supremes, Nat ‘King’ Cole, and Rosemary Clooney. It was during this same period in the ‘60s that he obtained his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees from the University of British Columbia.

He moved to Toronto in 1973, and was soon invited by Rob McConnell to join the Boss Brass where McDougall would find his musical ‘home’ for nearly two decades until 1991 when he returned to Victoria to continue his career on Canada’s West Coast.

Since the early 1980s, McDougall has become even more involved in composition, and his works have been performed by the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Lafayette String Quartet, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Rob McConnell Tentet, the Toronto Cantata Chorus, and others. In recent years, he has toured Canada and abroad, both as a soloist and with his groups, appearing in Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Denmark, Holland, the United States, Germany, and England, where McDougall served as Music Director for two BBC Big Band broadcasts. He has been featured as leader on six CDs, several of them nominated for awards.

Ian McDougall continues to play, compose, and teach in Victoria, British Columbia. He was on the jazz faculty at the University of Victoria until 2003 when he retired as Professor Emeritus. He has served as both a performer and clinician at three International Trombone Association conventions (in Nashville, Rochester, and Las Vegas), and frequently elsewhere throughout North America.


1982 - JUNO Award for’ Best Jazz Album’ to The Brass Connection for The Brass Connection
2004 - Awarded "Distinguished Alumni" honors from the University of Victoria
2005 - JUNO nomation for In a Sentimental Mood
2005 - Western Canadian Music Awards nominee for In a Sentimental Mood
2007 - Recipient of the Phil Nimmons Established Composer Award, sponsored by SOCAN and IAJE
2008 - Appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for "his contributions to classical and jazz music as a renowned trombonist and composer, and as an innovative educator and mentor"
2008 - Nominated for a JUNO Award for his participation on Live Jazz Legends with Oliver Jones, P.J. Perry, Terry Clarke, and Michel Donato
2013 - JUNO nomination for 'Instrumental Album' for The Very Thought of You
2014 - JUNO nomination for 'Traditional Jazz Album' for The Ian McDougall 12tet Live