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Canadian Heritage

Archie Alleyne


ARCHIE ALLEYNE (drummer, bandleader) was born Archibald Alexander Alleyne on January 7, 1933 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. From largely self-taught beginnings, he soared to future and current legendary status during the years after launching his playing career in the early ‘50s. A familiar sight – and sound – as the resident drummer at the famous Town Tavern for more than a decade from 1955 to 1966. Alleyne became the drummer-of-choice for visiting jazz stars including Sonnie Stitt, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, Bud Freeman, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and Lester Young.

During the same period, he also played in local recording studios; in the big bands of jazz luminaries including Ron Collier and Don (D.T.) Thompson; as a featured sideman with countless jazz names appearing in leading jazz clubs everywhere; and on tour throughout North America and the Caribbean with notables including Marion McPartland and Teddy Wilson.

After an automobile accident in 1967, Alleyne became a restaurateur, partnering in the popular Underground Railroad in Toronto, while his musical career was put on hold from 1970 to 1982. He returned to the music scene in 1982, forming a quartet with vibraphonist Frank Wright, Connie Maynard on piano, and bassist Bill Best (replaced later by Wray Downes and later, Steve Wallace). He went back to international touring, too, throughout Great Britain with saxophonist Jim Galloway in 1985, and during 1988 and 1989, as a sideman with celebrated pianist Oliver Jones in Cuba, Ireland, Spain, Egypt, the Ivory Coast, and Nigeria.

In 2000, he co-created Kollage, the multi-talented jazz sextet which, now under Alleyne’s leadership, is one of the highest-profile and busiest bands in Canada.

He also established Evolution of Jazz performing troupes, the affiliated Archie Alleyne Mentorship Program to benefit youthful career development, and the Archie Alleyne Scholarship & Bursary Fund to recognize and encourage academic excellence in jazz studies.


1981 - Cheer Productions: Canadian Black Music Award & Black Music Pioneer

1993 - Jazz Report ‘Drummer of the Year’ Award

2000 - Toronto Arts Award honoring Artistic Excellence and Achievement

2003 - Pride Magazine - African-Canadian Lifetime Achievement Award

2003 - IAJE (International Association for Jazz Education) in recognition of Outstanding Service to Jazz Education

2003 - Brandon Street Community Development Foundation: The Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund

2005 - Urban Music Association of Canada (UMAC) Lifetime Achievement Award

2007 - AFofM (American Federation of Musicians) Charles Walton Advocate Award Semi-Finalist

2008 - National Jazz Awards Nominee as “Drummer of the Year”