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Canadian Heritage

Ian Arnott


IAN ARNOTT (clarinetist, vocalist) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in June, 1933. He passed away in Toronto on February 21, 2006.

Throughout his career, he was a member of the famed Dr. McJazz for five years, The Climax Jazz Band for many years after that, and Jim McHarg's Maple Leaf Jazz Band throughout its existence.

Coming to Canada in 1955, Arnott joined the Imperial Jazz Band, playing with guesting jazz greats including Buck Clayton, Ruby Braff, Vic Dickenson, Pee Wee Russell, Jimmy Rushing, Cootie Williams,Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith, Wingie Manone, and Ben Webster. He returned to his U.K. roots in 1961 to study at the Royal Conservatory in Cardiff, but five years later, Canada called once more and he resumed his career this side of the ocean in 1966, working throughout the rest of his busy career in jazz and show bands in hotels, on radio and television, in concerts and in clubs throughout Toronto and on tour, and in jazz parties all over North America.

Ian Arnott excelled as a clarinetist in the swing tradition, but also had impressive classical credentials. His vocals were compared by critics to singers such as Rudy Vallee and a young Bing Crosby.