IAN MARTIN BARGH (pianist) was born on January 8, 1935 in Prestwick, Scotland and passed away January 1, 2012. By the age of 17, he was playing classical piano and working with jazz groups and dance bands all over the Midlands, England and Scotland until 1957.
It was then he emigrated to Toronto where he was a vital part of the jazz genre.
He quickly became a familiar figure on stage and playing in jazz clubs all over the city, frequently at the famous George’s Spaghetti House. He began backing jazz greats who visited Toronto throughout the ’60s and ‘70s: Buddy Tate, Buck Clayton, Bobby Hackett, Vic Dickenson, Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson, Ernestine Anderson, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Edmund Hall, Doc Cheatham, Tyree Glenn, and others.
In the early ‘80s, Bargh began an eight-year run as the resident pianist for Jim Galloway’s Saturday afternoon “Toronto Alive!” sessions at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre, a gig which was broadcast live on radio, and showcased a non-stop parade of jazz greats who were usually appearing at jazz clubs in town that week. The list was long, including Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Lee Konitz, Peter Appleyard, Frank Wright, Scott Hamilton, Rob McConnell, Guido Basso, Ed Bickert, Dizzy Reece, and Warren Vache.
The 1980s also saw Ian Bargh appearing in jazz festivals across Canada and around the world – Ottawa, Victoria, Toronto, Bern (Switzerland), Budapest (Hungary), and Edinburgh (Scotland) – and in concert appearances with Jazz Canada, an all-star group led by Jim Galloway, and featuring some of Canada’s leading jazz artists. It was late that decade, too, when he began a 15-year stint with the annual Toronto Downtown Jazz festival leading the rhythm section appearing in the Festival’s ‘host’ hotel supporting outstanding guest artists including Plas Johnson, Spanky Davis, Harold Ashby, both Allan and Warren Vache, Fraser MacPherson, Joe Temperley, Randy Sandke, Jake Hanna, and George Masso.
He was the long-time pianist with Jim Galloway’s “Echoes of Swing” sextet, the featured band on an annual jazz cruise conducted by Oceans Away Cruises on Holland America Lines, an undertaking Galloway has spearheaded for more than three decades.