Dixie Demons play for the Foresters International Convention in Toronto

"Thanks to the Dixie Demons for the fabulous entertainment. We have received so many compliments for the event! It was a wonderful night! Thanks again to you and the band!"
L.E.Bullard - The Foresters Toronto

Letter from Local 226, Canadian Federation of Musicians

Hello Dixie Demons! 
I hope this finds you well. Let me begin by thanking each and everyone one of you for helping to make our Annual General Meeting a great success! Right from downbeat I knew we were in for a treat. It was very apparent that not only do you fellows have great passion for traditional Jazz but your vast knowledge of the history and genre shone through. Going back and forth between standards and original compositions made for a most impressive performance. As you mentioned putting certain tunes through the Dixieland Machine such as Caravan, it was clear that conceptually speaking, all of you approached this music with the precision of those who first created it. 
Your sense of ensemble playing combined with exciting arrangements as well as exemplary compositions were certainly attributes that set the Dixie Demons apart from the crowd.
The Dixie Demons are not only a well-honed Dixieland machine but the 6 individual musicians display amazingly high proficiency on each of their respective instruments….let’s not forget the smooth vocal stylings of Mr. Dan Douglas. 
The Demons didn’t just play the songs and explain the origin of the songs - they gave us an opportunity to actually get to know them a little with their relaxed, personable banter and no pretense stage presence. 
Thank you again for playing our event and we will most certainly recommend you fellows to anyone looking for top shelf entertainment ideas.

Paul Mitchell,
President, CFM/AFM Local 226
Central Ontario Musician's Association

Excerpt from Glen Silverthorne's club listings column, May 21, 2014:

While interviewing Ross Wooldridge at The Old School Restaurant, where he frequently provides excellent piano stylings during the restaurant's Sunday brunches, he revealed his excitement about his May 14 concert at the Sanderson Centre. 
With thanks to Gus Iliopoulos of the Old School, I was able to attend this fabulous concert. By 1:30 p.m., large crowds were arriving on buses and lining up at both entrances. 
After about 800 eager concert-goers finally got settled a young cleaning woman dressed in 1930s attire came onstage pushing a broom while the curtain was still closed. She put a record on an old-fashioned player and we heard a dated chorus of the tune, Don't Be That Way.
 Suddenly, the curtain sprang open and the Ross Wooldridge Galaxy Orchestra flooded the theatre with big sound completing the number. 
This had been the first tune that the Benny Goodman band played at his legendary 1938 concert at Carnegie Hall, The Night That Jazz Went Mainstream. This tribute to that concert featured many remarkable solos such as Steve Crowe's amazing rendition of Shine during a set with the Dixie Demons. Harry James was the trumpeter back in 1938. Throughout the afternoon we heard fantastic clarinet playing by Ross on Blue Room and many others where he produced slides, trills, and other artistic improvisational material that kept one totally captivated by his performance. 
Between numbers, he often referred to various musicians of Goodman's day, such as vocalist Martha Tilton and mentioned that Goodman broke the racial barrier by featuring artists such as pianist, Teddy Wilson, guitarist, Charlie Christian and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. 
With Wooldridge's tribute to the Benny Goodman Sextet we heard the brilliant Don Thompson on vibes. The group performed seven tunes, including Avalon, I Got Rhythm, really cooking on China Boy and Running Wild. 
Known as Canada's Sweetheart of Swing, Alex Pangman took on tunes done by Martha Tilton and Peggy Lee's Why Don't You Do Right? 
The orchestra closed the last set with Bugle Call Rag, Stealin' Apples and relived the Gene Krupa days with Sing Sing Sing, Parts 1 and 2. The audience response to this show was swift with a roar of approval and a demand for encores. 
A swinging version of After You've Gone and When You're Smilin' closed the show. We hope that Wooldridge, who is mighty proud of this all-Canadian band of extremely fine musicians, will bring them back to Brantford very soon.

Comments from Jaymz Bee, Radio Host, JAZZ.FM 91 regarding "Tribute to Benny Goodman Sextet" Concert at The Old Mill Inn, February 11, 2013.

Ross Wooldridge and his band blew away the sold-out show for JAZZ.FM91 at The Old Mill Inn recently. I’m still getting calls and emails from people thanking the station for presenting this concert. With over a thousand dollars in CD sales...I think it’s pretty obvious that everyone loves his Tribute to the Benny Goodman Sextet!
-          Jaymz Bee

Comments from Karen Hine, Events Coordinator for the Brantford Club regarding "The Ross Wooldridge Trio"

EXCEPTIONAL!  Such a talent! Our club truly did well in having an event with this level of superior entertainment! Ross and his trio came highly recommended and it's without hestitation that we will book them again for another spectacular evening of Jazz soon.
Karen Hine
Events Coordinator, The Brantford Club
Comments from Brantford Club Members: 
What a terrific evening!  The Jazz Night was a great opportunity to catch up with friends, enjoy some of Eric’s delicious food, and then relax to some cool jazz!  Thanks for continuing to offer a variety of special events at our Club!
Regards, Mara 
In a word, charming. Ross did an excellent job. This is the sort of evening which is so nice at our Club. Ross' piano playing at dinner was excellent! This sort of music during dinner greatly helps the spirit of the evening.

With the trio later, the music was about perfect, and again, very appropriate for our setting. Very good choice of tunes, much appreciated by the audience. Ross on piano and reeds was very good, and Warren Stirtzinger on guitar was absolutely superb. He and Ross interacted so well.
J. Crawford Reid

Comments from Allan MacMillan regarding "The Benny Meets Artie Show" with the Galaxy Orchestra at Stage West, November 12/12

A truly remarkable production, featuring outstanding musicianship of the highest quality.
The Galaxy Orchestra led by Ross Wooldridge was a pleasure to work with and put on a very good show. Our guests who attendant the production had nothing but positive feedback regarding the show.

Allan McMillan
Technical Director/Lighting Designer
Stage West Theatre Restaurant

Comments from Laurie Wallace-Lynch regarding "The Benny Meets Artie Show" with the Galaxy Orchestra at Stage West, November 12/12

Thank you for an incredible show! Rave reviews all around!  As always Ross, you exceed expectations! 
Laurie Wallace-Lynch – Director of Marketing/PR, Stage West 

Article from Glen Brown of the Hamilton Musician Online Magazine regarding "Tribute to Benny Goodman Sextet" Concert at Arthouse Oct 27, 2012

ArtHouse Festival Series Presents Ross Wooldridge and His Tribute to the Benny Goodman Sextet
ArtHouse for Children and Youth is on the right track when it comes to embedding social outreach into a great concert experience.

On Sunday, October 27, 2012 Ross Wooldridge and his Tribute to the Benny Goodman Sextet entertained a sizeable audience at St. Luke's historic church in Burlington. 
Walking through the church grounds, past the old headstones of the cemetery, we approached the historic church and appreciated the precision and quality of the exterior architecture and interior workmanship. Everything at St. Luke's is painstakingly preserved or restored to its original state. Wooldridge has accomplished a similar feat with his authentic performance of the Benny Goodman style and sound.
From the first note we were transported to the heyday of The Swing Era, the 1930s and 40s, when riffs and rhythms reigned. Wooldridge has achieved success not only with his authentic transcriptions and original arrangements, but also by employing the talent of some of Canada's top players.
Wooldridge's clarinet work was extraordinary. He wrapped his solos around the chord changes effortlessly, using the full range of his instrument. Wooldridge was backed up by Danny McErlain on piano, Jesse Barksdale on guitar, Glenn Anderson on drums, Chris Banks on bass and Don Thompson on vibraphone.

Wooldridge is establishing himself as a leader in this unique and specialized niche of "retro-music." Similar to the audiophile's relentless pursuit of the perfect analog recording methods and equipment, Wooldridge is pursuing the orchestrations, instrumentation, articulations, embellishments and timbres unique to the style, and confirmed by existing recordings from the Swing Era. The fruit of his efforts is satisfied audiences everywhere he plays. Many are already convinced of the beauty and excitement of the music, while others are being convinced for the first time.
Enraptured is not too strong a word to describe the degree of attention and enjoyment given as the audience drank in every note. Selections included Airmail Special, Honeysuckle Rose, Slipped Disc, Running Wild, and A Handful of Keys.Special guest vocalist Alex Pangman completed the show with authentic renditions of Slow Boat to China, A Hundred Years From Today, and I've Found a New Baby.
The event was a perfect way to set an upbeat tone for what promises to be a worthwhile concert series.
ArtHouse is an organization providing cost-free after-school, Saturday and summer programs in creative and visual arts, singing, improv and theatre and dance performance to children aged 7 to 11. The program has recently expanded into Burlington from its Oakville base, and this year will employ 50 volunteers and several paid instructors. Equal access to the arts is foundational for ArtHouse, and this year the organization intends to serve 600 kids.
The ArtHouse Festival Series Five 2013 will present some of Canada's greatest musicians and finest young rising stars. Each concert will bring CMC National Prize winners to Oakville and Burlington stages. For $150 patrons of ArtHouse will be entitled to four concerts and two post-concert receptions where they will meet the artists. 
Click here to see the article at Hamilton

Comments from Don Pangman regarding "Tribute to the Benny Goodman Sextet" Concert at ArtHouse Oct 27, 2012

Last night was our final concert in a series of five this year - this year, and I believe we hit the top of the scale consistently with your Tribute to the Benny Goodman Sextet.  Thank you for bringing such energy and talent to the St. Luke's "stage" - it truly was a "happening in the sanctuary"!! Your warmth and contact with the audience was evident throughout the performance, and your historical travels back to an era that should never be taken for granted was indeed a treat for us all - it brought those decades to life – Alex Pangman was a bonus - I am so grateful that you made this happen.

A truly great "gig" with the best in the country.
Don Pangman – Founder, ArtHouse and the ArtHouse Festival Series 

 Comments from Frank DiFelice, Brantford Jazz Festival
“A wonderful, incredibly talented Musician.  Great to have had Ross Wooldridge performing at the 2012 Brantford International Jazz Festival”
Frank DiFelice, Chairperson
Brantford Downtown Jazz / Brantford International Jazz Festival Inc.

Comments by Bernie Turcotte regarding Ross's new CD

Bernie Turcotte is a Music Consultant (retired) for the Ontario Ministry of Education for Toronto, and is the Central Ontario Region Executive Director of the IAJE Canada (International Association of Jazz Educators), and Past President of the OMEA (Ontario Music Educators Association):


Posted by Bernie on Facebook July 10, 2012:

CD Tribute to BG is a masterpiece...better than Peanuts, Daniels and DeFranco and your guys really swing...WOW! What a Tour de Force! Bravo!

         Bernie Turcotte wrote in a letter to jazz enthusiast Larry Paikin:

August 7, 2012 - Larry, check out Ross Wooldridge's new CD which is a Sextet recording of a Benny Goodman Tribute. It was done in 2010 in Ancaster at an outdoor concert at the Fieldcote Museum. It's a wonderful recording and Ross is playing at the top of his game. He is without a doubt in my not very humble opinion the best clarinetist this country has ever produced in the jazz none... read more

 Review by Glen Brown on

How To Play Tribute To Benny Goodman, And Make For A Perfect Summer Evening. Ross Wooldridge and His Sextet Shows How It’s Done at Music at Fieldcote

Sunday, July 8, 2012 - Everything was right, musically speaking, at the Fieldcote Museum Bandshell in Ancaster. The volume, the blend of instruments, the beautiful singer, the swing style, the solos, the place and the time were spot on. With all the pieces in place, the audience travelled back in time 70 years, and may as well have been listening to Benny Goodman himself. Ross Wooldridge and his Benny Goodman Tribute ensemble made it all happen. The July 8 concert was a special encore performance... read more

 Review: Irv's Point of View

          London Jazz Hot Stuff
Monday, November 15, 2010 - One of the best gigs ever performed for the London Jazz Society nearly brought the rafters down in London's Mocha Shrine Centre yesterday (Nov. 14). A sold-out performance... read more

The Ancaster News promotes a concert at Fieldcote

Ancaster Native Returns With a Tribute to the Benny Goodman Sextet 

Ancaster News July 8, 2010 - When Ross Wooldridge picked up a clarinet as an Ancaster High School student, he knew he was destined for a career as a professional jazz musician. Wooldridge, 48, headlines a July 11 performance with his Tribute to the Benny Goodman Sextet, next week’s installment in the Music at Fieldcote outdoor concert series. Jazz enthusiasts can enjoy... read more

The Brantford Expositor promotes a concert at the Sanderson Centre

April 10th, 2010 Swing is His Thing

Brantford Downtown Jazz: A Benny Goodman Tribute on April 21, 2010

Ross Wooldridge figures he's been a jazz musician at heart for almost his entire 48-year life. "I've always just really loved it," said Wooldridge, noting that his interest in swing music took root when he grew up in the Jerseyville- Ancaster area listening to his parents' records. "I've been involved in music... read more


More Comments from various reviews

“Wooldridge did some incredible Goodman solos on clarinet”…
Harry Currie - Kitchener Record
“…You were right about Ross Wooldridge’s “tour-de-force” on (Artie Shaw’s) Carioca...superb…”
John Stewart - The Mississauga News
“Benny Meets Artie is a real treat of a show, and the Galaxy Orchestra, under the direction of Ross Wooldridge, were a pleasure to present. The ensemble are consummate musicians, recreating the sound of the big band era and handling solos with aplomb. It's a high energy show and Wooldridge is definitely the leader in that department, playing his clarinet in a manner that would have received nods of approval from the show's namesakes, Shaw and Goodman."
Rob Saunders - General Manager, Huntsville Festival of the Arts
“The All-Canadian Jazz Festival in Port Hope regularly closes the weekend with a Big Band that represents the finest exponents of the genre. The Galaxy Orchestra, featuring Ross Wooldridge, presented an absolutely perfect portrait of the music of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. The band was very tight.
Ross Wooldridge is probably the finest clarinet player in the country. Ross is intimate with the material and its’ history, and he took the audience to a place many hadn’t visited in years. They were a huge hit, and a perfect way to end a great weekend. Oh that we could have had a dance floor!”
John McGuirk - Director, Port Hope All Canadian Jazz Festival