WYNSTON,S_Musicshot_BWcropStich Wynston is a drummer, composer, bandleader, and sideman born and based in Toronto, Canada. He attended York University from 1980-1985, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in music, including studies in jazz with John Gittens and Lorne Lofsky, South Indian classical music with Trichy Sancharan, and 20th-century classical music with James Tenney. During that time, he was also accepted into the world-renowned Banff School of Fine Arts summer jazz music program for three years, in 1982, ’83, and ’84. While at Banff, he had the good fortune of studying and playing with John Abercrombie, Anthony Braxton, Steve Coleman, Dave Holland, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman, Albert Manglesdorf, Julian Priester, and Kenny Wheeler. In the late seventies while still in high school, Wynston attended two Jamey Aebersold summer jazz clinics with a faculty that included Hal Galper, Slide Hampton, Tom Harrell, Dave Liebman, Ronnie Matthews, Ron McLure, Rufus Reid, Ed Soph, James Williams, and Elliot Zigmund.

Wynston has performed with numerous jazz artists and ensembles including Jon Ballantyne, Jane Bunnett, Holly Cole, Phil Dwyer, Hemispheres, Julius Hemphill, Molly Johnson, Lorne Lofsky, George McFetridge, Bob Mover, and Mike Murley. He is also one of the co-founders of the legendary Shuffle Demons, a band with whom he has recorded eight CDs and toured for three decades, performing at festivals, concert stages, and clubs throughout North America, as well as in Asia, Australia, Cuba, Europe, and New Zealand. He has also worked with many prominent artists in more commercial settings including Abolengo, Big Sugar, Tom Cochrane, Da, Alex Lifeson, Jane Siberry, and The Sidemen.

While with the Shuffle Demons, Wynston was the recipient of several CASBY Awards and Toronto Music Awards including Best Jazz Recording, Best Toronto Jazz Group, Best Independent Artist, and Best Independent Video. He also appeared on two recordings which received JUNO Award nominations: Shuffle Demons, STREETNIKS (1987), and Paul Cram Large Band, Beyond Benghazi (1988). He was a member of Big Sugar in 1995 when the blues/rock outfit was nominated for Best New Group at the JUNO Awards. As well as his recordings with the Shuffle Demons and Paul Cram, Wynston’s discography includes Jane Siberry’s bound by the beauty (Warner Brothers, 1989) and Big Sugar’s Dear M.F. (A&M, 1995).

In 1996, along with his long time cohorts Mike Murley and Geoff Young, Wynston formed his own trio called Modern Surfaces. Going beyond the boundaries of jazz, Modern Surfaces is a unique group encompassing free-improvisation, 20th-century classical music, electronic textures, and more. In 1998, Modern Surfaces recorded their first CD along with special guest Paul Bley. In 1999, Wynston was signed to a world-wide licensing deal with Buzz records, a division of Challenge Records Services B.V. in the Netherlands. They have released the CD in Europe, North America, and Japan.

In November 1999, Modern Surfaces embarked on a very successful tour of Europe including several dates in England as well as concert performances in Amsterdam and Brussels. The group was joined by renowned British free-pianist Keith Tippett for several of their concerts in England. In October 2000, Modern Surfaces toured Japan for two weeks playing ten concerts including performances at the Yokohama Jazz Promenade (the biggest jazz festival in Japan) and some of Japan’s top jazz clubs. The tour was a resounding success, and Modern Surfaces looks forward to future tours in Japan.
In 2004 Modern Surfaces recorded their second CD entitled Transparent Horizons which was released internationally by TCB Music, the Montreux Jazz Label.

Modern Surfaces transfers thought through music directly to the listener without style identifications. The group conveys an unusual and subtle form of excitement which draws the listener in. Their mandate involves the exploration of abstract expression. Modern Surfaces utilizes several parameters of music which are absent from most creative improvising groups. This gives them a richness of expression, nurturing the musical palate of both the musicians and the listeners alike. Rhythm, melody, harmony, and texture are all present in their music.

Wynston’s music encompasses a wide variety of influences including jazz and the whole creative music tradition, 20th-century classical music (especially the piano music of Arnold Schoenberg), blues, rock, funk, soul, pop, African, Indian, Latin-American, and more. In terms of his own playing, his most prominent influence is undoubtedly Jack DeJohnette. “Wynston is a dramatic drummer in the tradition of Jack DeJohnette. His atmospheric minimalism is showcased in Self Sacrifice, a dramatic drum solo, while his delicate touch animates two solo piano performances (Catharsis/Looking Glass) that confirm the parallels with DeJohnette.” – David Lewis, samtherecordman.com (Canada). His playing is also very influenced by Paul Motian as well as some of the other atmospheric / textural European drummers. “… but it’s on Self Sacrifice – Wynston’s drum solo – that ears prick up. He has Tony Oxley’s ability to use timbral contrast to suggest an avant-garde percussion ensemble.”- Ben Watson, Hi Fi News (U.K.).