Ben McCarroll-Butler is a saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist and composer living in Toronto.
Ben grew up surrounded by many deep musical traditions: Folk, Rock, Presbyterian choral music, Chamber Music and Jazz. Growing up in a musical family he sang, learned the guitar and piano before picking up the saxophone and other woodwinds. All of these traditions influence Ben’s teaching, playing and writing today.
A graduate of Humber College, Ben is a member of many jazz ensembles including Sonuskapos Jazz Orchestra (SSJO), We Are All, The Near-Distant Ensemble as well as the funk group Bassline, the improvising group The Element Choir and the folk group Decoration Day. Ben leads and co-leads his own groups the Ben McCarroll-Butler Group and The Band Named Crow, a large ensemble premiering works based on the surreal novels of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.
As a composer with Spectrum Music, Ben premiers 2-4 new large-scale chamber jazz works a year. Spectrum programs themed concerts full of original music, crossing genre divides, connecting communities and telling compelling musical stories that resonate with audiences. Ben’s writing and arranging has been recognized with the 2016 Ken Page Memorial Trust Award In Memory of Ron Collier, the 2015 Dave Stillwell Arranging Award and the 2015 Spectrum Music ‘New Voices’ Young Composer’s Residency.
In his teaching, Ben aims to create an environment that encourages the student to identify and follow their interests – keeping the passion of making music at the heart of education.
Get to know Ben…Beyond the Bio!
Hobbies: reading, cooking, long-distance running.
Musical influences: Wayne Shorter, David Binney, Sam Amidon, Erik Satie, Ambrose Akinmusire, Thelonious Monk
Favourite food: Ful Medames (fava beans)
Least favourite food: Mulled tomatoes
Favourite music: Anything from the heart!
Favourite song: One of Us Cannot be Wrong – Leonard Cohen
Favourite movie: Cloud Atlas
Favourite movie music: Arrival soundtrack
Favourite musical theatre/opera: Rent
Best quote from your teacher: “Failure is much less painful than regret” – Michael Stuart
Favourite quote: “You gotta be careful; this music will make you weep” – Jamie Howison on the music of John Coltrane (from God’s Mind in that Music)
Favourite book: The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
Best thing about teaching at ABC: Getting excited about music with my students!
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