Content Type

This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Don Vickery


DONALD SUTHERLAND VICKERY (drummer. teacher) was born on August 16, 1938 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he gained his education and became a key part of the jazz scene at an early age. He is an identical twin whose brother, Tom Vickery, is a career trumpet-player and pianist living and working in Victoria, British Columbia. In 1959, Don relocated to Toronto where he has been a vital part of the jazz scene ever since. An honours graduate of the famed Oscar Peterson School of Music, Don has worked with the world’s leading jazz artists, entertainers, and big bands in recordings, on radio and television shows, touring, and in live performance in hundreds of venues from clubs to concert halls.

He has played with a lengthy list of the ‘who’s who’ among the world’s leading jazz performers including Ralph Sutton, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Benny Carter, Joe Williams, Jay McShann, Buddy DeFranco, Peter Appleyard, The World’s Greatest Jazz Band, Art Farmer, Doc Cheatham, Zoot Sims, Doug Riley, Ed Bickert, Dave McMurdo, Red Norvo, Joe Venuti, Jack Sheldon, Herb Ellis, Jimmy Witherspoon, Della Reese, Fraser MacPherson, Norman Amadio, Jim Galloway, Rob McConnell, Buddy Tate, Moe Koffman, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, Tony Bennett, and Mel Torme.

Don Vickery has been a member of the Jazz Studies Faculty at Humber College since 1974. He currently plays drums with the Jim Galloway Wee Big Band, the Canadian Jazz Quartet, The Spitfire Band, the Ian Bargh Trio, the Norman Amadio Trio, and Jim Galloway’s Echoes of Swing Sextet.

While he is best known as one of Canada’s finest jazz drummers, Vickery has conducted a successful parallel career in photography from the time, more than three decades ago, that he began taking his lifelong passion for the visual art form to a professional level. He achieved early recognition as an accomplished and frequently published sports photographer, handling ‘official’ duties at the highest levels of professional golf, tennis, motorsport, and equestrian events before he began focusing more exclusively on the jazz genre. He has been charged with visually capturing the flavour and performance genius at the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival since its beginnings. As a member of the Jazz Studies faculty at Humber College for the past 34 years, he also has responsibility for all of the photographic requirements there. He has shot CD covers and publicity photographs for dozens of well-known Canadian jazz artists.

In 2013, Don released "Alone Together" on Cornerstone Records. The recording features Mark Eisenman on piano and Neil Swainson on bass. The trio performs a number of jazz standards as well as tunes by Eisenman and Swainson.