FRED (FREDDIE) STONE (flugelhornist, trumpeter, pianist, composer, educator) was born on September 9, 1935 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he passed away on December 10, 1986. He studied trumpet from the time he was 15 with Donald Reinhardt in Philadelphia during the next five summers, and later with Gordon Delamont and John Weinzweig in Toronto before traveling to the U.K. to obtain his Bachelor of Music Degree from Metropolitan College in London, England in 1964.
Stone was said to be the first Canadian to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra when he toured with Ellington in the U.S. and Europe briefly in 1970. He had worked with the Benny Louis band and various studio orchestras in Toronto years before that from the time he was just 16 years of age, and throughout the 1960s and ‘70s. Stone was a featured player in several of Canada’s most prominent big bands including a two-year stint with Rob McConnell’s ‘The Boss Brass’, 13 years with Ron Collier, five years working with Phil Nimmons, and a year as a member of ‘Lighthouse’. Although best known as a jazz musician, he was also a capable symphony player who appeared with several of this country’s leading orchestras and U.S. symphonies in Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit, and San Diego.
He was a prolific composer whose works which included scores, arrangements, and commissions for everything from small groups to big bands and symphonies, often played and recorded by eminent artists, organizations, and orchestras – Moe Koffman, the National Film Board, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and the Humber College Big Band, and among them – spanned the decades of the 1960s and ‘70s.
As an educator, Freddie Stone devoted much of his time to teaching in the 1970s, serving as artist-in-residence at Toronto’s Centennial College for a year, at Humber College for three years, and a brief period at George Brown College in 1976. He also instructed privately in improvisational theory. He introduced a large improv band in 1984, a largely student ensemble which featured some great future jazz notables including saxophonist Perry White, drummer Graeme Kirkland, and bassist George Koller.
Following his death in December, 1986, the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series featured a tribute to Freddie's legacy at the Ontario Science Centre on February 16, 1987. The concert featured musicians who had performed with and were strongly influenced by Freddie including Peter Lutek, Johnny Bakin, Roland Bourgeois, Steve Donald, George Koller, and John Leonard.