As a young saxophonist growing up in Nova Scotia, I had the wonderful opportunity of studying with Donnie. He was a big factor in my decision to chase my musical dreams. "You have to hang with like-minded people" comes to mind when I think back to those lessons. When I moved to Toronto and needed
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MEMORIES ABOUT DON
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I first met Donnie in 1978 when he started at Dalhousie. I was in my 2nd year of a B.Sc. on my planned path to becoming a doctor, and was playing music just on the side in the local bar scene. “You can’t make a good living playing music” was my thinking at the time (and that of many others). I h
I just want to say thank you, to everyone who spoke and for everyone present at today's gathering, for holding space so that we could all share and feel together. It's without a doubt I wouldn't be the person or musician I am today without him. Still to do this day, whenever I walk down Dovercourt I
The first time that I met Don was at a Mike Murley show at a hotel at Robie & Quinpool. We were introduced by Susan Hunter, who said, "You HAVE to meet Donnie!" and I fell in love with him immediately. The next day, he insisted on buying me lunch at an amazing Middle Eastern restaurant across from t
When I first met Don, It was like winning the Atlantic Lotto. Imagine my luck moving to Halifax to attend Dalhousie and getting to study with a Jazz legend. It was like moving to New York without the overpriced roach infested apartment. Donnie's playing was stellar. His technique allowed him to impr
I recently posted this on my Facebook account. One of the proudest moments of my life was when Don Palmer told my father that I was one of his favourite students. I studied 4 years of jazz saxophone at Dalhousie University and Don Palmer was my saxophone professor. He was a Canadian jazz legend a
I just found this old recording of Don and I playing "She's Funny That Way" at the Halifax Jazz Fest, maybe 20 years ago? I know the late great Doug Riley is on piano and David Occhipinti is on guitar but not sure about bass and drums. It is nice to have this.
Barb your brother was so cool and I was very happy to find out that Cape Breton and Nova Scotia were more than Celtic music. Many happy memories of his work. I remember the first Jazz fest in hfx outside TUNS. Hope you carry his memories forward. What a talented family :)
Around 1980, I was commissioned to create the score for a short film. I needed a versatile wind player, and an affordable studio. But I hadn’t been in Nova Scotia long yet, and didn’t know many wind players, or studios. Several musician friends suggested I contact Don. And it turned out that
What a beautifully moving tribute today to a beautiful human being in so many ways. I of course was lucky to grow up in Halifax as a young musician and although I didn’t have a lot of formal lessons with Don, he definitely influenced me as a young musician. Lots of ways. Of course anytime he was pla
It would have been around 1976, Donny playing with Eddie MacDonald and Red Mike at the bandshell in Wentworth Park, Sydney. Just a short walk from 70 South Bentick, home of the Palmer clan, all of us at the park that night to listen to the show. I remember being in awe of the sounds coming from that
Don spoke very eloquently on the subject of duo playing at the Music Room in Halifax on Feb. 8, 2003. He was there to introduce Mike Murley and me for a concert, and Don said some lovely words about interacting musically. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to interact musically with him over t
I studied with Don at Dalhousie University for three years and then met up with him again when I was at Humber College. I remember one lesson at Dal in particular when I was struggling through a tune. I kept getting lost in the form. At one point Don clanged the keys on the piano and sa
These are the words I posted on social media on Dec 18th: "I was so fortunate that Don Palmer came into my life when he did. I was 17 when I began studying with him in Halifax. I already had a fair amount together from a technical and theoretical perspective but he taught me about Music, particul
I thought writing my thoughts out in advance would help me keep it together at the Zoom celebration for Donnie yesterday. It did not work out that way but thank you to all who reached out to me during and afterwards. Some of these words echo one of my previous posts but in any case this is what I
I studied under Don at Dal for only a couple of years (over 20 years ago!). Even though my sax playing never really went anywhere, I know I still carry some of the lessons Donnie taught me. They were about music, but at the same time, about so much more. He always drew the analogy between playing mu
Don was always such a lovely person to run into or play with! I’m not a jazz musician but I always felt that he respected the music that I played and was glad to share his thoughts and stories. A great improviser and player. Halifax missed him when he went to Toronto, and we still miss him.
It was unequivocally Don Palmer’s belief in my own potential that let myself, as a late-20s self-taught indie art-rock electric bassist, pass an audition into the Dalhousie University Music Department. Applying without any of the standard educational prerequisites, instead having 10 years experienc
I remember Don as the eternal optimist. While Lee and I were navigating our teens and beyond he was always so calm and quietly funny. He always had an answer or a comment that would make you smile. I feel lucky to have witnessed the mutual love and respect between Don and his daughter. It was a love
In the 70s and early 80s I worked with Don playing for CBC shows produced by Skip Beckwith, and on the Dutch Mason LP Special Brew. On Special Brew he played a mean bari sax in a horn section with myself on bone, bro Charlie Gray on trumpet, and Keith Jollymore on tenor sax. He was always easy going
During my visits to Toronto, Don and I would go on adventures together. One 'must do' was going to Hot Docs. Our last show together was Birth of the Cool. Before and after the show, Don told me lots of great stories about his encounters with Miles Davis. I loved the stories he told on all our ad
I know Don through the stories his daughter Leanna shared with me over the many years of our friendship. I am quite close with Leanna and there would not be a day that went by where I did not hear about Don in some way. He made such a vibrant and loving appearance in all aspects of Leanna's life and
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