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john hollis
Jan 16, 2022
In Share Your Memory
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 improvise at breakneck tempos, while still maintaining a melodic approach always staying true to the music. As a teacher, Donnie's approach transcended the instrument. We rarely discussed the technical aspects of the horn, and instead concentrated on the music. He would have you break down a tune, starting with improvising around the melody, then improvising using only the notes of the changes, then adding passing tones, etc... so you really knew the tune inside and out, melodically and harmonically. He was always exceptionally generous with his time and knowledge and would mentor anyone he saw who had a passion for jazz regardless of means or ability. Outside the classroom Donnie was equally inspiring and provided me with many of the life lessons I carry to this day. I was proud to be his student and blessed to be his friend for 43 years and although his passing saddens me deeply, I am consoled by the wonderful memories we all shared with Don. John Hollis

john hollis

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