A Juno-nominated, Victoria-based saxophonist, Ryan Oliver honed his craft on Canada’s west coast before moving to Amsterdam, Toronto and New York. Since returning to Vancouver Island, he has maintained a busy schedule as one of Canada’s most in-demand saxophonists. His most recent recording, “Strive” features legendary jazz drummer Victor Lewis. Oliver has toured Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Europe and the United States with the legendary eclectic jazz group, The Shuffle Demons. He is also a member of Juno award winning blues/rock performer Derek Miller’s group. The band has traveled throughout North America, including performances at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, the Aboriginal Achievement Awards (broadcast on CTV), and Toronto’s Dundas Square. Oliver is featured in the horn section on “Derek Miller and Double Trouble”, featuring Stevie Ray Vaughn’s heralded rhythm section Double Trouble and musical icon Willie Nelson. The recording was nominated for a Juno in 2011. Oliver is also a member of the house band for Miller’s television series The Guilt Free Zone airing on the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. The Cookers, a group Oliver co-leads, has toured extensively throughout Canada, appearing on numerous recordings and broadcasts, including a live video broadcast for CBC. He has received numerous Canada Council and Toronto and Ontario Arts Council grants for touring, recording and education and was nominated for the 2013 Prix De Jazz for the Montreal Jazz Festival. Oliver’s debut recording, “Convergence” was selected by CODA Magazine as one of the top 10 Canadian jazz releases of 2007.
Oliver holds a Masters degree in music from Rutgers University, where he led the undergraduate big band, and has taught saxophone and ensemble clinics at universities throughout the world for over 20 years. He currently teaches saxophone to students throughout Vancouver Island and instructs student and adult jazz combos in Victoria. Oliver has worked as an adjudicator for the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship (which he also received in 1998) and the Victoria and Powell River Jazz Festivals. In 2017, Oliver took over as the Executive Director for the Comox Valley Youth Music Centre (CYMC), Canada’s longest running music camp.
“Oliver’s improvisations have the formal character that defines many of his compositions. A muscular jazz improviser, Oliver always stays on point.” -CODA Magazine.
“Convergence shows how ready he is as both player and composer. He has a full-range horn, rich at the bottom and true at the top, acknowledging past masters like Trane and Dexter Gordon.” -Whole Note Magazine
“Canadian jazz is in good hands with players like Ryan Oliver.” – Pat Labarbera