Andy Cragg

I am a writer, musician, and DIYer based in Peterborough and Toronto. I recently completed my MA thesis at Trent University at the Frost Centre for Canadian and Indigenous Studies, studiying political economy (neoliberalism) and Canada's temporary foreign worker program. Musically, as a saxophonist I've been heavily interested in jazz and improvisational music, as well as composing and arranging for small and medium sized groups. More recently over the past few years I've been focused on the 5-string banjo and folk music, particularly Canadiana and songs of working people. As an avid Do-It-Yourselfer, I'm keen on fermented food and drink, making maple syrup, pressing apples, and other things.

I was born in Peterborough, Ontario to a musical family and began playing music at an early age. (My first public performances were at the Peterborough Arms at the celtic jam, playing the wooden spoons...) I began playing the saxophone at the age of 13 and since then I have had the great fortune and pleasure to play with many great musicians at many great venues. Highlights of my musical career are performances with my nonet on the main stage of the Atlantic Canada Jazz Fest, and at the Distillery Jazz Festival in Toronto with the Jonah Cristall-Clarke Nonet. I have also performed at the Lakefield Jazz Festival, Muskoka Lakes Music Festival, Peterborough Jazz Restaurant Tour, regularly at Stayner's Wharf in Halifax, and at many other venues in southern Ontario and Nova Scotia.

I have been fortunate to play with many great musicians and bands. These include: Scott Macmillan, Scott and the Rocks, Chris Mitchell, Tom Easley, Dave Staples, Jeff Goodspeed, Adam Fine, Dave James, Mike Graham, Kevin Carley, Slips and the High Fives, Swing It Jazz Choir, and lots more...I have performed throughout southern Ontario, and in Halifax, including gigs at the Atlantic Jazz Festival, Toronto Distillery Jazz Festival, Muskoka Lakes Music Festival, Lakefield Jazz Festival, Peterborough Jazz Restaurant Tour, Market Hall Peterborough, Rock N' Docs, Liftlock Cruises, Stayner's Wharf, and more...

After turning to folk music in the past few years, I've enjoyed playing with Mike Duguay and Bear Trees, Sioux Newberry, and James Burrows.

In 2007 I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Politics from Dalhousie University in Halifax. In 2007/2008 I was fortunate to live in Honduras for six months and work with a most inspirational person, Dr. Juan Almendares. I was able to work with his organizations COHAPAZ (el comite hondureno para accion para la paz) and Movimiento Madre Tierra. This experience, as well as my travels in Mexico, has given me a love of the spanish language and latin american culture and history.

My tenor sax is an early Selmer Mark VII, and my alto is an old transitional Conn from 1927, silver laquered. I play an 8 ottolink hard rubber on the tenor, with 3 1/2 vandoren reeds, and a meyer copy on the alto.