Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sonny Caulfield

Does anyone recognize or remember Sonny Caulfield from Verdun, I don't personally know him but have heard of him. It seems, reading his bio, that he would qualify as a Verdunite who certainly rubbed elbows with some of the movers and shakers of the entertainment world. He apparently lived on 4th Ave.
Alan Campbell Reid "Sonny" Caulfield was born in 1933 in Verdun a Montreal suburb, the last of three children born to newly arrived Scottish parents. He studied classical piano from 1942-1947 and in 1955 plunged headlong into music full time.
After 18 months playing with his trio in saloons in Montreal, a lucky break led to his being "discovered" at Montreal's fabled Supper Club, El Morocco. In two separate stints, he spent almost three years at this elegant nightclub, first as pianist/singer in the cocktail lounge, then adding to his job description the title House Master of Ceremonies. It was here that the show-business education really took place, presenting the opportunity to introduce international stars and watch them work 14 shows each week.
In 1968, Sonny accepted a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation offer of 26 weekly issues of a live talent-development show called "Sunday Morning" on which he led a quartet as Music Director.
Thirteen weeks into "Sunday Morning", time and budget became available for a major music show, and Sonny was offered the job of Music Director and featured performer. He also ended up writing and producing the show, "Islands and Princesses." It was live-to-tape, shot intentionally in black and white, and featured a blend of Classical and Pop music, sung in a variety of languages. 56 episodes were shot and played across the CBC Network. Work on the series ended by May, 1970.
Then came "Luncheon Date with Elwood Glover", which had been running as a radio show five days a week for six years in downtown Toronto. Now there was talk that the show would move to television and expand to accomodate a studio audience. Sonny Caulfield would lead the house jazz trio. For the next five years "Welcome to Luncheon Date with Elwood Glover" was a staple of daytime television, featuring the Sonny Caulfield Trio. Over the next five years, visiting musicians included Buddy Greco, Roger Whittaker, Gene Krupa, Buddy DeFranco and Ella Fitzgerald, not to mention performers known best by the primarily Canadian audience. In August, 1975, "Luncheon Date" went off the air and Sonny moved to London with his family.
Sonny returned to Montreal and Toronto in 1982, and took engagements in smaller, less glamourous venues, content now to just play music without the hassles of the big cities. In 1986, Sonny accepted an engagement at a hotel in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, looking forward to a lazy summer on the beautiful Island. The engagement, which was to run four months, is still going strong nineteen years later.
Gary Mace
Saanich, BC
ex 1045 Valiquette / 920 Moffat


happydi2 MSN said...

Hey Arbutus....I remember that TV show "Luncheon Date" and  Sonny Caulfield..great pianst....didn't realize he is in P.E.I.......will have to try to check out his Charlottetown gig next time I'm on the Isalnd.   I have been to the El Morocco but didn't see him perform there...did see Gene Krupa and that was a great show!   Dianne

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of Sonny's passing. He was such a wonderful man and friend during that time at The El Morocco. I was the trumpeter in the house band led by Maury Kay, a brilliant pianist/bandleader. Our lives took us in opposite directions and then I lost track of dear Sonny. I was hoping to find him so we could have a drink and reminisce about the old days in Montreal. What a great and wild era. We would have had soo much to talk about. What a pity, I am so sad not to have been giving that chance.

Maybe someday, we'll get another chance to work together again in the next life

I shall look for you, Sonny Caufield. RIP, Guido Basso.