Scarlett, Washington & Whiteley

“Our remarkable family friend and world renowned musician Jackie Washington passed away on June 27th, 2009. Jackie touched me on so many levels. I first saw him play when I was a teenager, but really got to know him in my twenties. It’s incredible to think that in the early seventies he was younger than I am now, because he seemed such a connection to all these earlier eras. To hear him talk about meeting all the great figures of the jazz world like DukeEllington and Louis Armstrong, the stories of the Washington Brothers in the 20’s and 30’s and of his father and uncle Sam cutting loose with songs that went back to the underground railroad days. He’d tell you with a laugh how in the 50’s he was “nutty as fruitcake after his first wife left him” and in that period wrote some incredible, poignant songs. It was Jack’s love that touched me most – his love of people and music. Despite the adversity of racism, economic challenges and many years of health problems he “never lived with hate”. He accepted what was and made the best of it, usually with a laugh, a song and a big smile. May people share the stories and music of Jackie Washington for many years to come.” ~ Ken Whiteley

Bio: Jackie Washington (1919-2009)

Born in 1919, Jackie Washington has been a staple of the Canadian musical scene since the age of 5 when he sang with The Four WashingtonBrothers. With a repertoire that extends from the days of slavery to the present, Jackie knows well over 1,200 songs! His incredible lifehas been the subject of a biography and feature film documentary. The number of artists he has known and worked with is staggering. This list includes jazz giants such as Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Clark Terry, songwriters such asJoni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot and bluesmen like Sonny Terry,Brownie McGhee and Lonnie Johnson. Jackie is a recipient of the highly prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Arts Council, an honourary Doctorate from McMaster University (2003)and was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction. In Hamilton, Ontario on June 3rd, 2009, McMaster University Library accepted the gift of Jackie’s musical archives. Over the past few years several Jackie Washington awards have been created to honour not only his outstanding musicianship but his ability to “get the joint jumpin’ and to light up the world”.

Bio: Mose Scarlett

With “a velvet baritone that could smooth the scales off an armadillo”,this 30 year veteran of the music business can take you through the20’s, 30’s and 40’s with a freshness that transcends any date and time.Mose entertains with a warmth and humour that is immediately disarming.An internationally acclaimed guitarist, he has toured across Canada,England, West Germany, Australia and the U.S.A. His first album,Stalling For Time, was produced by Bruce Cockburn and he has made a number of appearances on a variety of records as well as radio and television performances. Whether energetically fingerpicking the blues or crooning new life into some of the most beautiful songs ever written, Mose Scarlett is truly an original.

Scarlett, Washington & Whiteley Recordings:

Mose Scarlett, Jackie Washington and Ken Whiteley are three legends of the Canadian roots music scene. They are unique individuals who share a love for old songs, humour, beautiful melodies and chord changes. Each of them bring special qualities to the mix. Mose is a great finger picking guitarist with a gorgeous, unmistakable deep baritone voice. Jackie brings his enormous repertoire, rich experience going back to the twenties and his incredible zest for life. Ken is a master musician on a dozen instruments, prolific songwriter and able to jumpin on just about any music you can throw at him. Since 1991 when their Juno nominated disc, “Where Old Friends Meet” was released, they performed at concerts and festivals right across Canada and in the United States, delighting audiences with blues, jazz, folk, swing, gospel and ragtime music. Together they create a special magic that “just makes you feel great”.

2003 was an eventful year. The Toronto Star said that, “Sitting On a Rainbow… is arguably their best…. excellent, an instant collectable”. Jackie received an honourary Doctorate from McMaster University on June 3rd. Mose just completed his third successful tour of Australia and Ken composed the music for the feature film “Falling Angels”, which won him a Genie Award. That summer saw them doing shows in Hamilton, Toronto, Perth, Regina and Eaglewood Folk Festival plus they were featured guests on Connie Kaldor’s TV show, Wood River Hall, which aired in 2004.