Tim Tamashiro is a jazz evangelist. He supports jazz artists throughout Canada and around the world and he participates as a singer. Tim was the host of Tonic on CBC Radio 2 for 10 years. He’s a passionate believer in jazz as the ultimate music education and he also believes that the spaces between songs are as important as the music. Stories matter. Stories can make songs even more compelling.
Tim grew up in Blackfalds, Alberta. At that time it was a very small village of a thousand citizens. Being a Japanese kid in a small town presented both challenges and opportunities. Tim was "a different" by circumstance. That helped him embrace the fact that standing out from the rest of the world might be a good thing. So he was the kid who took up trapeze, unicycle and the role of class clown. He was a little weird.
At home his family had a small brown parlour piano. Tim would plunk away at the piano figuring out songs of the day like "We’ve Only Just Begun" and the theme song to "M*A*S*H". His mom promptly put Tim into piano lessons. After six months of lessons mom and his piano teacher made the most important decision of Tim’s life: to take Tim out of piano lessons. He was playing piano by ear and he loved it. So lets NOT push theory and heavy practice down his throat. Tim’s love of music was left to roam free.
It wasn’t until after high school that Tim chose music as his lifes work. The decision came to him like a bolt of lightning one morning as he woke up. True story: An idea popped into his head the second he woke up and he sat up straight in his narrow single bed and thought to himself, "I’m going to music school". Within a few days he had arranged for an audition for Red Deer College. His audition was fun and musical… there was only one problem. Tim knew nothing about music. Over the summer he learned basic music theory and was accepted into Red Deer College in 1986.
After two rewarding years at RDC, Tim had co–founded a local rock band called "The Mile High Club" and started to work in music retail at HMV. Soon Tim got a job in Edmonton as a representative for MCA Records. He sold millions of dollars of music, got to hang out with rock stars and visited with the music staff at record stores every day. On top of that Tim was singing jazz standards with The Jump Orchestra throughout Alberta. It was heaven. But he transferred to Vancouver with MCA to become the Marketing Rep. for B.C. He thought he had found his calling in the music business. Then he fell in love, quit his job and moved to Calgary.
In Calgary Tim pursued his passion of playing music. He joined a local jazz group called The Swinging Bovines and began to sing at a local restaurant each weekend. In 1995 Tim branched out on his own to record his debut album called "Wiseass Crooner". Soon Tim was touring throughout Canada promoting the album. His next albums came in 1999 when he recorded a special holiday album called "Love at Christmas" which he sold 20,000 copies to La Senza Lingerie to sell at their stores across the nation. That sales and marketing job at MCA had paid off.
Calgary has always been a place where jazz is welcomed at special events. Tim began to specialize as an executive entertainer at events for business and world leaders. He’s sung for prime ministers and royalty. He even got to perform for Queen Elizabeth.
Jazz can be a pretty good business so Tim concentrated on singing and MC’ing events for the next 20 years. Then CBC came calling.
CBC was looking for a new host for the launch of the "new" CBC Radio 2. They were looking for a new host for an yet unnamed jazz show that would be on six nights a week. They had heard about Tim’s delivery style and believed that he could host a show with jazz music for all Canadians. Tim was hired for a four month trial period for the weekend portion of the new show Tonic. Tim was with CBC Radio 2 from 2007 to 2017.
Tim lives in Calgary with his wife and two children. He supports The Calgary Food bank, Cancer charities and daily acts of kindness.
In 2018 Tim unveiled a new show called:
When You’re Smiling
Frank, Dean & Sammy
Their Friendship. Their Songs. Their Stories
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr were the lead members of The Rat Pack; an informal group of entertainers centered on the Las Vegas casino scene in the 1960s.
When You’re Smiling is a celebration of their friendship. Their songs. Their stories.
"When You’re Smiling is a lovely mix of stories and music, reminiscing and putting perspective on an era. Tim’s humor and ease at the microphone made for a wonderfully immersive audience experience. Everyone left feeling like they knew more than when they started, and with smiles on their faces." -Brandi Wurtz, Artistic Director, Horizon Stage Performing Arts Centre
"Frank. Dean. Sammy - When You’re Smiling enveloped our audience in the music of the Rat Pack in every way. From little known quips about their history, they enjoyed the men behind the myth while singing along to the tunes that they knew and loved performed by one of Canada’s best, Tim Tamashiro. A great show!" -Josh Gennings, Shell Theatre, Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Drinky Jazz - By: Tim Tamashiro
"Drinky" is a new philosophy for you to relish jazz.
I coined the phrase "drinky jazz" for a special reason. I’ve always yearned for people to see that jazz is fun music. But often just the mention of "jazz" freaks people out. When jazz is brought up in conversation many people react by tensing up. Then they almost always they say, "I don’t like jazz".
When I mention the idea of "drinky jazz" to people they almost magically open up to jazz. "Drinky jazz" lets you drop the notion that all jazz is weird or "thinky". "Drinky jazz" is fun because it’s designed to be pleasing and interactive. You can bring your funnest friends along to eat, drink and laugh. Talk if you want to. If I’m doing my job singing "drinky jazz" I will EARN your ears.
This "drinky jazz" philosophy promises you three things: great songs, cold drinks and bad jokes. I hope "Drinky" is the mark of a new jazz movement where you can discover the joy of jazz. It’s incredible music with the most talented musicians anywhere. Let’s go on this journey together and most of all let’s have fun with a bit of swinging music!