If, pre-COVID-19, you enjoyed being out and about, especially at one of London’s favorite jazz haunts, then chances are you have seen Peter Hysen up on stage. Peter is a talented and versatile multi‐instrumentalist and former music entrepreneur (Hysen Music) whose decades‐long contribution to the music life of the Forest City was recognized in 2012 when he received a London Music Award for Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year. Needless to say, ‘Peter The Heater’ performs with equal enthusiasm on trombone, bass and tuba. Long-time Sunfest fans may know him from his role as Music Director and performer for the Herencia Latina big band and the Alfredo Caxaj Latin Jazz Ensemble.
As well as being an ace performer, Hysen is a highly sought-after arranger, orchestrator and transcriber who has penned over 800 arrangements – and counting – for a diverse range of groups and artists. Many of his arrangements were written in the jazz and world music veins: a highlight was the work he did for an entire evening of music composed by JUNO‐winning singer‐songwriter Alex Cuba. Peter also was commissioned to write arrangements for the National Arts Centre and Stratford Festival Orchestras as well as many other orchestral ensembles across Canada.
Although the Peter Hysen Ensemble was formed only a decade ago (and comes in several sizes and flavors), the individual musicians have been working together in various configurations for eons. Peter writes all the arrangements and plays trombone for a top-flight band that, at Festival of Word Beat 2021, will also feature Nevin Campbell (keyboards), Paco Luviano (bass), Rob Larose (Latin Percussion), Alfredo Caxaj (Latin percussion & vocals), Aaron Macdonald (sax) and Paul Mitchel (trumpet).