Frank Dukes’s coolest idea EVER

Toronto music producer Frank Dukes has had a lot of cool ideas – just ask Drake or Eminem or Kendrick Lamar or Rihanna or Lorde or…well, you get it.

But beyond his creative work as a producer and songwriter, Dukes has contributed to the industry in his approach to how sampling is dealt with. In order to help artists bypass the mire of clearing samples that are used in the beat-making process of creating songs, (and by doing so, help mitigate the “robbery” of songwriters), Dukes created a readily available sample library called the Kingsway Music Library: essentially a sonic version of Getty Images catering to hip hop and pop music producers.

But this new idea takes the cake.

Dukes has partnered with The Regent Park School of Music in Toronto to create a project that will not only inspire high profile artists, but is also a fundraiser for the school and a cool outlet for the kids.  The school’s general mission, according to Executive Director Richard Marsella, is “to offer young kids access to music education” by removing the high costs that bar so many under-privileged from the joys of music.  About 1000 kids across the city are currently benefiting from the school’s programs.  Further, RPSM intends to “empower” the students and “help them act as positive role models” in the community.  Taking this mission and “cranking it to 11” is what comes of the collaboration with Dukes.

Simply put, Duke’s idea was to create a sample library featuring young musicians from the RPSM so that when the music is used, the proceeds go back to the school.  More specifically, Dukes says, “the money from the masters side and the retail side goes to RPSM…and then when the music gets sampled, the school also gets a royalty.”  It’s the first music sample library that funds music education.

So cool!

Lately, RPSM has been tweeting about all this, how their kids have been involved in a recording project called Parkscapes Vol. 1, and how it has been first picked up by Taylor Swift! One of the pieces has been sampled on “It’s Nice to Have a Friend”, from her brand new album, Lover.  I bet those kids are crazy excited!

You rock, Mr. Dukes.


Frank Dukes Vice article from February 2015

Frank Dukes Complex article from April 2016


Sax Drive begins!

So, first of all, we had a tremendously successful HONK! OFF event on July 7th, meeting with tons of good vibes, support, and raising about $500 in funds for our inaugural HONK! ON Festival coming up in less than two weeks!

HUGE thanks to Drom Taberna for hosting the event and being such gracious hosts to boot.  Thank you to Marion Lougheed, my love and partner, for helping me to put all this together! And special thanks go as well to Micaela Morey, who not only was crucial in helping us organize, but also did an amazing performance of various cover songs with her band.  Lauren Barnett and her partner Demetri Petsalakis – known as Catchfiyah in their duo appearances – also were wonderful (and it was so much fun to sit in with them playing bari sax!)  Both Micaela and Lauren play in my new band…

which leads me to…

Sax Drive - Drom Taberna July 2019

A significant detail for me, personally: the launch of Sax Drive.  We played a great five-sax set of some of my original tunes, which seemed to go over extremely with our crowd.  We are pumped to play our next gig at HONK! ON on the afternoon of Saturday, July 27th at Trinity Bellwoods Park (exact time TBA).

A brief description of Sax Drive goes something like this:

Sax Drive is a new funky jazz combo based in Toronto and led by composer/saxophonist Jason Hayward. The group also features Lauren Barnett and Scott Pearce on alto sax, Nicole Auger and Micaela Morey on tenor sax, along with Tavo Diez de Bonilla on bass and Trevor Yearwood on drums. Beyond that of a traditional jazz combo eschewing a chordal comping instrument, the band’s groove-based aesthetic is informed by diverse influences, including New Orleans street bands, Big Band sax sections, chamber music and EDM.

“Sax Drive” is a name I’ve had in mind for this project for ages!  However, seems like some people have beat me to the name.  Before we get too far along, I may have to change it or add something to it.  Maybe not.  We are way, way cooler after all.

In the meantime…

We started our Sax Drive Facebook page.

And next, we take the world by storm!