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Music Memory - Justin Peroff

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the "Music For Memory Project":  a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

This week we hear from Justin Peroff, who is best known as the drummer of Broken Social Scene. He is also a credited actor, DJ, artist manager, visual artist and daydreamer.

"It was the early 90’s and a friend of mine introduced me to someone who would ultimately become my kindred spirit and best friend. I was a drummer who loved hip hop, metal and pop music. He played the sax and enjoyed rap, metal, reggae and jazz music. Together we’d spend hours in his basement, flipping through his Mothers incredible record collection. He asked me if I’d ever heard of Eric Dolphy. I said I hadn’t.

He pulled out a record called “Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot Volume 1” and dropped the needle on a track called “The Prophet”. This was the song I discovered jazz music with, and what a gate-way moment it was. This song is raw, tough, lazy, punk and so damn cool. It was the main riff that opens the song that blew my mind wide open.

Dolphy holds on the riffs finishing note and then drops it a semi tone and holds it further, causing a dissonance that initially seems wrong and ugly but the longer he holds it the more it makes sense. It’s like he’s winking at us, letting us in on the joke. It should’t work but it absolutely does. I searched for this on CD years later at record store I worked at and dug it up on wax at a used record store few years following that. It’s still a go-to track to this day and a discovery that I’ll never forget. Myself and my kindred spirit reconnected recently online and remembered this moment fondly.

He no longer plays the sax but is now studying to be a scientist."


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