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Welcome to

The Swing of Things

a light jazz duo

c r e a t i n g   a t m o s p h e r e   w i t h    l i g h t   j a z z

European Restaurant

Our Next Gig!

Come Visit us at Coffee Culture St. Thomas

J U N E  09  at Quai du Vin 1-4pm

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It's About You...

                       and your guests

creating atmosphere for your venue

What kind of atmosphere do you want in your restaurant or bistro? Busy and bustling? Smooth and relaxed? Fun and lively?

Most venues aim to be the Third Place in our lives – a place that is neither our home nor our workplace – a third place with a personal  mood all its own, a place where we can return to again and again to just sit, relax, chat, drink and dine.

Selecting music to create your atmosphere is an all-important decision because, together with décor, the music brings to life the kind of feel you aim to create.

The Swing of Things delivers on that hope for restaurateurs and bistro owners.

We perform light jazz for better restaurants and bistros to create the relaxed, alive mood your customers’ value. Music that rolls along smoothly with a relaxed sense of swing. Music that adds a touch of class to your venue, and separates you from your competition.

The Swing of Things - About Us

creating atmosphere with live jazz

We know our role is to create atmosphere for your guests and not to attract attention to ourselves.

Since we focus on you, your venue and your customers, we let the music do the talking. We don’t introduce each tune, and just let the music flow out naturally, one tune at a time, without chatter in between tunes. We start with smooth, pleasant pieces rather than tunes chosen to get attention. The music selections set and then maintain a steady, even pace to ensure your guests aren’t drawn away from their personal experience of the food and each other’s company. We don’t play loudly, and instead carefully match the size of our sound to the size of your space. This ensures your guests can hear themselves talk.

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About the Duo

Creating atmosphere...

The Swing of Things is a relatively new group with an old soul. It combines the talents of two experienced musicians. Peter, on clarinet, carries the melodic quality of the music; James provides the rhythmic and harmonic heart of the music. Read some background on these talented musicians here:

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On Clarinet - Peter Cusick

Solo virtuoso

Peter has a long history playing the clarinet, beginning his journey at age 7. Raised in a church setting, church music and classic Great American Standards are his music of choice. Peter has achieved a level of excellence many aspire to but few achieve.


First, he is a classically trained musician, earning the Grade Eight Royal Conservatory level, which is typically the level earned by symphonic players. Peter indeed played in a symphony orchestra. Second, he is an adept jazz improviser, seamlessly crafting jazz solos that delight.

Peter also plays in three other  musical settings - playing popular songs in seniors homes, playing bass in a praise band and playing as part of the large Derrick Drover Band, where he recorded two CDs.

Peter truly has all the tools to craft the kind of music that pleases audiences.

When not playing music, Peter is a church pastor and a certified Spritual Director.

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On Guitar - James Todd

The Rhythmic Heart...

James Todd grew up hearing fusions of musical styles as the normal way of making music. In his early years, he regularly listened to both Frank Sinatra and the Beatles. In the 70s and 80s, he was drawn to horn-driven bands like Chicago, BS&T and Lighthouse that merged jazz and rock. An early influence was guitarist George Benson, who fluidly blended jazz playing in pop songs.
In the 80s James discovered three guitarists he has since followed for life. First he encountered Pat Metheny, who plays original jazz with a rock feel. Later James uncovered a 30s and 40s gypsy jazz guitarist named Django Reinhardt, and was especially influenced by his melodic playing partner violinist Stephan Grappelli. Finally, he found Jim Hall, the mellow West Coast jazz guitarist who introduced him to the idea that the guitar can cover melody, harmony and rhythm all at the same time.
In the late 80s and 90s, James played in Big Bands in Calgary and in the London area, as well as playing jazz/rock fusion in a Chicago tribute band.
In 2000s, James shifted again, to the more subtle and nuanced sound of a guitar accompanying a muted trumpet playing jazz classics in a jazz duo called Shorelines that performed from Chatham to Tillsonburg, Port Stanley to north London.  After a few more years of solitary practice, he has re-emerged in a new light jazz duo with accomplished clarinetist Peter Cusick, merging a quiet Cool Jazz feel with swinging popular songs and jazz standards.
In the daytime, James is a college professor and a professional public speaker.
James plays an Ibanez Artcore jazz guitar with imported Thomastick-Infeld strings into a beautifully refurbished Roland JC77 jazz amp, able to manage a full sound at low volumes.

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Play Lists

Light jazz music that people recognize

The Swing of Things plays light jazz especially chosen with an emphasis on ballads, beautiful melodies and familiar tunes. We play familiar ballads and standards like Bye Bye Blackbird and Satin Doll; some bluesy tunes like Georgia On My Mind and  Summertime; and popular songs like Michelle, Yesterday and The Odd Couple. (We don’t play Bebop, and we don’t play fast and frantic tunes for showing off.) The following list offers examples of the tunes we play:

Jazz Standards such as


I've Got You Under My Skin

Isn't It Romantic

In a Mellow Tone

Fly Me To The Moon

My Funny Valentine

Some Enchanted Evening

Blues Skies

Popular Songs such as

Over the Rainbow
Bye Bye Blackbird
The Odd Couple
This Masquerade
My Girl
The Look of Love

Questions about how we can add a touch of class to your next event? Reach out to us today, we’re happy to help.

Range of Service

We travel from St. Thomas Ontario

Chatham to Brantford
Stratford to Port Stanley
Sunday gigs start after 1:30pm

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Get in Touch

The Swing of Things is committed to creating the musical atmosphere for bistros, restaurants, and special events.
Questions, comments or special requests? We’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to reach out today.


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