Born in Toronto to Polish parents, Moe Koffman studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music. A versatile player, he developed a unique talent for the flute, clarinet, and alto saxophone. One of the first Canadian musicians to take an interest in bebop, Koffman started his recording career in 1948 with two 78-RPMs, Bop Lop and Rockin with the Bop. In the early 1950s, he made some notable appearances in Jimmy Dorsey's, Sonny Durham's and Art Mooney's big bands. Back in Toronto, he worked as a session musician and as a leader for his own bands. In 1958, he enjoyed a hit with Swingin' Shepherd Blues from his first album, Cool and Hot Sax. In the 1960s and 1970s, Koffman turned to pop, rock, and classical music. In the 1980s, Koffman often collaborated with Dizzy Gillespie, with whom he played the Festival in 1988. A skilful soloist, he also made his mark as musical director, composer, and arranger.