Friday July 20, 2018 9:00 pm
“This bass ace is incapable of letting you down” – Midwest Record
JUNO award winner Mike Downes has been a prominent Canadian bassist, composer, arranger and educator since the early 1980s. His musicality, emotional depth and melodic approach to the bass have thrilled audiences in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Iceland, the United States and Canada. In addition to leading his own groups, Mike has performed with virtually all of Canada’s top jazz musicians, including Molly Johnson, Oliver Jones, PJ Perry, Lorne Lofsky, Don Thompson, Kirk MacDonald, Robi Botos and Pat LaBarbera. He has performed with international artists Pat Metheny, Chris Potter, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Dave Liebman and many others.
“Mike’s time playing is delightfully inventive…his lines are clear, hip, and agile. His technique and intonation are extraordinary” Kim Richmond, Jazz Player Magazine
Mike began playing bass at the age of eight, encouraged by his bass-playing father. He also studied trombone and piano and was quickly recognized as a upcoming talent. He began performing as a teenager in Winnipeg, Canada, playing in diverse settings from rock bands to big bands and from corporate functions to television and radio shows. After being named “Jazz Musician of the Year” in Silver Heights Collegiate, a high school reputed for its music program, he was offered a full scholarship to study bass and trombone at St. F. X. University in Nova Scotia. After two years at St. F.X. he completed a Bachelor of Music degree at McGill University in Montreal. He was already balancing a professional career with his studies. After graduating he was awarded a Canada Council Grant to study with bassists Dave Holland and John Clayton. Mike moved to Toronto in 1990, and later completed a Masters’ degree in Music Composition at York University.
“As gifted a composer as he is a bassist” – International Society of Bassists
Mike’s most recent recording Root Structure, featuring his present quartet with Robi Botos (JUNO Award winner 2016), Ted Quinlan (JUNO nomination 2003) and Larnell Lewis (Grammy award winner with Snarky Puppy 2017) won Jazz Album of the Year: Solo at the 2018 JUNO Awards.
“Downes’ playing is marked by an unerring and versatile technique, the kind of bass playing that’s never static yet nevertheless establishes a firm foundation” Textura