Mike Murley Trio
Formed in 1998, Murley’s original trio featured Ed Bickert (guitar) and Steve Wallace (bass). In 2000, this group released “Live at the Senator”, winning that year’s Juno Award for best mainstream jazz album. Bickert retired from playing professionally shortly after this but in Nov 2012 a recording of the trio’s previously unissued material, “Test of Time”, was released and promptly produced another Juno. These recordings are certainly made significant by the fact that they represent the final two contributions to the legendary guitarist’s rich discography.
Murley’s current trio, which now features Reg Schwager (guitar) continues this tradition of intimate, lyrical explorations of jazz standards. Often Guido Basso (trumpet/flugelhorn) joins the trio as a special guest. His incomparable musicality is always welcome and the addition of his voice lends the group a unique and truly special dynamic. With Basso as a guest the group has made two tours of Mexico including an extensive trip as featured artists at Festival Internacional Cervantino in 2007.
In 2007, with saxophonist Tara Davidson and Basso as guest artists, Murley released “The Melody Lingers On” (CBC records). This CD was recorded live in concert at the Glenn Gould Studio with a twelve-piece string ensemble built around the trio. The ensemble was conducted by Rick Wilkins with string arrangements by Murley and Schwager. “The Melody Lingers On” received a 2007 National Jazz Award nomination for “Jazz Album of the Year”.
The trio’s latest releases are “Looking Back” (2014) and “Ship Without a Sail” on Cornerstone Records .
Mike Murley – saxophone
Reg Schwager – guitar
Reg Schwager is one of Canada’s leading jazz guitarists. He has played with such internationally acclaimed jazz artists such as Mel Torme, Pepper Adams, Hank Jones, Junior Mance, Jimmy McGriff and Zoot Sims, and such celebrated Canadian jazz musicians as Diana Krall, Rob McConnell, Peter Appleyard, Oliver Jones, Dave Young and Don Thompson. Recent highlights include television, concert and club performances in the US, Japan and the Bahamas with master jazz pianist George Shearing. Schwager maintains an active career on the Toronto scene, recording and performing with in a wide variety of settings.
Steve Wallace – bass
Toronto born Bassist Steve Wallace has played with such international luminaries as Clark Terry, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, George Coleman, Zoot Sims, and Pepper Adams, and has recorded and toured with some of the biggest names in Canadian jazz including Fraser MacPherson, Rob McConnell, Oscar Peterson, and Oliver Jones. In 1982 Steve became associated with the Concord Jazz label, recording albums as a sideman with Rosemary Clooney, Ed Bickert, and Mel Torme, among others. Currently Steve maintains a busy playing schedule with numerous Toronto groups including recent Juno winners, the David Braid Sextet, the Rob McConnellTentet, and the Mike Murley trio.
Guido Basso – Trumpet/Flugelhorn
Guido Basso was born in Montreal, Quebec, and began playing the trumpet at the age of 9, becoming a something of a prodigy while at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal. Basso first toured with Vic Damone when he was 18 and went on to play and record with such international artists as Louis Bellson, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, and Diana Krall. A charter member of Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass, Basso has also played with most major Canadian jazz figures. His 2003 release Turn Out the Stars, won a Juno Award and features Basso playing over rich string arrangements by Phil Dwyer. In 1994 Mr. Basso became a member of the Order of Canada.
Formerly with trio (retired)
Ed Bickert – Guitar
Legendary jazz guitarist, Ed Bickert, was born in Manitoba in 1932 and was raised in Vernon, B.C. He moved to Toronto in 1952 and was soon performing and recording with some of Canada’s most prominent composer/musicians including Phil Nimmons, Moe Koffman and Rob McConnell. He also worked frequently with numerous visiting U.S. artiists at Toronto’s Bourbon St., including Zoot Sims, Red Norvo, and Lee Konitz, among many others. In the seventies he began touring internationally with the likes of Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, and, most significantly, Paul Desmond. His collaboration with Desmond, with whom he shared a remarkable rapport, produced four critically acclaimed recordings, one which was nominated for a Grammy Award and two which received five-star ratings in Downbeat.
Bickert ‘s duo recording with Don Thompson earned him a Juno Award for Best Jazz Recording of the Year in 1979. In 1983 he signed with the Concord Jazz label and recorded numerous albums both as a leader and as a sideman with, among others, Rosemary Clooney, Benny Carter, and the Grammy award-winning Boss Brass led by Rob McConnell.
In 1996 Ed was honoured by the Governor General of Canada for his outstanding contributions to the performing arts, and invested as a Member of the Order of Canada. He retired from active playing in 2002.