MIKE DOWNES QUARTET
Winners of the 2018 JUNO award for Jazz Album of the Year, the Mike Downes Quartet features four of Canada’s top musicians - Mike Downes (JUNO award winner 2014 and 2018), Robi Botos (JUNO award winner 2016), Ted Quinlan (JUNO nomination 2003) and Larnell Lewis (Grammy award winner with Snarky Puppy 2017). These four musicians are "a team that has everything covered. Together, they carry out Downes' mission of foundational exploration while shedding light on his compositional gifts." - Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz.
The Mike Downes Quartet has been performing since the mid-90s. The original quartet toured Canada and recorded their first album Forces to great acclaim. The Jazz Report stated “Bassist Mike Downes is one of Canada's immensely talented young giants." Forces was followed by Then and The Winds of Change (Top 10 CDs of 2004 - JazzFM91). Mike formed a new trio/quartet in 2012 and released Ripple Effect which won a JUNO award in 2014. His next recording In the Current, featured compositions for an 11-piece chamber jazz ensemble, and his latest quartet recording Root Structure recently was awarded the 2018 JUNO for Jazz Album of the Year:Solo.
“5/5 - This album is as close to perfect as it is possible to get and fully warrants its rating here. Buy it!” UK Vibe
“One of the most intriguing and innovative small group jazz recordings of the year” theWholeNote
“A world class recording from beginning to end… the album presents ten wide-ranging compositions primarily written by Downes and executed with exceptional musicality by the quartet” Textura
"My number 1 album of the year is Root Structure by Mike Downes. Mike's compositions are the star here. He is so familiar with the members of his band… that he tailors the tunes to fit their unique musical voices and styles with outstanding results" Brad Barker, JazzFM91
“Simply beautifully-written repertoire. Downes’ traversal of the ten songs is spellbinding” Toronto Music Report
“The music soars with melody and lush solos along with powerful rhythmic foundation”... Jazz versions of classical tunes are common, but this group’s interpretation of a Chopin’s Prelude shows how such a crossover should be done” The Winnipeg Free Press
Canadian bassist, composer, arranger, educator and multiple JUNO award-winner Mike Downes has performed with a veritable who’s who of Canadian and international jazz artists, including Pat Metheny, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie, Molly Johnson, Pat Labarbera, Don Thompson and many others. His extensive discography includes recordings as a leader and sideman, many of which have been nominated for or won JUNO awards. Mike is the Bass Department Head at Humber College in Toronto.
Robi Botos has performed with Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Michael & Randy Brecker, Branford Marsalis, Pat Labarbera, Marcus Belgrave, Steve Gadd, Molly Johnson, Terri Lyne Carrington, James Blood Ulmer, Nikki Yanofsky, Jackie Richardson, Joey DeFrancesco and many more. He has won numerous awards including first prize in the International Montreux Jazz Festival's solo piano competition in 2004 and JUNO awards in 2016 and 2019.
Ted Quinlan is respected as one of Canada’s most multi-faceted jazz musicians, highly skilled as a solo jazz guitarist, session player, writer, and dedicated educator. He has performed with some of the biggest international jazz stars including Chet Baker, Eddie Harris, Jimmy Smith, and Joey DeFrancesco. His recording credits are numerous, and he is the long-time Guitar Department Head at Humber College.
Larnell Lewis is a Toronto born musician, composer, producer, educator and clinician. Lewis has garnered international status with his most recent works with the two-time Grammy Award winning band, Snarky Puppy. He was featured in the September 2015 issue of Modern Drummer Magazine (USA), as well as the cover story of Music Etc/Drums Etc, As well as being a featured artist/clinician worldwide, he has performed with artists ranging from Lalah Hathaway, Gregory Porter, David Crosby, Benny Golson and Molly Johnson.
Mike Downes Parallel Streams Ensemble
“As gifted a composer as he is a bassist."- Chris Kosky, International Society of Bassists
"In it (the "In the Current" suite), Downes shows a keen ear for melody and phrasing, as he does elsewhere, and his charts are contemporary in the best sense of the word - Jack Bowers, All About Jazz
Listed in Top Canadian Jazz CDs of 2013 - Peter Hum,Ottawa Citizen
The Parallel Streams Ensemble is an 11-piece jazz group featuring some of the top musicians in Toronto. Led by Juno award winner Mike Downes, the group showcases his melodic compositional approach that takes full advantage of the textural possibilities of the ensemble. Drawing inspiration from "third stream" music, in which Gil Evans, Miles Davis, Gunther Schuller and others fused elements of Western art music with jazz in the 1950s, Mike is moving into 2014 with music that "emanates from all the experiences in my life and from the many tributaries that have converged into the collective stream of music" In the Current was releasedon Addo Records in early 2014.
Mike Downes bass, conductor, Colleen Allen alto and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, Kelly Jefferson tenor and soprano saxophones, Shirantha Beddage baritone, tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, Jonathan Challoner trumpet and flugelhorn, James MacDonald F/Bb horn, descant horn, Kelsley Grant trombone, N. Jay Burr tuba, Brian Dickinson piano and keyboard, Ted Quinlan guitar, Mark Kelso drums and percussion.