2018 JUNO AWARD WINNER for Jazz Album of the Year: Solo Featuring four of Canada’s top jazz musicians – Mike Downes (JUNO award winner 2014), Robi Botos (JUNO award winner 2016), Ted Quinlan (JUNO nomination 2003) and Larnell Lewis (Grammy award winner with Snarky Puppy 2017), “Root Structure” explores lyrical compositions with a deep underlying structural integrity. "5/5 - This album is as close to perfect as it is possible to get and fully warrants its rating here. Buy it!" Alan Musson, UK Vibe (read the full review) “One of the most intriguing and innovative small group jazz recordings of the year” Lesley Mitchell-Clarke, theWholeNote (read the full review) “Simply beautifully-written repertoire. Downes’ traversal of the ten songs is spellbinding…” Raul da Gama, Toronto Music Report (read the full review) “The new album is amazingly good, the music well composed, the redemption completely eminent and the whole thing so absolutely listenable… compositions and improvisations flow naturally, organically, and it makes the experience special.” Ivan Rod, Danish jazz critic (read the full review) “Mike has produced a beautiful new record that shows the great playing of these heavyweights but also Mike's tremendous compositions.” JAZZ.FM91 First Listen (read the full review) “Root Structure is, as stated, 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 (read the full review) “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…” Keith Black, The Winnipeg Free Press (read the full review) “Mike Downes' "Root Structure" has everything a jazz lover looks for in a record: outstanding compositions, tight ensemble play and dynamic soloing. "Root Structure" demands repeated listens with constant rewards.” Ron Steeds, CKCU-FM “A super tasty quartet date that's sure to bring him another Juno, this bass ace is incapable of letting you down. By all means, put this winner on your list.” Midwest Record (read the full review) “They swing or they quietly reflect, they expand tunes or play with tightness and precision...The title tune is also funky and catchy..." KUCI.org 88.9 FM (read the full review) "His pulse on the strings is thick and palpable..." George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly (read the full review) "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 (read the full review) “Throughout, the music’s executed with tremendous clarity and intention. In other words, as proficient as they are, Quinlan, Downes, Botos and Lewis put musicality first.” Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen
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 and Mark Kelso drums and percussion. The Mike Downes Parallel Streams Ensemble is an 11-piece jazz group featuring some of the top musicians in Toronto. Led by one of Canada's foremost bassists and composers, the group showcases Mike's melodic and textural compositional approach that takes full advantage of the timbral 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 moved 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"
2014 JUNO AWARD WINNER for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year! The music explores original compositions, eastern-European themes and jazz standards in an intimate and melodic setting. Robi Botos - piano, Mike Downes - bass, Ethan Ardelli - drums and special guest Ted Quinlan. “Profoundly lyrical bass work" Stuart Broomer, The Whole Note
"Ripple Effect is a beautifully layered textural conversation with a trio performing as one harmonic train of thought... The technique and interplay between Downes and pianist Robi Botos is remarkable as their own lyrical visions become intertwined within each piece." Brent Black, Bop-N-Jazz
The Winds of Change features masterful playing from three of Canada’s finest jazz musicians. The trio offers powerful interpretations of original and traditional compositions, including the hauntingly lovely Golden Earrings. From the opening notes of the lead track Gemini, you’ll experience the depth of the trio’s music, speaking deeply and intimately to the listener. Dave Restivo - piano, Mike Downes - bass, Ted Warren - drums
BUY ON ITUNES “These three are a formidable trio under any circumstances." Chris Smith, Winnipeg Free Press “Downes’ terrific melodic sense is reflected in his compositions and bass lines. The album is chock full of good examples of this, but perhaps none better than his solo on Sunrise.” Chris Kosky, International Society of Bassists “Given the variety, the versatility, the virtuosity featured here, if you listen to it you'll agree there is also a total effect.” Stanley Fefferman, The Live Music Report "One of the best CDs of 2004." JazzFM91
After finishing a week-long engagement at the Montreal Bistro jazz club in 1997, Mike’s quartet embarked on a tour through western Canada. The quartet had already developed a deep musical rapport as evidenced in the 1995 recording Forces. This music was recorded in Winnipeg’s CBC studio in the middle of the tour. The recording captures the brilliance and energy of the quartet in full force. Phil Dwyer - tenor saxophone, Dave Restivo - piano, Mike Downes - bass and Ted Warren - drums.
Forces is Mike’s first recording as a leader, featuring four of Canada’s stellar jazz musicians. The CD highlights Mike’s compositional and arranging talents as well as the many reasons he has become one of Canada’s most in-demand bassists. Standout tracks include his stunning arrangement of Alone Together, a virtuosic and lovely solo bass version of When I Fall in Love and the quirky and energetic opening track No Me Lo Diga. Phil Dwyer - saxophones, Dave Restivo - piano, Mike Downes - bass and Ted Warren- drums.
“Bassist Mike Downes is one of Canada’s immensely talented young giants. Forces is a welcome addition to the ever-growing catalogue of superb jazz originating from Canada.” The Jazz Report “The first time I heard this CD it hit me just right: repeated listenings bore out its inherent musicality. Mike’s time playing is delightfully inventive and his intonation is absolutely impeccable. This is especially evident on all of his solos, where his lines are clear, hip and agile. His technique and intonation are extraordinary on When I Fall In Love. Kim Richmond for Jazz Player “Toronto bassist Mike Downes achieves a smart balance between style and substance on this, his first CD as a leader. The quartet slides through Downes’s five originals, as well as four standards, like the proverbial knife through butter.” Mark Miller, the Globe and Mail. “Mike Downes is as strong a player as he is a composer. He grabs attention in the opening bars of his first track with a driving samba, No Me Lo Diga.”
THE JAZZ BASS LINE BOOK
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REVIEWS OF THE JAZZ BASS LINE BOOK
Used around the world, The Jazz Bass Line Book is a comprehensive approach to the construction of improvised bass lines. Intended for beginners and professionals alike, the book deals with playing in "2", creating walking bass lines, 3/4 time, using a "broken feel", modal and slash-chord harmony, ballads and much more. Each chapter is full of fundamental and advanced concepts and ideas, accompanied by transcribed examples from the masters of jazz bass playing.
I think you've done for Jazz Bass Lines what Mark Levine did for Jazz Theory - written the definitive book! I suspect that more people should know this than probably do at present, but there is such a glut of music instruction books on the market now (very many of which are of average, or worse quality) that it is becoming harder to pick out the gems. This really is the book that any player serious about wanting to understand and play great jazz bass lines should be reaching for.
Warm Regards, Paul K Scott, UK
I have bought your book and I think is the best book on the subject that I have ever found: it's very serious (in a positive meaning), complete and detailed. Hope to see you playing in Italy. Marco Roccuzzo, Rome, Italy
Mike Downes has written the definitive book on jazz bass lines. This book is thorough, extensively researched, well organized and succeeds in balancing technical and aesthetic considerations. There is a wealth of information for players of all levels, from beginners to advanced. Great job Mike!
Alec Walkington, Montreal, Canada
I went through your book and I think it’s great, good examples, well explained, very clear! Definitely a great book for any bass player.
Alain Caron, Montreal, Canada
Mike gets to the core of creating bass lines with great respect to the spirit and essence of jazz, while providing a fantastic overview of the evolution of the jazz bass line through his well chosen transcriptions. For those interested in playing or writing jazz bass lines, this book is a complete package. I highly recommend it to players as well as arrangers.
Kieran Overs, Toronto, Canada
Mike Downes has written the definitive bass line book I find it to be thorough, logical, and interactive. The examples and transcriptions are superb. I will recommend this book, without hesitation, to all students and pros alike. Mike, thanks for the great job.
Neil Swainson, Toronto, Canada
I bought your jazz bass lines book from advance music and just want to say “thank you“ for this wonderful, really well written and clear book about bass playing! My inner musical being changed a lot with the double bass and especially your book gives me a lot of ideas, develops my own voice, and provides a big outlook to grow.
Roland “Lou” Hank, Germany
I just want to say thank you for creating such a great book. The Jazz Bass Line Book is by far the best of it's kind and I really appreciate it. It is to the point and so very well structured for any bass player to understand. The historical bass examples are such a really great touch. Everything about this book is excellent. If you ever create a book about improvising, which I'm sure would also be good, I'll be the first to buy it.
David McMullan, Montreal, Canada
Your bass line book has been great for teaching. Very clear and well laid out. Excellent job.
Kenneth Lister, Vancouver Island, Canada
Well written, great book, and really fun to play the transcriptions!
JP, Montreal, Canada
I received the book and have started into it. I think it's great!! You start right at the beginning and move through in a very logical order. Light bulbs are flashing on all over the place for me. Your use of the blues pattern threw out the book is great. It helps to see the various patterns using a common denominator. There is a lot for me to learn and some bad habits to unlearn, but I look forward to working with the book to develop my playing. Congratulations on a wonderful book!
John Griffiths, London, Canada
This book is a great resource for players of all levels and experiences. I would strongly recommend it for teachers and students alike.
Pat Collins, Toronto, Canada
Mike’s book does an admirable job of answering the “how to” of writing bass lines for the jazz and Latin bass player. It’s a single source for the information I learned by taking a number of university and college level courses. I am using it with my students, getting good results and can highly recommend it.
Jimmie Howard, Hamilton, Canada
Love the book! So that's what you bass players are thinking about. Seriously, love the range examples of different bass players, eras, essentials and tricks.
Ernie Tollar, Toronto, Canada
What do you get when you take a terrific musician with the ability to articulate what he and others do on the bass? You get an informative, complete and very entertaining instruction book. Great work Mike.
Brad Barker, Operations Manager/Music Director, JAZZFM91
Mike takes us logically from the most basic to very advanced bass line concepts.
This will be an important book for bass students at all levels.
Don Thompson, Toronto, Canada
I just glanced through your book "The Jazz Bass Line Book." Bravo! This looks like a tremendous publication. Very nicely done. Jim Stinnett, Candia, USA
I make my students use your Jazz Bass Line Book. It's a very good method for bass! All the best, Maurizio Quintavalle, Bari, Italy
Hi, I"m a bass player form MTL, and I've bought your book ( the jazz bass line ) a couple of months ago. This is probably the best book I've ever read about walking bass concepts. Your approach is so musical. It helps to make clearer bass lines with great variety. Thanks a lot.
Ben Marquis, Montreal, Canada
I've done lots of work out of your book since our lesson and am very impressed/pleased with it. I'll continue working on this book as it's a lot of fun, and very thorough. You should be proud of it, as I think it is the best bass book I've read to date.
Jake Von Wurden, Ottawa, Canada
I really like the way your book is laid out. Your harmonic explanations are very thorough and concise. Having the transcriptions in score form as well as "play view" is a great idea. More publications should discover this great learning tool.
Peter Hysen, London, Canada
I finally got a copy of your book and I wanted to write and say it's a really GREAT book! Thanks!
Dave Watts, Montreal, Canada
Your book is beautiful. I love that you included Pops Foster, Jimmy Blanton, and Doug Watkins, who for different reasons are often overlooked (as Ray Brown said "I learned every note Jimmy Blanton every played".)
Steve Haines, Brooklyn, U.S.A.
I just wanted to let you know I bought your bass book and I think it is great...some great things and approaches - excellent work and I have been recommending it to a bunch of my students.
John Geggie, Ottawa, Canada
I just want to say thank you for creating such a great book. The Jazz Bass Line Book is by far the best of it's kind and I really appreciate it. It is to the point and so very well structured for any bass player to understand. The historical bass examples are such a really great touch. Everything about this book is excellent. I gave up the bass for a while because I got stuck and didn't know how to move forward. Your book is big help. Thanks. If you ever create a book about improvising, which I'm sure would also be good, I'll be the first to buy it.
David McMullan, Montreal, Canada
Hey, got your bass book recently. . . great stuff. . . best method book I've seen yet!
Thomson Kneeland, Astoria, New York, U.S.A
I love the way it's laid out. There's a firm foundation with lots of opportunity for enrichment provided. The transcriptions can work as etudes to emulate.
Nick Fanner, Saskatoon, Canada
I use it as a reference when teaching my students about bass lines, but this book goes far beyond bass lines. So much good information and very well laid out. Listening to the recordings while following along with the transcriptions as a class is extremely useful. Not only is this book great for understanding and developing bass lines, but overall melodic construction. The chapter on "over-the-barline" rhythms helps develop a stronger sense of rhythmic and formal awareness as well. Thanks for writing such an insightful book!
Kelly Jefferson, Toronto, Canada
I just wanted to let you know that I finally picked up you book and love it. As soon as I opened it up, I couldn’t put it down and played through as much as I could. I’ll recommend it to any bass players who don’t know about it.
Bill Mahar, Montreal, Canada
Your book is the most comprehensive and organized method I've found so far. It's important to have a guide for studying. Your book is good for that and the one I'm studying with these days.
Jose Olano, Spain
I'm a guitar player working on improving my bass line playing and think your book is great. Very nicely laid out and easy to use… Love the book, it's very useful.
Rob McMurray, Toronto, Canada
JAZZ AND POPULAR MUSIC THEORY
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The official theory text for Humber College! This is a unique book that spans both jazz and contemporary music. Filled with numerous musical examples as well as exercises for the testing and application of the given concepts or techniques, this text explores the subject of music theory from the most basic to advanced concepts. It is intended as comprehensive volume for music students of all backgrounds and abilities. The book contains large “units” that progress logically from music rudiments to the musical elements of harmony, form and often-neglected elements of rhythm and melody.