Steve Wallace

Steve Wallace

Small Jazz Ensemble


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Steve Wallace is one of Canada’s foremost jazz bassists. He was born in Toronto in 1956 and began studying the double bass in 1973 while in high school. He attended the music program at Humber College from 1975-1976 and began his professional career in 1977.

Steve has played with a dazzling array of jazz artists in clubs, at jazz festivals and on tour. These include a veritable “who’s who” of Jazz: Zoot Sims, Clark Terry, Pepper Adams, Herb Ellis, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Ray Bryant, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Scott Hamilton, Barney Kessel, Clifford Jordan, Red Rodney, Curtis Fuller, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, George Coleman – the list goes on and on.

In 1981, Steve toured the Soviet Union with Vancouver-based saxophonist, Fraser MacPherson. The success of this tour resulted in two more Soviet tours in 1984 and 1986. In 1983, he joined Rob McConnell’s acclaimed big band “The Boss Brass” and has recorded and toured with them extensively. He was also a member of McConnell’s Tentet from its inception in 1998.

In 1985, he replaced bassist George Duvivier on a tour of Europe, Japan, and Australia with the “Woody Herman All-Stars”, which included Al Cohn, Buddy Tate, Harry “Sweets” Edison, John Bunch and Jake Hanna.

Steve toured Japan again in 1987, this time with the “Concord All-Stars” (Scott Hamilton, Warren Vaché, Red Holloway, Dan Barrett, Dave McKenna, Ed Bickert, and Jimmy Smith). While in Tokyo, this band recorded two live albums.

In 1988-89, Steve again toured Japan, Europe and the U.S.A. as a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio. He played the Cork Guinness Festival in Ireland and toured Spain in 1989 with the trio of pianist Oliver Jones.

Steve has recorded over 75 albums with artists including Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme, The Boss Brass, (winning the 1983 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Album of the Year), Ed Bickert, Scott Hamilton, Oliver Jones, Fraser MacPherson and many others. He currently resides in Toronto, maintains a busy playing schedule and has recently accompanied such artists as Lee Konitz, Ann Hampton-Calloway, Guido Basso, Eric Reed, Lew Tabackin, and Carol Sloane. In 2015, he was part of the Toronto band (along with Kevin Turcotte, David Braid and Terry Clarke) which played the soundtrack composed by Braid for “Born To Be Blue”, a Canadian-U.K. film about Chet Baker, starring Ethan Hawke.

Steve has been, or is currently, a member of many Toronto-based groups including The David Braid Sextet (winner of the 2004 Juno for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year), The Mike Murley Trio (winner of the 2002 and 2013 Juno for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year), The Rob McConnell Tentet, (winner of the 2001 Juno for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year), The Mark Eisenman Trio, The Barry Elmes Quintet, and The Phil Nimmons Quartet. He is also the bassist of choice for many fine singers, including John Alcorn. Steve occasionally leads his own sextet “Lesterdays”, which is devoted to playing the music of Lester Young and features Mike Murley and Perry White on saxophone, Mark Eisenman on piano, his son Lee Wallace on guitar and John Sumner on drums.

Since 2012, Steve has been active as a writer about jazz and other subjects on his blog, “Steve Wallace: jazz, baseball, life, and other ephemera”, available at wallacebass.com.

He has written a number of articles on jazz for WholeNote magazine and the Duke Ellington Society of Sweden have published three of his articles – about Johnny Hodges & Lawrence Brown, bassist Billy Taylor, and Ben Webster – in their quarterly newsletter.

Young WallaceA young Steve Wallace.

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