There is no doubt that Winnipeg born bassist and composer, Dave Young possesses artistic soul, and musical skill in abundance. His exceptional career has made him a much sought-after jazz bassist who regularly performs internationally with an array of jazz (and classical) luminaries, as well as with his own performing units. In recognition of his remarkable career in jazz, Dave Young was honoured at “The 2003 National Jazz Awards” as “Jazz Bassist of the Year”. The award was richly deserved, and is a tribute to Dave’s chops, highly developed musical sensibility, versatility and life-long commitment to Jazz and Jazz Education.
Dave first began studying the guitar and violin at age ten, but a turn of events at his first gig (a university dance band) compelled him to pick up the bass. Equally comfortable with symphonic work and acoustic jazz, Dave is a multiple threat. As classical artist, he was the principal Double Bassist for a number of years with the Edmonton and Winnipeg Symphonies as well as with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. As a jazz artist, he is a chameleon-like bassist, who often shines brightest in collaborative efforts with other musicians. Because of his technical skill (no doubt a direct result of his extensive classical disciplines) Dave regularly brings jazz bass playing to a new level. Few bassists (jazz or otherwise) are able to dig in, swing hard and still render a lyrical and beautiful arco solo.
Dave Young’s elegant, moving and symbiotic performances with the late guitarist Lenny Breau are legendary. Dave worked with Lenny Breau’s Quartet from 1961-66. Recently a “live” CD has been made available by Randy Bachman’s “Guitar Archives” label. The CD is a recording of a 1983 performance of the duo at the former Toronto jazz hot-spot, “Bourbon Street” (also the title of the CD).
The list of artists with whom Dave Young has shared the stage and/or recording studio, is a veritable “Who’s Who” of international jazz…including the venerable jazz giant Oscar Peterson (with whom Dave has had a twenty-five year professional relationship), Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Zoot Simms, Joe Williams, Oliver Jones, Rob McConnell, Kenny Burrell, Cedar Walton, Hank Jones, Nat Adderly, Peter Appleyard, Gary Burton, Barney Kessel, Ed Bickert, Ranee Lee, Marcus Belgrave, Don Thompson, Kenny Burrell and James Moody.
In recent years, Dave Young has released several award winning recording projects as leader on the Justin Time label: Fables and Dreams, with co-leader and tenorist Phil Dwyer (which won a 1993 Juno Award for “Best Mainstream Jazz Recording”), and in 1995 Two By Two - Volume 1, followed by Two By Two - Volume 2 in 1996. Both duo projects garnered rave reviews from the media, and fulfilled Dave’s artistic vision. The CDsfeatured performances with piano jazz greats Oscar Peterson, Cedar Walton, John Hicks, Mulgrew Miller, Tommy Flanagan, Ellis Marsalis, Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, Renee Rosnes, Cyrus Chestnut and Oliver Jones. Dave’s profound sensitivity and distinctive solo work on Two By Two 1 & 2 was singled out again and again by noted jazzwriters such as Bill Milkowski. Bill wrote in Jazz Times, “…Flawless time, big, buoyant tone and bold solo ideas…keen instincts and depth of musicality. The results of (his playing) are a testament to his ability to listen and adapt his concept of time from player to player.” A third volume is currently in the planning stages.
Dave has had an extensive recording career, covering a variety of milieu with a number of diverse artists. In the fall 2000, Justin Time Records released of Tale of the Fingers, with special guest, Cedar Walton. A standing-room only CD release event (featuring a “live” performance) took place in Toronto at “The Montreal Bistro”, and in 2001, Tale of the Fingers received a Juno nomination. Dave has appeared numerous times at Toronto’s “Montreal Bistro”, and re-united recently with Cedar Walton (to rave reviews) this past February 2003. Mark Miller of The Globe & Mail said of the performance, “Walton’s improvisations were…exhaustive…the respite that Young offered in his occasional solo spots, which countered the pianist’s cool and often unyielding approach with something warmer and, line by line, far more supple. As contrasts in music go, this one was very nice, and—and very necessary.” Perhaps one of the versatile Dave Young’s most loved and popular musical combinations is his own Quintet (which is firmly rooted in the be-bop tradition--focusing on the material of Horace Silver and Charles Mingus).
Another recent recording release, We Three is a collaborative trio project with pianist/composer Phil Dwyer and drummer Michel Lambert. The CD was released on the “TorontoSound.com” cyber label, and subsequently embarked on a national tour in 2002, performing material from this remarkable recording. The “We Three Trio” returned to “The Montreal Bistro” for a week in May of 2003, bringing their unique and highly musical point of view back home to Toronto.
In the classical milieu, Dave regularly tours with clarinetist James Campbell and pianist Gene Di Novi in a program of “Classical Fusion” that melds the classical and jazz worlds into a fascinating and entertaining musical program. Dave also performs a “dueling basses” repertoire of classical works with Toronto Symphony bassist, Joel Quarrington. Dave Young is looking forward to playing this summer (in a variety of classical and jazz formats) at “The Parry Sound Festival” where he has been a regular, and much loved performer for some years. In addition to concert performances, club appearances, touring, recording and Festival performance work, Dave Young is also a dedicated jazz educator. In January of 2003, Dave Young appeared with his Quartet at the International Association for Jazz Education Conference, and was also the recipient of “The I.A.J.E. Award for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education”. Dave Young has taught – and continues to teach at numerous music seminars and jazz clinics, as well as being a faculty member of The University of Toronto. In January 2003, he was in residence at The Music Department of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. He conducted bass master classes and performed in concerts with The Jazz Faculty, and trombonist Gene Smith (Chairman of The Jazz Faculty of St. Francis Xavier University).
A recent engagement of which Dave Young is very proud, was his trip to Mexico in February of 2003. Dave represented the Canadian Consulate in Mexico, and performed concerts in Monterrey and Mexico City. Other member of the trio included Bernie Senensky on piano and Anthony Michelli on drums.