Welcome to My Website

Glad you found this site!

 Glad you found this site!

I’ve been a guitarist and producer (in many styles) for years now, but in the last decade or so, I’ve happily been able to focus mainly on playing my original instrumental jazz. Besides recording work as a sideman, I’ve brought out two albums of my own music [available from Cordova Bay], which have been quite well-received. And late in 2002 CBC Records released my art-inspired hybrid jazz project, GROUP OF SEVEN SUITE, which features (among others) Jane Bunnett, Don Thompson, Jeff Bird of Cowboy Junkies, and Jane Siberry. (Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?) 2003 saw two further recordings, a self-titled album by my trio SWING STREET, and a collaboration with veteran B-3 player Denis Keldie, called HAMMOND GRITS. I’m mainly active as a player around Toronto, and throughout Southern Ontario (though I do get a bit farther afield for festivals).

I’ve also been pleased to appear lately on some fine albums: the wonderful DELISHIUS by singer Adi Braun, SERIOUSLY HAPPY by Jaymz Bee and the Royal Jelly Orchestra, and BLUE TURNING GRAY, a blues album by my old pal Chick Roberts, which I also produced. A highlight of this one was playing guitar duets with two of my favorite players, Amos Garrett and David Gogo.I also just participated, as guitarist and arranger ,on a Bee-produced project called ‘2 A.M. AT THE TORCH CAFE’ for a remarkable singer called SERAFIN. This five-octave countertenor singer remakes 80’s pop…REM, Cyndi Lauper ,Eurhythmics….into amazing jazz. I also did a guest turn on the new album by PORK BELLY FUTURES [which is the blues band of my famous writing brother Paul Quarrington.] I’m also working on my own next project, a solo guitar outing which will be called STRING THEORY. 2006 was a busy recording year, and 2007 will see the release of a live project with Kevin Breit, a live album with Denis Keldie, and new  CDs with singer/guitarist George Grosman ‘BLUE LULLABY‘, the Jazzophones TAIN’T WHAT YOU DO, the Hawaiianaires, and the Yiddish Swingtet SHUL DAYS’ [the latter with some original klezmer/jazz tunes by yours truly!].

2006 saw me take part in several important events for JAZZ-FM, Canada’s premiere jazz station. In January I played with fellow guitarists Reg Schwager, Lorne Lofsky, Jake Langley, Kevin Barrett, and Danny Marks in an extravaganza called STRINGS ATTACHED. My duet with Danny [on the Santo and Johnny classic SLEEPWALK] is now featured on the Warner Bros. release THE SOUND OF JAZZ : THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION. Then, in May, I joined Doug Riley, Neil Swainson, and Terry Clarke in the rhythm section of the JAZZ LIVES Convocation Hall Concert. Good times were had by all as we accompanied Swing Rosie, Peter Appleyard, Molly Johnson, Russ Little, Ben Sidran, and David Clayton-Thomas, among many others. And finally, in December, the Old Mill rang with the sounds of the Hammond B-3, as my old pal Denis Keldie led a quintet including Chris Plock, Kevin Clark, Howard Gaul, and myself. This will air in February sometime, and may become our new live album as well.

If you enjoyed the MP3 samples, please check out my CDs, at the Cordova Bay and CBC Websites. And if you enjoy these you might look for SWING STREET and HAMMOND GRITS at Sam The Record Man, Toronto, the JAZZ-FM e-site, and many other stores. Or, if you want to order either of these two independent releases through me, then please feel free to contact me at tonyquar@securenet.net. And do check out my various friends, associates,and mentors, under LINKS. Thanks for visiting!

The past seven years have been busy and rewarding for TONY QUARRINGTON. The jazz guitarist and composer received great critical acclaim – uniformly glowing reviews – for his October 1999 release ‘ONE BRIGHT MORNING’ (Cordova Bay 0192), which featured stellar performances not only by the leader, but by such noted jazz soloists as Bernie Senensky and Kirk MacDonald. People seemed to notice particularly the South African groove-piece ‘Savannah’, with its rolling lines and hypnotic rhythms, and the unusual treatment of Monk’s ‘Round Midnight’ (as a fast samba!). The album actually charted, albeit briefly, on campus and community radio. And on the strength of this release, TONY appeared at several Ontario jazz festivals (Toronto Du Maurier Downtown Jazz, Hillebrand Winery, Markham Jazzfest, Guelph Jazz Festival) and at innumerable local clubs

( Whistler’s, Quigley’s, Gate 403, Charlotte Room, Manhattan’s, Graffiti’s, Windsor Arms). He undertook a series of appearances at CHAPTERS Bookstores to promote the new recording. CANADIAN MUSICIAN MAGAZINE did a ‘Spotlight’ on him, and he represented the world of jazz in a guitar seminar in that magazine (May 2000), alongside such rockers as Rik Emmett and Joe Satriani. He worked, both as producer and guitarist, on a recording with jazz piano luminary Joanne Brackeen. He became busier as a producer following his 1999 Juno win ( for Roots Album ‘Heartstrings’ by Willie P. Bennett). He also produced, and played on, a new project for singer Daisy DeBolt, which featured Jane Bunnett, Phil Dwyer, and Dave Restivo, among others. He continued to be a highly employable jazz sideman/ accompanist too, in Club Django, the Jeff Bird Trio, in violinist San Murata‘s band, with tenor saxists Chris Robinson or Ryan Oliver, and with singers like Dee Kaye. He also continues to work with specialty bands like Mike Scott’s HAWAIIANAIRES, and the YIDDISH SWINGTET, with Jonno Lightstone and Jordan Klapman.

But he also found time in 2000 to record a new album, ‘DEEP RIVER’ (Cordova Bay 0222). ‘Sixteen months had gone by since the sessions of ‘ONE BRIGHT MORNING’, he says, ‘and I was itching to get on to something new and different. I had some material I felt was very simple and very strong, and I wanted to explore it with an energetic small group.’ The new CD features 2002 Juno-winner Pat LaBarbera on tenor and soprano sax, with his long-time band mates Neil Swainson on bass, and Greg Pilo on drums. On four numbers, the quartet is augmented by keyboard giant Doug Riley (Hammond B-3 and Fender Rhodes piano). Seven of the nine selections are original- blues, Latin grooves, and ‘rhythm’ tunes – and the two others are a solo guitar treatment of the standard, ‘Old Devil Moon’, and a re-worked version of the Afro-American spiritual “Deep River“, which gives the collection its name. This is profound and swinging music: it is both a musical, and a human, statement.

In 2001 Tony fulfilled another dream – he was able to record his eight-part work, GROUP OF SEVEN SUITE, which had actually been composed ten years earlier. The tunes try to present musical analogues to particular canvases by the famous Group, and Tony was able to assemble a cast of Canadian jazz all-stars for the session, including Jane Bunnett, Kirk MacDonald, John MacLeod, Brian Dickinson, Don Thompson, and Barry Romberg. These fine musicians were joined by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bird, of the Cowboy Junkles, and pop diva Jane Siberry, who sang the Suite’s one vocal. The album ranges through a wide variety of jazz, rock, and roots grooves, and features dazzling, free-wheeling improvisations from the players. A further level is added by sound effects, both recordings of natural sounds, and those produced via physical devices by Jeff Bird. CBC Records picked up the Suite for its new jazz label, and it was released by them in December 2002. In 2004 Tony was able to stage the work live four times at the DISTILLERY JAZZ FESTIVAL..

At about the same time as this recording, Tony began a weekly stint at Toronto’s REX JAZZ AND BLUES BAR with the trio SWING STREET, also featuring Ron Davis on piano and Cheung Liu on bass. Ultimately, this gig lasted almost four years, and the trio recorded the independent CD SWING STREET, with guests Kelly Jefferson on tenor sax, and the wonderful Sarah Latendresse on vocals. [Tony also got to do a bit of singing on this recording!] And his most recent release [Nov. 2003] is the soulful HAMMOND GRITS, a collaboration with veteran B-3 organist DENIS KELDIE, which features a rich blend of blues, standards, originals, and another favorite Afro-American Spiritual [‘Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child’].

TONY QUARRINGTON ‘ GROUP OF SEVEN SUITE : Live In Concert’ ‘GROUP OF SEVEN SUITE’ is an original jazz suite, composed and arranged by Toronto guitarist TONY QUARRINGTON. The eight tunes that make up the work were conceived as a musical tribute to specific canvases by the 7 original Group members : and one for Tom Thomson’s THE WEST WIND has been added, as a prologue. There are many different moods and feelings conveyed by the pieces, and they move through various styles and grooves: but all are evocative of those painters’ wonderful art, and of the awesome Canadian wilderness which inspired them.

The suite was recorded in July 2001 by a core ‘group of seven’ musicians, namely Tony Quarrington on guitars, Jane Bunnett on sax and flute, John McLeod on trumpet and flugelhorn, Brian Dickinson on piano, Don Thompson on bass and vibes, and Barry Romberg on drums. This stellar group of Canadian jazz artists was augmented by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bird, of the rock band Cowboy Junkies, providing some musical textures not usually associated with jazz, on harmonica, mandolin, electric bass, shakuhachi flute, birdcalls, bowed psaltery, and so forth. (In addition, Juno-winning tenor saxophonist Kirk MacDonald guested on two cuts, while the album’s only vocal, (‘Maplewood’), was provided by pop singer Jane Siberry.) The recorded version of GROUP OF SEVEN also features some sound effects, and nature recordings of wind, rain, birdsong, and thunder.

The eight pieces of the suite, together with the paintings that inspired them, are: 1. THE WEST WIND (Tom Thomson:Art Gallery of Ontario) 2. OCTOBER GOLD (Franklin Carmichael : McMichael Collection) 3. MOUNTAIN PORTAGE (Fred Varley:McMichael Collection) 4. GRAY DAY IN TOWN (Lawren Harris : Art Gallery of Hamilton) 5. THE TANGLED GARDEN (J.E.H. MacDonald:National Gallery, Ottawa) 6. PATTERNED HILLSIDE (Franz Johnston:McMichael Collection) 7. ISLES OF SPRUCE (Arthur Lismer:Hart House Gallery) 8. AT THE EDGE OF THE MAPLEWOOD (A.Y.Jackson:National Gallery, Ottawa).

The work has been presented live only once before, with most of the above musicians, at Kleinburg’s renowned McMichael Gallery, in October 2001. [The band also taped a two-song segment for TVOntario’s STUDIO TWO.] The recording was subsequently picked up and released by CBC JAZZ RECORDS, and it is available from their website, as well as most record stores.

The music was prominently featured in 2004’s DISTILLERY JAZZ FESTIVAL, with the work being performed four times: on Friday, May 28, shows at 8 and 10 pm, in the Glenlivet Cabaret: and a 4 pm matinee was held, in the same venue, on both Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30. The band on these occasions was : Tony Quarrington, guitar: Michael Stuart, flute, tenor and soprano sax : John MacLeod, trumpet and flugelhorn : Brian Dickinson, piano : Neil Swainson, bass: Barry Romberg, drums : Jeff Bird, mandolin, harmonica, flute, percussion and SFX: and Julie Michels, vocal.