Dave Young

"Dr. Dave Young is a master musician, an Order of Canada recipient and throughout his stellar career, has been featured on countless recordings. Originally from Winnipeg, he played with Oscar Peterson for about 35 years - and there is a reason that OP loved playing with him so much. Oscar once said, “To my way of thinking, Dave Young is one of the most talented bassists on the jazz scene. His harmonic simpatico and unerring sense of time, have kept him in the foreground of the jazz picture."
-Renee Rosnes, Artistic Director

Dave Young performs February 18 with the Canadian Jazz Lions.


To my way of thinking, Dave Young is one of the most talented bassists on the jazz scene. His harmonic sympatico and unerring sense of time have kept him in the foreground of the jazz picture.”    --Dr. Oscar Peterson

“...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.”
                                    --Bill Milkowski, JAZZ TIMES

Toronto-based and Winnipeg-born multiple award-winning bassist and composer Dave Young, is, without a doubt, one of Canada’s most valuable and beloved musical exports. Whether he’s performing as part of a classical symphony, or as an integral member of an iconic jazz trio (with the likes of the late Oscar Peterson), or leading any of his dynamic ensembles, Dave remains a total musician, with artistic soul in abundance. He 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 in the worlds of orchestral classical music and jazz, Dave is a multiple threat. As a classical musician, he has been a member of The Edmonton Symphony, The Winnipeg Symphony and The Hamilton Philharmonic. 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, few bassists (jazz or otherwise) are able to dig in, swing hard and still render a lyrical arco solo as Dave can.

One of Dave Young’s most beloved gigs was a five year stint (1961-66) as a member of iconic jazz guitarist Lenny Breau’s quartet. Recently, Randy Bachman’s “Guitar Archives” label has released Bourbon Street – a LIVE recording of Dave and Lenny in duo format, digitally restored and originally recorded on a primitive reel to reel at Toronto’s late, lamented jazz venue. The list of musicians with whom Dave has shared the stage is a virtual “Who’s Who” of international jazz...including the late Oscar Peterson (with whom Dave had a thirty-five year musical relationship), Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Zoot Simms, Joe Williams, Oliver Jones, Kenny Burrell, Cedar Walton, Hank Jones, Nat Adderly, Peter Appleyard, Gary Burton, Barney Kessell, Ed Bickert, Ranee Lee, Marcus Belgrave, Don Thompson, Kenny Burrell and James Moody. 

In recent years, Dave Young has released a number of excellent CDs as leader. The most recent CD, Mean What You Say was released in November 2009. The JUNO winning Fables and Dreams with co-leader Phil Dwyer (Justin Time Records); We Three with Phil Dwyer and Michele Lambert (torontosound.com) and Two by Two – Volumes 1 & 2 (1995 & 96) which featured Dave in duet performances with jazz legends Oscar Peterson, Cedar Walton, John Hicks, Mulgrew Miller, Tommy Flanagan, Ellis Marsalis, Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, Renee Rosnes, Cyrus Chestnut and Oliver Jones and the hit recordings Tale of the Fingers with Special Guest Cedar Walton (Justin Time), and the excellent quintet album, Mainly Mingus (Justin Time), which features Dave’s re-imaginings of the music of Charles Mingus and Horace Silver.

In addition to club appearances, touring, recording and concert/festival performance work, Dave is also a dedicated jazz educator, having taught at numerous music seminars and jazz clinics, as well as being an ongoing member of the Faculty of Music at The University of Toronto. In the classical milieu, Dave regularly tours with clarinettist James Campbell and pianist Gene Di Novi in a successful programme of “Classical Fusion”. He also stretches both his classical and jazz chops at the annual “Festival of the Sound” in Perry Sound, Ontario, where he has been an integral part of this two-week eclectic musical event for some years. 

Dave Young was recently named as a member to The Order of Canada – our country’s highest and most prestigious civilian honour. He was installed for his huge international contribution to the music world and to Canada. Dave Young is also the winner (several times over) of the prestigious National Jazz Award “Bassist of the Year”. In 2009, in Atlanta Georgia, Dave performed as part of a 16-piece orchestra accompanying award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp’s latest Broadway-bound dance work: “Come Fly With Me” – The Music of Frank Sinatra.