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Canadian Heritage

Steve Wallace


STEVE WALLACE (bassist) was born on August 16, 1956 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and is today regarded by many as the most powerful bass player that Canada has produced. He is almost certainly the most experienced, having begun working with visiting jazz greats in Toronto clubs such as Bourbon Street, Lytes, and George’s Spaghetti House while he was still in his twenties, backing some of the music’s most famous names including Clark Terry, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, George Coleman, Zoot Sims, and Pepper Adams.

He has also recorded and toured with some of the biggest names in Canadian jazz including Fraser MacPherson, Rob McConnell, Oscar Peterson, and Oliver Jones. In 1982 Steve became associated with the Concord Jazz label, touring the Soviet Union, Europe and Japan, and recording albums as a sideman with Rosemary Clooney, Ed Bickert, Mel Torme, and others.

Steve became bassist with Rob McConnell’s ‘The Boss Brass’ in 1983 and remained with the band for ten years. In 1985, he replaced ailing bassist George Duvivier to tour Europe, Japan, and Australia with Woody Herman's All Stars, a group that included Al Cohn, Buddy Tate, Urbie Green, John Bunch, and Jake Hanna. Wallace toured frequently as a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio in the 1990's. He also appeared with the Rob McConnell Tentet and the Sam Noto Quintet,

He has been bassist with the Barry Elmes Quintet since its formation in 1991, and a founding member of D.E.W. East (Alex Dean, Barry Elmes, Steve Wallace), for whom Wallace also contributes his own new compositions. Steve performs regularly with the Mike Murley Trio, the Mark Eisenman Trio, and the David Braid Sextet.

Steve is also an accomplished writer. For years, he made his writing available via an email list to friends and colleagues. In 2012, he began posting his writing on a blog:

Steve Wallace is likely the most-heard musician in the three-decade-plus history of the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series at the Ontario Science Centre, having played bass on no fewer than 24 individual concerts.


2013 – JUNO Award for 'Traditional Jazz Album' for the Murley/Bickert/Wallace album "Test of Time"