Mike Downes

Multiple JUNO award winner Mike Downes is a Canadian bassist, composer, arranger and educator. Described “as gifted a composer as he is a bassist*,” his melodic approach to bass playing, composing and arranging has kept him at the forefront of the Canadian jazz scene since the 1980s.

His extensive discography includes projects as a band-leader, performer, composer and producer. His own Ripple Effect won a 2014 JUNO award for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year and Root Structure was the 2018 JUNO award winner for Jazz Album of the Year: Solo. Root Structure inspired UK Vibe to write “5/5 - This album is as close to perfect as it is possible to get and fully warrants its rating here. Buy it!” Mike has performed with a long list of international jazz artists including Chris Potter, Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, Kenny Wheeler, Dave Liebman and Donny McCaslin, and Canadians Don Thompson, Kirk MacDonald, Pat LaBarbera, Robi Botos, Molly Johnson and many more. He has performed throughout Europe, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Iceland, the United States and Canada.

Mike is the Bass Department Head at Humber College in Toronto and author of The Jazz Bass Line Book and co-author of Jazz and Contemporary Music Theory.

For more information please visit www.mikedownes.com.

“One of my favorite bass players”- Pat Metheny “This bass ace is incapable of letting you down” - Midwest Record “Mike’s time playing is delightfully inventive...his lines are clear, hip, and agile

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“As gifted a composer as he is a bassist.” - Chris Kosky, International Society of Bassists

“Mike’s time playing is delightfully inventive...his lines are clear, hip, and agile. His technique and intonation are extraordinary.”  - Kim Richmond, Jazz Player Magazine

“Emotionally direct, profoundly lyrical bass work.” - Stuart Broomer, The Whole Note

“This bass ace is incapable of letting you down” - Midwest Record

“Downes' playing is marked by an unerring and versatile technique, the kind of bass playing that's never static yet nevertheless establishes a firm foundation” Textura

“Virtuoso solo bassist Mike Downes delighted the hall: on this seemingly “heavy- handed” tool it is only possible in the performance of the greatest masters

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Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Advanced only


Helping to mentor and inspire young musicians is an important component of his career. He has been the Bass Department Head at prestigious Humber College in Toronto since 2000. He has also been featured as a Yamaha artist/clinician throughout Canada, at the Paekche Institute in Seoul, South Korea and the infamous Conservatoire de Paris. Mike is the author of The Jazz Bass Line Book published by Advance Music of Germany. The book is receiving world-wide acclaim as one of the most informative books available on the subject

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Sonny Rollins
Ray Brown
bass, acoustic
Paul Chambers
bass, acoustic



We Want All the Same...

Chronograph Records


Crazy Time

Stubby Records


Root Structure

Addo Records


Root Structure

Addo Records


In the Current

Addo Records


Ripple Effect

Addo Records


Each Hidden Joy

From: We Want All the Same Things
By Mike Downes

Cat Walk

From: Crazy Time
By Mike Downes


From: Root Structure
By Mike Downes



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