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Canadian Heritage

Guido Basso


GUIDO BASSO (trumpeter, flugelhornist, harmonica-player, arranger, composer, conductor) was born September 27, 1937 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He was only nine years old when he began playing the trumpet, becoming recognized as a prodigy while studying at Montreal’s Conservatoire de musique du Quebec. He was just a teenager when he was already becoming prominent on the Montreal club scene, where singer Vic Damone first heard him and took him on international tour with him for two years.

In 1958 he joined singer Pearl Bailey and her bandleader husband, famed drummer Louis Bellson, touring North America with them for three years before moving to Toronto to join the busy studio and television scene there. His playing career as a stand-out sideman and leader, soared, and he became one of the biggest jazz names in the country, and beginning in 1975, frequently organized and led big band concerts at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition featuring jazz luminaries including Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie. He can be heard on hundreds of record albums, playing and recording with stars from Buddy Rich and Oliver Jones to Carol Welsman and Diana Kralll. He is currently featured on vocalist Diana Panton’s latest release “Pink”.

Guido Basso was a charter member of Rob McConnell’s stellar The Boss Brass, and the Rob McConnell Tentet, playing with the Boss Brass as a featured soloist throughout their lifetime, and appearing on 30 Boss Brass recordings. He was part of the highly successful “Sound of Toronto” series of reunion concerts of the Boss Brass in 2008. In the late ‘70s, he formed his namesake society orchestra which became the most prominent feature of major private and public social events in Toronto over ensuing years. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1994.

Among his Sound of Toronto Jazz Series concert appearances: “Let’s Get Lost – A Tribute to Chet Baker in 2006, “The Greatest Love Songs” in February 2009 and as a featured soloist with Diana Panton in October 2009

1994 - Named a Member of the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour given in this country, granted to Canadian citizens 'for outstanding achievement and service to the country or to humanity at large'
2003 - Juno Award for ‘Traditional Jazz Album of the Year’ for Turn Out the Stars.
2004 - Juno Award for ‘Traditional Jazz Album of the Year’ for Lost in the Stars