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Sonny Greenwich

Sonny Greenwich

Sonny Greenwich (guitarist) was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Sonny Greenwich first drew notice for his style in 1959 in Toronto, Ontario. which were followed by dates in Montreal. The year 1965 saw him in New York City at The Village Gate with saxophonist Charles Lloyd. Greenwich’s reputation, grew by word of mouth, bringing him to the attention of John Handy, with whom he played from December 1966 through March 1967 in Seattle, San Francisco and New York. Columbia Records released their concert appearance as Spirituals to Swing. It was also at this time that Greenwich recorded the album Third Season, with saxophonist Hank Mobley, on Blue Note Records.[2]

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz states that “Some critics regard Greenwich as the most important Canadian jazzman”. He is listed as one of the ’10 Best Canadian Jazz Musicians of All Time’ in the Canadian Book of Lists, and in The History of the guitar in jazz Barney Kessel writes, “There is a deep emotion and sincerity in Sonny’s music … and I consider him a really rare kind of talent”. Greenwich’s prominence has him written up in the Canadian Encyclopedia; and the Jazz in Canada. Michael Bloomfield listed Sonny Greenwich as one of his favorite jazz guitarists in the August 1971 issue of Guitar Player magazine stating, “There’s a guy named Sonny Greenwich, from Canada, he’s a phenomenon. They talk about John McLaughlin, but dig this Sonny cat, he’s the Coltrane of guitar players.”

In 1968, Sonny Greenwich led his own quartet, of pianist Teddy Saunders, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Jack DeJohnette at the Village Vanguard in New York. In December 1969 Greenwich performed with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Tony Williams at the Colonial Tavern in Toronto. The following year, Greenwich’s own group opened for the Miles Davis band at Massey Hall.

In 2006, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada is awarded to Canadians who have made a recognizable difference to the country. The honour, which is the highest in Canada, was established in 1967 to recognize extraordinary Canadians and their achievements.


Video Clips

“Tell Yourself The Truth”


“Apocalypse”  with Don Thompson(p), Dave Piltch(b), Michel Lambert(d) 1990