Happy Birthday Reg Schwager

May 7, 1962

A tribute to the great jazz guitarist from Canada

Guitarist Reg Schwager was born May 7, 1962 in Leiden, the Netherlands.

When he was three, he moved with his family to New Zealand where he studied violin; three years later his family settled in Ontario, Canada.

Schwager took lessons on the flute and piano before deciding to become a guitarist.

By the time he was 15, Schwager was a professional, playing with combos, in a big band and in duets with his sister Jeannette.

In 1979 Schwager moved to Toronto where he has become a permanent part of the local scene and a nationally known artist.

Schwager, who has played in avant-garde settings (including with Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink),toured with George Shearing, Diana Krall, Peter Appleyard, Rob McConnell, and Emile-Claire Barlow, and recorded over 100 albums including with Shearing, Mel Torme, Junior Mance, Gary Burton, tenor-saxophonist Mike Murley, altoist P.J. Perry, clarinetist Dave Bennett, cornetist Bob Barnard, trumpeter Chase Sanborn, pianist Oliver Jones, vibraphonist Don Thompson, violinist Lenny Solomon, bassist Dave Young, drummer Barry Elmes, and singer Sophie Milman.

Reg Schwager has also led at least seven CDs of his own (starting with 1985’s Here And Now), wrote big band arrangements (including for the Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra), and composed scores of jazz compositions, many with lyrics by Jeannette Lambert.

The tasteful and swinging guitarist is featured playing a subtle but creative version of “’Round Midnight” in 2007 in a trio with bassist Kieran Overs and drummer Barry Elmes.

-Scott Yanow