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Gary  Benson

Gary Benson

  Gary Benson was respected by his peers as “one the hardest swinging players on the jazz scene" and made a significant contribution to jazz in Toronto in a distinguished career spanning three decades. Whether backing up a long list of jazz vocalists, including such luminaries as Peggy Lee, and Natalie Cole, or playing with other jazz groups and jazz greats including Peter Appelyard and Ed Bickert, Benson set a consistently high standard of excellence. He worked at both the Stratford Festivall and Shaw Festivals, and was seen frequently in television appearances.

   In 1989, Benson founded  the Canadian Jazz  Quartet (CJQ) with percussionist Don Vickery, and, with the addition of vibist Frank Wright, and bassist Duncan Hopkins, the CJQ became one of Canada’s most consistent swinging jazz groups.

   Gary studied composition in Toronto with the late Gordon Delmont and with the New York-based legendary guitarist, Jim Hall. An accomplished composer and arranger in his own right, the CJQs’ two CDs featured several of Gary’s original compositions including Labrador, a haunting melody that lingers long in the listener’s mind, reflects another of Gary’s passions, his love of nature. He was also a gifted teacher and many of his students over the years have gone on to establish successful careers of their own, all carrying part of Benson’s unique influence with them.

    Gary collaborated with Douglas Harrison in 2002 on the Harrison GB Model.  This instrument is an intrigueing performance-oriented new jazz guitar design that lends itself to customization and molding to the player's specific musical needs.

Gary Benson 1939-2014

Gary Benson

I had the good fortune to know Gary for many years as a teacher, performer, customer, and friend.
I am proud to have created the G.B. model with Gary’s input. To have Gary perform and record with these guitars was a real highlight in my career.



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Matt Stevens

Matt Stevens

   Matthew Stevens grew up in Toronto, graduating from the Etobicoke School of the Arts to attend Berklee College of Music. During his time in Boston, Stevens was fortunate to study with Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Mick Goodrick, Wayne Krantz, Dave Samuels, Hal Crook, and Yakov Gubanov. As a student, he had the opportunity to perform with Gary Burton, Abe Laboriel, George Duke, and Lylah Hathaway. Stevens graduated Suma Cum Laude, and was awarded the Guitar Department’s highest honor, the Jimi Hendrix Award.

   Having been awarded the first of two grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Stevens moved to New York City in 2006. For the past five years he has been the featured guitarist and musical director for critically acclaimed trumpeter, Christian Scott, contributing compositions and performing on his three major label releases for Concord/Universal.

   The group’s first album, Rewind That, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year in 2006, receiving worldwide acclaim as a new and exciting direction in jazz. Their second album, Anthem, also received international kudos, and was named Jazz Album of The Year by the famous New Orleans music publication Offbeat. Stevens composed Descent, one of two featured songs, for an extended digital version of Anthem that was released exclusively on iTunes in December 2007.

   The Christian Scott Group’s 2008 release, Live At Newport, honors a live performance at the same venue by Miles Davis fifty years earlier. For this recording Stevens contributed two unique and compelling compositions, Rumor and The Crawler. This past April the group went back to the studio to record their fourth album, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, this time with legendary producer Rudy Van Gelder.

   In addition to performing and writing for Christian Scott, Stevens has worked with some of the best musicians in the world: Donald Harrison, Gary Burton, Esperanza Spalding, Thomas Pridgen, Dave Samuels, Aaron Parks, Rodney Holmes, Jeff Lorber, Kyle Eastwood, Igor Butman, and Victor Bailey. Stevens is a versatile composer and musician having worked outside of the jazz idiom as a session musician for Award Winning producer Gavin Brown (Metric, Three Days Grace, Billy Talent, Sarah Harmer), developing material for Delona (Rockstar Supernova) and Toni Braxton.

   Matthew Stevens’ playing has been applauded in numerous publications worldwide including The New York Times, Downbeat, Jazz Times, The Financial Times, Billboard Magazine, Los Angeles Times, and All About Jazz. He has toured extensively in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the Caribbean. He has played many major jazz festivals—Montreux, North Sea, Newport, Montreal, Monterey, Fujitsu, Anguilla BET, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage—and renowned venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Blue Note clubs in New York, Tokyo and Milan, and The Moscow International Music House.

   Stevens was one of the Young Seven—a group of musicians that included Christian Scott, two-time Grammy nominated pianist Taylor Eigsti, and Telarc recording artist, Melissa Morgan—picked to represent the label across Japan for the Concord/Fujitsu Jazz Festival. He is also a member of Bronze, led by acclaimed tenor saxophonists Walter Smith III and Mark Small who have performed in ensembles led by Terence Blanchard, Michael Buble, and Lauren Hill. The band’s first self-titled release is due 2009 on the well-known Spanish label, Fresh Sound, with a second in the works for 2010.

Matt Stevens
photo by John Rogers

   As a teacher, Stevens has been on faculty at Berklee College of Music’s summer guitar sessions since 2004, and has given clinics and seminars in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Most recently, the respected boutique publisher, Runaway Music, signed Stevens as a composer/song writer.

   Matthew Stevens will be releasing two recordings in 2010: the first featuring drummer Jamire Williams, organist/pianist Milton Fletcher, and saxophonist Walter Smith, and the second, a quartet offering for Omni-American Records. Matt's 2015 recording "Woodwork" features his Harrison GB model.



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Dunstan Morey


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   Dunstan Morey is a classically trained guitarist and graduate of the Humber College jazz program. He has performed as both sideman and leader in a variety of musical configurations, but now works almost exclusively as a solo guitarist. In addition to free-lancing at weddings and corporate events, he has been the house guitarist at La Maquette restaurant in Toronto for the last six years.

   Every second Monday, Dunstan can be found with his Harrison Classic Jazz guitar, hosting the Toronto Fingerstyle Guitar Association's open stage at Ten Feet Tall in Toronto.

Link to Dunstan Morey's web site.

Link to an audio file of Dunstan playing his Harrison Classic Jazz model.


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