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

“Mike Downes is as strong a player as he is a composer.” Brian Brennan, Calgary Herald

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

"Downes time is rock solid and pitch perfect, his lines often picking up where a Lofsky phrase left off.” Pianist Bill Mays from liner notes to “Bill Please.”

“I have an awesome bass player, Mike Downes. He’s the rock. He is sooo the rock of the band. Great command. I can’t say enough about Michael Downes.” Molly Johnson from Canadian Musician interview, Vol. XXIX, No. 1

"Very rarely is this cumbersome looking instrument heard on disc with such majesty." RPM magazine

"Mike Downes is as gifted a composer as he is a bassist." Chris Kosky, International Society of Bassists

"A great bass player." Chris Smith, Winnipeg Free Press

"Mike Downes's musicality is never in question." Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star

“A tasty example of bright musical imaginations at full stretch.” Mike Downes Quartet concert – Ontario Science Centre, Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star

“The musicians are all phenomenal craftsmen, and being partial to the bass, I was transfixed by Mr. Downes’ steady, subtle walking lines…” Alison Dale, the Beacon Herald -Stratford

“This is a tight rhythm section with Mike Downes firmly in control. Downes is the backbone that keeps it all together and lays the foundation that the other players can perform upon.” concert Review by Paul J. Youngman

“Toronto bassist Mike Downes achieves a smart balance between style and substance” Mark Miller, the Globe and Mail

“His bandmates…are elegant foils for Downes’ nimble-fingered playing with a big, clear sturdy sound, precise intonation and pulsing energy.” Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star

"Bassist Mike Downes is one of Canada's immensely talented young giants." The Jazz Report

“Bassist Mike Downes was a good deal more than a timekeeper…wonderfully resourceful...a huge tone and a prodigious technique” Neil Harris, Winnipeg Free Press

“Quartet’s ensemble work sparkles” (headline) “This composition…from the Downes pen – was a model of intelligent construction and logical organization.”Mark Miller, the Globe and Mail

“Downes booming sound can really lay down solid bottom” Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star

“The biggest buzz at Kaos Bistro this spring is the scheduled performance of Toronto bassist Mike Downes in quartet stellar sidemen Phil Dwyer, David Restivo and Ted Warren.” Jazz Notes Calgary

“There’s an immediacy to the best acoustic bass players, the inarguable appeal that snags you from the inside and lifts you off the pavement. Toronto-based Mike Downes will demonstrate that levitation this Sunday…invest with confidence and brace yourself for the show.” Randal McIlroy, Uptown

“Mike Downes is again deservedly featured both as a soloist and composer.” Review of the Steve Holt Quartet - Mark Miller, the Globe and Mail

“Tuneful solid bass… Falling Grace was a natural vehicle for Downes to reveal his ability to weave gracefully around a melody while on the Parker number his nimble-fingered, quote-laden solo was a powerful reminder of his increasing stature hereabouts.” Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star

“Sticks and Stones" has to count as one of several musical highlights of the set. Mike Downes tight timing and versatility on acoustic bass added immensely to the crisp sound."At Home With Molly Johnson - Report by Dave Barnes

“Pas une fausse note, et une virtuosité remarquable des trois musiciens qui l’accompagnent.”  Journal Vannes - Molly Johnson á Vannes

“Canadian jazz vocalist Molly Johnson swings her way through some brilliant original numbers and inspired covers… her mastery of bossa nova and French chanson styles is evident in the wonderful original tracks.”- "Tristes Souvenirs” by M. Downes and M. Johnson - Sunday Express UK

“Mike Downes is fast turning into one of the most seasoned and sympathetic of local bassists.” John Sobol, Eye Weekly

“Ron Davis’s finesse and sensitivity melt under the other band members’ sizzle – notably the wizardry of Mike Downes on bass.” Ron Davis “Subarashi Live” review - Heidi McKenzie, Whole Note

“Downes picked up the instrument when he was eight and since then, has become one of the bright lights on the Canadian jazz scene.” Terry Craig, Saskatoon Free Press

Mike Downes plucks the strings of change - Toronto Star article


        Things are looking up for Mike Downes. The bassist, one of the leaders in a city jam-packed with talented pluckers of this instrument, has a terrific new CD out in The Winds of Change (Topfrog Records) and has published a much-praised jazz book for bass wannabes and pros. Downes is in action tonight at The Rex from 6:30. You can hear him for free in the trio he has come to prefer, accompanied by pianist David Braid and drummer Ted Warren.

Latest news

My group with Robi Botos - keyboards, Ted Quinlan - guitars, Larnell Lewis - drums and me on bass is preparing for a new recording to follow up our 2018 JUNO win for Root Structure. Our next show is Nov. 30 at Gallery 345 in Toronto.



Ripple Effect, winner of the Traditional Jazz Album of the Year Juno Award in 2014, is available on itunes and at!

Mike Downes - bass, Robo Botos - piano, Ethan Ardelli - drums and special guest Ted Quinlan - guitar.

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