Neil Swainson

Neil (James Sinclair) Swainson. Bassist, composer, b Victoria, BC, 15 Nov 1955. He studied briefly with Robert Meyer in Victoria but is largely self-taught.

Swainson, Neil

Neil (James Sinclair) Swainson. Bassist, composer, b Victoria, BC, 15 Nov 1955. He studied briefly with Robert Meyer in Victoria but is largely self-taught. After playing 1975-7 with the Paul Horn Quintet, he moved to Toronto, where he emerged as one of the leading Canadian bassists in jazz during the 1980s, valued for his versatility as an accompanist and his warmth and technical dexterity as a soloist. Swainson was a member 1978-82 of the Moe Koffman Quintet and also worked in local clubs (eg, Bourbon Street and East 85th, often paired with the drummer Jerry Fuller) as a sideman to such visiting US musicians as Joanne Brackeen, Doc Cheatham, George Coleman, Al Cohn, Johnny Griffin, Jay McShann, Bob Mover and Red Rodney. On the international stage, Swainson worked intermittently 1983-7 with the US trumpeter Woody Shaw (eg, in Europe in 1985 and 87) and in 1985 began performing occasionally in Don Thompson's place with the British pianist George Shearing, finally succeeding Thompson in 1988. With Shearing, Swainson has appeared in the USA, Europe, Australia, and Japan. His first album (see discography) includes his tunes 49th Parallel, Port of Spain, Southern Exposure, On the Lam and Don't Hurt Yourself.


Further Reading

  • Miller, Mark. '"Yes, things are happening for me now," jazzman says,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 6 Feb 1985

    Clery, Val. 'Bassist takes rhythms to the world,' Toronto Star, 30 Aug 1989