Phil Dwyer Biography

Phil Dwyer Edition Saxophones

On Dec. 30, 2013 Phil Dwyer was appointed as a Member of the Order Of Canada. He was cited for “his contributions to jazz as a performer, composer and producer, and for increasing access to music education in his community.” This comes as Dwyer looks back at an illustrious 30 year career which has crossed stylistic and geographic borders and has included collaborations with a storied roster of great musical artists.

Since his late teens Dwyer had been, to quote former Globe & Mail journalist Mark Miller “startling jazz audiences with his unprecedented command of both tenor saxophone and piano.” Phil grew up on Vancouver Island and sought out the action and excitement of New York City when he was just 17, moving there in fall of 1983 to study with Steve Grossman and David Liebman. Over the next 18 months he opportunity to meet and ‘sit in’ with many of the true jazz legends who were still on the scene at that time and busking and playing sessions with many of the players who are the stars of today.

Phil lived in Toronto from 1988 to 2004. During that time his distinctive saxophone sound was featured on hundreds of recording sessions including Juno Award-winning albums with Hugh Fraser, Dave Young, Guido Basso, and Joe Sealy. He was a first-call sideman in the top concert halls and jazz clubs and shared the stage with many great artists such as Red Rodney, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, Gino Vannelli, Alain Caron, Don Thompson, Dave Young, Kenny Wheeler, Ingrid Jensen, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Boz Scaggs and many others. During that time he also toured across Canada at least a dozen times and has appeared at major clubs and festivals in over 20 countries.

Since moving back to Vancouver Island in 2004 Phil has continued recording, appearing on Juno Award-winning releases by Don Thompson, Molly Johnson and Terry Clarke. In 2012 his orchestral jazz masterwork, Changing Seasons was the Juno Award winner for ‘best contemporary jazz recording’. Since 2005 he has operated the Phil Dwyer Academy of Musical and Culinary Arts and given master classes and seminars around the world. In the fall of 2014 Phil will begin studies at the UNB Faculty of Law in Fredericton.

Read more about Phil at


Phil DwyerChanging Seasons2012 Juno Winner
Look For The Silver Lining(with Don Thompson)2014 Juno Nominee
Sax Summit (plus others)
Road Stories1997 Juno Nominee
One Take Vol. 2 (w/ Terri Lyne Carrington)2005 Juno Nominee
One Take Vol. 4 (w/ Joey Defrancesco)
Let Me Tell You About My Day2005 Juno Nominee
Fables and Dreams (w/Dave Young)1993 Juno Winner
We Three (w/ Dave Young)
Diana Panton Red
Kelby MacNayr QuintetThe Measure Of Light
Ian McDougall 12tetLive2014 Juno Nominee
Terry ClarkeIt’s About Time2010 Juno Winner
Don ThompsonAsk Me Later2006 Juno Winner
For Kenny Wheeler2009 Juno Nominee
Forgotten Memories (w/ Dave Holland, and
Kenny Wheeler)
Joe SealyAfricville SuiteJuno Winner
Blue JadeJuno Nominee
Molly JohnsonLucky2009 Juno Winner
Molly Johnson
Guido BassoLost In The Stars2004 Juno Winner
Carol WelsmanInclinedJuno Nominee
Lucky To Be Me
Swing Ladies Swing
Hugh Fraser QuintetLooking Up1988 Juno Winner
Pas de ProblemesJuno Nominee
Ian McDougallNo Passport RequiredJuno Nominee
Ted QuinlanAs IfJuno Nominee
Sophie MilmanSophie MilmanJuno Nominee
MantecaLater Is NowJuno Nominee
MantecaNo Net
Roberto OcchipintiYemaya (w/ Dafnis Prieto) Juno Nominee
Trinacria (w/ Horacio Hernandez)
The Cusp
Jon McCaslinSunalta
Laila BialiLive In Concert
From Sea To Sky
Laila Live
Melinda WhitakerLucky So And So
Bridge Quartet Night
Doug RileyCon Alma
Finkleman’s 45s Vol 1
Finkleman’s 45s Vol 2
Alain CaronPlay