Phil Dwyer Biography

Canadian musician Phil Dwyer (1965)  has been, to quote former Globe & Mail  journalist Mark Miller “startling jazz audiences with his unprecedented command of both tenor saxophone and piano…..extraordinarily authoritative playing” since his late teens. Phil grew up on Vancouver Island and gained his early professional musical experience (1985-87) on the west coast, and on tour with, the David Friesen Trio and Hugh Fraser Quintet. During that time he also did his first CBC Radio recording as well as commercial sessions at Little Mountain Sound, and Blue Wave studios. Before that he had spent time in New York studying and sessioning with some of the true giants of jazz.

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, Norman Foote, Molly Johnson, Joe Sealy, Don Thompson and the Phil Dwyer Orchestra. During that time he was a first-call sideman in the top concert halls and jazz clubs. He shared the stage with many great artists such as  Red Rodney, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, Alain Caron, Don Thompson, Dave Young, Kenny Wheeler, Roberto Occhipinti, Guido Basso, Ingrid Jensen, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole and the Temptations, among many others.

Phil has toured across Canada at least a dozen times, took part in a 1995 world tour with Gino Vannelli, and has appeared at the Mumbai Jazz Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, Blue Note Clubs (New York, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka), Bottom Line(NYC), Zinco (Mexico City), International Piano Stars Festival (Latvia) and almost everywhere in Western Europe.

In more recent years Phil has devoted much of his time to composing and arranging. He has been commissioned by CBC Radio Orchestra, Gryphon Trio, Art Of Time Ensemble and Mark Fewer. His arrangements have been heard on recordings by Sophie Milman, Molly Johnson, John McDermott, Quartetto Gelato, Michael Kaeshammer, Holly Cole and Patricia O’Callahan. His most recent recording, Changing Seasons, is an orchestral jazz masterwork. Changing Seasons received rave reviews and was the 2012 Juno Award winner for ‘best contemporary jazz recording’.

Phil has been back on the west coast since 2005. he has operated the Phil Dwyer Academy of Musical and Culinary Arts. He has also given master classes and clinics at McGill University (w/ British pianist John Taylor), Capilano University (Vancouver), Rhythmic Conservatory (Copenhagen), Royal Academy (Aarhus, Denmark), Edmonton Jazz Society, and for three years as visiting faculty at the prestigious Banff Centre.

Read more about Phil at


Phil DwyerChanging Seasons2012 Juno Winner
Sax Summit (plus others)
Road Stories1997 Juno Nominee
One Take Vol. 2 (w/ Terri Lyne Carringon)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)
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