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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Mike Murley

Biography

MIKE MURLEY (tenor and soprano saxophonist) was born December 12, 1961 in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Since relocating to Toronto from his native Nova Scotia in 1981, Murley has emerged as one of this country's finest jazz artists, amassing impressive international credentials ever since as both a leader and a member of some of this country's most important jazz bands. His critically-acclaimed recordings have placed him at the forefront of Canada's jazz scene for more than a decade. Since winning the Juno Award in 1991 for his Two Sides CD, Murley has appeared on eight other Juno award-winning recordings and received over 20 nominations for other albums as both a leader and a sideman. Murley's Live at the Senator CD – featuring the saxophonist in an intimate trio setting with legendary guitarist Ed Bickert and bassist Steve Wallace – also won a Juno Award in 2002. Often referred to as a classic Canadian jazz album, it holds the distinction of being Bickert’s final recording before his retirement from performing.

One of Murley’s most frequent musical collaborations is in a duo setting with guitarist David Occhipinti. Their first recording, Duologue met with solid critical acclaim and was nominated for a Juno Award in 2004. Their second recording, Duologue Vol 2, was released in October 2005. Murley has also toured and recorded as a sideman with Occhipinti’s quartet. He is a prominent soloist on David Braid’s 2005 Juno Award-winning septet recording, Vivid and also co-leads a quartet with Braid that toured nationally in 2004. Their debut CD, Mnemosyne's March, was released in early 2006. Murley’s latest releases include “ The Melody Lingers On” , “DMBQ Live” – with the addition of saxophonist Tara Davidson and “Day and Night” – the Dave Liebman/Mike Murley Quartet.

Mike Murley is a member of the Juno award-winning (2001) Rob McConnell Tenet, the hugely successful group featuring some of Canada's finest jazz artists playing masterful arrangements by the legendary valve trombonist. Their first of three albums on the Justin Time label was also nominated for a 2002 Grammy Award. The electric jazz group, Metalwood, featured the more robust side of Murley's saxophone during the quartet's prolific recording period from 1996 through 2003.

Murley's playing experience on the international level includes recording and performance with a diverse cross-section of artists including Kenny Wheeler, Randy Brecker, Jack McDuff, John Taylor, Norma Winstone, Dave Douglas, and Renee Rosnes. He has also recorded and toured internationally with Cornerstone label-mates Time Warp and the Barry Elmes Quintet as well as numerous other Canadian artists including Kevin Dean’s B3 band, Stich Wynston's Modern Surfaces, and NOJO. His work as a sideman has taken him to concert halls and clubs in Europe, South America, and Asia. As a leader Murley has played all of the major Canadian jazz festivals and performed high-profile international engagements at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and at Expo '92 in Spain.
As an educator, he has kept a busy teaching schedule at various institutions for more than a decade. He taught part-time at the University of Toronto jazz studies program from 1993 until spring 2005. At present, he is teaching at York University, his alma mater, where he is currently Area Co-ordinator for Jazz Studies. Since 2002, Mike Murley has been a visiting faculty member at the Banff Centre and was part of a prestigious international faculty at the Banff Jazz Workshop in May 2003 and 2004 under the direction of trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas.

Awards:
During the 1990s, Murley was a four-time recipient of the Jazz Report Award as ‘Tenor Saxophonist of the Year’
1991 – Juno Award Winner for Two Sides CD
Since winning the Juno Award personally, Murley has appeared on eight other Juno award-winning recordings and received over twenty nominations for other albums as both a leader and a sideman.
1997 – Jazz Report Awards Winner as ‘Album of the Year’ (for Conversation Piece)
1998 – Member of the Juno Award-nominated electric jazz group, Metalwood
1999 – Member of the Juno Award-nominated electric jazz group, Metalwood
2001 – Member of the Juno Award-winning Rob McConnell Tentet
2002 – Juno Award Winner for Live at The Senator (Cornerstone) CD
2002 – Member of the Grammy Award-nominated Rob McConnell Tentet
2002 – National Jazz Awards Winner as ‘Saxophonist of the Year’
2004 – National Jazz Awards Winner as ‘Saxophonist of the Year’
2004 – Juno Award nominee for Duologue (musical collaboration with guitarist David Occhipinti)
2005 - National Jazz Awards Winner as ‘Saxophonist of the Year’
2005 – Soloist on pianist David Braid’s Juno Award-winning septet recording, Vivid
2005 – National Jazz Awards Winner as ‘Album of the Year’ (for Extra Time)
2006 – National Jazz Awards Winner as ‘Saxophonist of the Year’
2007 – National Jazz Awards nominee for Album of the Year – “The Melody Lingers On”
2007 – National Jazz Awards Winner – Acoustic Group of the Year – Murley/Braid Quartet
2007 – Juno Award Winner Best Contemporary Jazz Album – Murley/Braid Quartet - “Mnemosyne’s March”