“…Schwager epitomizes the archetypical, ultra-smooth style that watermarks so many Canadian guitarists’ playing. His full-bodied, Jim Hall-like tone, perfect eight-note feel and phrasing are exemplary in the genre. Thompson is, simply put, a Canadian national treasure. In addition to being a distinguished multi-instrumentalist and arranger, he is recognized as a trailblazer in the characteristic Canadian compositional sound upon which younger compatriots have built.” (allaboutjazz.com)
Guitar mastermind REG SCHWAGER and multi-instrumental giant DON THOMPSON first played duets together in 1984, and began recording as a duo in the early ‘90s. As jazz authority Ted O’Reilly observed in liner notes for their first duet album, “…the intimacy of this music is the first thing you’ll notice… a quiet conversation of musical intelligence before an attentive audience in a small, comfortable room..”’
Reg has since worked with George Shearing, the Barry Elmes Quintet, and Dave McMurdo’s Jazz Orchestra; Don has worked with John Abercrombie, Jim Hall, and George Shearing; and they were both long-time members of Rob McConnell’s ‘Boss Brass’, but in the liner notes for one of his own recordings, Don talks about why continuing to work together was inevitable:
“I knew about Reg Schwager long before I ever got to play with him. He was pretty young when he arrived on the scene here in Toronto. He knew a lot of songs and he quickly became known for his ability to play pretty well any tune in any key.
“The first time we played together was in Banff in 1984. I was teaching at the Banff Centre and Reg was one of the participants. I remember running into him after lunch one day and he said ’Hey Don, want to play some tunes?’ We found a room with a piano and we were all set to go. I couldn’t believe how much stuff he had together. He had a time feel that was as strong as anyone I’d ever played with and his knowledge of harmony was amazing. I knew right then and there that I wanted to work with him when we got back to Toronto.
“That was a long time ago and since then we’ve worked together in almost every conceivable situation from duo performances to George Shearing’s Quintet to The Hamilton Philharmonic with Diana Panton.”