Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Sonny Greenwich first drew notice for his style in 1959 in Toronto, Ontario. The year 1965 saw him in New York City at The Village Gate with saxophonist Charles Lloyd. Greenwich's reputation, grew by word of mouth, bringing him to the attention of John Handy, with whom he played from December 1966 through March 1967 in Seattle, San Francisco and New York. Columbia Records released their concert appearance as Spirituals to Swing. It was also at this time that Greenwich recorded the album Third Season, with saxophonist Hank Mobley, on Blue Note Records.
The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz states that "Some critics regard Greenwich as the most important Canadian jazzman". He is listed as one of the '10 Best Canadian Jazz Musicians of All Time' in the Canadian Book of Lists, and in The History of the guitar in jazz Barney Kessel writes, "There is a deep emotion and sincerity in Sonny's music ... and I consider him a really rare kind of talent". Greenwich's prominence has him written up in the Canadian Encyclopedia; and the Jazz in Canada. Michael Bloomfield listed Sonny Greenwich as one of his favorite jazz guitarists in the August 1971 issue of Guitar Player magazine stating, "There's a guy named Sonny Greenwich, from Canada, he's a phenomenon. They talk about John McLaughlin, but dig this Sonny cat, he's the Coltrane of guitar players."
In 1968, Sonny Greenwich led his own quartet, of pianist Teddy Saunders, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Jack DeJohnette at the Village Vanguard in New York. In December 1969 Greenwich performed with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Tony Williams at the Colonial Tavern in Toronto. The following year, Greenwich's own group opened for the Miles Davis band at Massey Hall.
In 2006, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada is awarded to Canadians who have made a recognizable difference to the country. The honour, which is the highest in Canada, was established in 1967 to recognize extraordinary Canadians and their achievements.
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Sonny Greenwich Jr.
Sonny Greenwich Jr (son of famed Canadian Jazz guitarist) co-founder of Bootsauce, Gold selling, Juno Award-winning Canadian rock band in 1989.
Sonny’s latest single feat. David Binney has been streamed close to 30,000 times, great numbers for a Jazz release! New single Peace Is Calling and his 2nd Album Au Clair coming in the next month, so look out!
The 1st solo album "Auris Theatrum" released in 2020. Crazy instrumental soundscapes with a few vocal songs thrown in. This album is gunning for Hollywood, movie & TV music producers watch out!
Bootsauce, Juno nominated in 1991, received a Juno in 1992 for their 1991 single "Everyone's a Winner", a Hot Chocolate cover. The Brown Album and Bull both achieved Gold Album sales in Canada. 3 of their albums, The Brown Album, Bull and Bootsauce received Juno Award nominations.
Sonny also won Producer of the Year at the Adisq Awards for the album “Sleeping Bootie”.
In 1995 the two Sonny’s (Sr & Jr) joined forces with Alan Baculis and released the jazz album “Welcome Mother Earth” under the monicker Meantime.
Sonny moved to Ireland in the 90s, switching from electric guitar to the mandolin. In the early 2000s he hooked up with Corky Laing — of Mountain, Eric Shenkman — of the Spin Doctors and the late Noel Redding on the album “Out There”.
Sonny then joined singer/songwriter Darren Grimley to record the album “Virgil Kane” by The Americhanics produced by Jeff Martin of The Tea Party in 2008