Five-time Juno Award winner and ten-time Juno nominee Chris Tarry is one of the most sought-after bass players in North America. He’s a veteran of the modern jazz super-group Metalwood, and the leader of his own ensemble, The Chris Tarry Group, a band All About Jazz called “One of the best jazz groups working today”.
I don’t think I’ve heard a tighter, more consistently cooking, more continuously uninhibited improvising jazz band than The Chris Tarry Group.
The Chronicle Herald
Since moving to New York in 2003, Chris has worked with some of the top jazz artists in the world such as Wayne Krantz, John Scofield, George Benson, Sam Yahel, Ben Monder, Dave Binney, Donny McCaslin, Oz Noy, Keith Carlock, and the prodigious singer Theo Bleckmann to name only a few.
Not limited to jazz, Chris has also performed with world-renowned pop and rock artists such as Natalie MacMaster, Tom Cochrane, Paul Shaffer, The East Village Opera Company, Ben Heppner, and many others. Most recently, he has been holding down the low end as a member of the acclaimed rock group My Brightest Diamond, and creating infectiously-funky grooves with one of New York’s most beloved funk ensembles, The Hipstones.
Chris’ work as a prolific sideman and bandleader has been featured regularly in publications such as, Bass Player Magazine, The Globe and Mail, New York Times, The Georgia Straight, Canadian Musician Magazine, Vancouver Sun, Downbeat Magazine, and many others.
Tarry is a bass guitarist with a Swallow-esque aptitude; a fiery soloist and technician.
Bass Player Magazine
Tarry was raised in Calgary, Canada, in a family that included a father who played saxophone in an all-dentist band called the Holy Molars. He started playing bass in high school, and it was during that time he discovered the work of Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius and Weather Report, music that would profoundly influence his sound. Studies at Berklee College of Music followed, and then a move to Vancouver. There, Tarry met Brad Turner, and the two approached Mike Murley and Ian Froman about forming the now-famed electric jazz group, Metalwood.
Their debut album, recorded on their very first meeting, won a Juno for Best Contemporary Jazz Album (the Canadian Grammy). Their follow-up repeated the achievement, and the band went on to earn three more Juno nominations for Metalwood 3, the Recline, and Chronic. Tarry, meanwhile, was also releasing solo albums, earning a Juno nomination, a Western Canadian Music Award, and a Canadian Independent Music Award for his 2001 album Of Battles Unknown Mysteries. In 2016, Metalwood reunited for their first album in almost twenty years. That effort (entitled “Metalwood Twenty”), won the band their third Juno for Jazz Album of the Year: Group.
Chris Tarry’s quintet is in electrifyingly tight form!
Once in New York, Chris’ talent as a bandleader also continued to grow. He released three albums featuring his revamped New York lineup of Henry Hey (piano), Dan Weiss (drums), Kelly Jefferson (saxophone), and Pete McCann (guitar). The band’s second release, Almost Certainly Dreaming went on to win the Juno Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2008. Chris followed that success with 2011’s Rest of the Story, an album that combined two of his passions, writing and music, in the form of a beautiful 100 page CD/book combination. That album was nominated for two Juno Awards: Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and Recording Package of the Year, for which it won the latter.
Rest of the Story is one of the most strikingly original packages ever to pair written word with written note.
Bass Player Magazine
As an educator, Chris has inspired a generation of bass players with his concepts, patience, and original approach to teaching electric bass, composition, and career development. Many of his students have gone on to become professional bassists around the world, touring with name acts, and developing careers as world-class sidemen, composers, arrangers, and bandleaders. His lesson site, christarrylessons.com is one of the most popular bass resources on the internet.
Cool gig with Teddy Kumpel & Aaron Steele (Rockwood Music Hall 2012)
Chris with Wayne Krantz & Keith Carlock at The 55 Bar, NYC (2013)