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Hugh Marsh
Background information
Born (1955-06-05) June 5, 1955 (age 62)
Birthplace Montreal, Quebec
Also known as
Origin Toronto, Ontario
Genres Jazz, classical, rock
Former members
Years active 1978–present
Instruments Violin
Associated acts Harry Gregson-Williams, Bruce Cockburn, Nick Buzz, Loreena McKennitt, Art of Time Ensemble, Rheostatics
Notable Instruments

Hugh Marsh (born June 5, 1955 in Montreal, Quebec) is a violinist from Toronto, known for his electric violin sound.[1] Marsh was nominated for a 2007 Juno Award in the best contemporary jazz album category.[2]


Early daysEdit

Marsh was born and brought up in Montreal. He learned to play the violin from the age of five but it was when he tried playing the saxophone while at high school that led to him exploring jazz, funk and rhythm and blues. With his father's encouragement, he transferred these improvisation skills to the electric violin.[3] He is the brother of musician Fergus Marsh.


In 1978, Marsh was invited by jazz musician Moe Koffman to perform with him in a concert series at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. This led to gigs at top Toronto jazz club George's Spahgetti House and to performances with Canadian jazz musicians Marsh had long admired such as Doug Riley, Claude Ranger, Sonny Greenwich and Don Thompson.

After meeting Bruce Cockburn in 1979, Cockburn invited Marsh to join his band for recordings and tours.

In 1984, Marsh recorded his independent album The Bear Walks which would eventually be distributed by Duke Street Records. He was supported on the album by Doug Riley (keyboards), Peter Cardinali (bass, production), and Michael Brecker (tenor sax). The album sold well and was distributed by Verabra Records in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 1986.

Marsh recorded his follow-up album in 1987. Shaking The Pumpkin featured Bruce Cockburn (on "How the Violin Was Born"), Dalbello (on "Rules Are Made to be Broken") and singer Robert Palmer on a version of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze". Marsh's collaboration with Robert Palmer on "Purple Haze" became a radio hit in Canada and the United States.[4]

Since 1990 Marsh has recorded and toured with Celtic songstress Loreena Mckennitt, spanning six multi platinum albums and numerous world tours. From 1998, he began working with Turkish Sufi DJ Mercan Dede, resulting in contributions to three albums and other touring projects. Marsh has also worked with other Turkish artists such as Ihsan Ozgen, Kani Karaca, Goksel Baktagir and Ozcan Deniz.

In 2000 Marsh performed with former Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy on his international Just For Love tour, which resulted in the album Alive Just for Love. It is a live recording of the fully uninterrupted set from the El Rey show in Los Angeles on November 30, the same year. This was followed by the studio album "Dust" and a subsequent North American tour.

Marsh has worked on film scoring projects in collaboration with composers such as Harry Gregson Williams and Don Rooke, with compositions featured on such films as Armageddon, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith, Spy Game, Sinbad, Legend of the Seven Seas, The Rundown, Veronica Guerin, Man on Fire, Shrek 2, Return to Sender, Domino, Kingdom of Heaven, The Chronicles of Narnia, Still Mine and Seraphim Falls. He has also worked with Hans Zimmer on scores for Tears of the Sun and The Da Vinci Code.

In 2004 Marsh joined clarinet visionary Don Byron's new quartet "Swiftboat" which also features Kermit Driscoll on bass and Pheeroan Aklaff on drums. Marsh is currently touring as part of trumpeter Jon Hassell's new quartet which also features bassist Peter Freeman and percussionist Steve Shehan.

Marsh is a four-time winner of the Jazz Report Award for violinist of the year and a three-time recipient of the National Jazz Award for violinist of the year.

Marsh's recording Hugmars was released in November 2006 and was nominated for a 2007 Juno Award in the best contemporary jazz album category.[2]

Marsh also performs with the Toronto-based band 'Three Metre Day' featuring Michelle Willis on pump organ and vocals, Hugh on violin and Don Rooke on slide guitar.

Discography Edit


  • 1984 "Versace"/"Znefu For Y'all" (Duke Street/WEA)
  • 1987 "Purple Haze" (Duke Street/WEA), with Robert Palmer
  • 1989 "Purple Haze" re-issue (Soundwings – US), with Robert Palmer


  • 1984 The Bear Walks (Duke Street/WEA)
  • 1987 Shaking The Pumpkin (Duke Street/WEA)
  • 1989 Shaking The Pumpkin re-issue (Soundwings – US)
  • 1996 Songs for my Mother and Father (Cool Papa)
  • 2006 Hugmars (nominated for 2007 Juno Award, Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year)[5]


  • 1996 cut on Sweet Relief II compilation
  • 1997 cut on Carols of Christmas, Vol. 2 compilation

Contributions Edit

  • with Peter Murphy – "Alive Just for Love", "Dust"
  • with Bruce Cockburn – "Humans", "Inner City Front", "Mummy Dust", "The Trouble With Normal", "World of Wonders", "Big Circumstance", "Waiting for a Miracle", "Christmas", "You've Never Seen Everything".
  • with Don Ross – "Bearing Straight".
  • with Loreena McKennitt – "The Visit", "The Book of Secrets", "A Winter Garden", "The Mask and Mirror", "Live in Paris and Toronto", "An Ancient Muse", "Nights from the Alhambra", "The Wind That Shakes the Barley", "A Mediterranean Odyssey.
  • with The Barenaked Ladies – "Born on a Pirate Ship"
  • with Brian Hughes – "Straight to You"
  • with Alannah Myles – "Arrival", "Alannah"
  • with Steve Bell
  • with Mary Margaret O'Hara – "Miss America, "Christmas EP"
  • with Raffi – "Evergreen, Everblue"
  • with Brooks Williams – "Knife Edge", "Seven Sisters"
  • with Roberto Occhipinti – "Trinacria", "The Cusp"
  • with The Henrys – "Joyous Porous", "Puerto Angel"
  • with Mercan Dede – "Seyhatname", "Nar", "Su", "Nefes".
  • with Nick Buzz – "Circo"
  • with Montuno Police – "Touch", "The Call", "Nomads"
  • with The MRC Trio – "Tribal Dance", "That Magic Thread"
  • with Random Access – "Random Access 3, "No Soap Radio", "Accidental Beef".
  • with Hans Zimmer – "Tears of the Sun", "The Da Vinci Code"
  • with Harry Gregson Williams – "Armageddon", "Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?", "Spy Game", "Veronica Guerin", "The Rundown", "Shrek 2", "Return to Sender", "Kingdom of Heaven", "Man on Fire", "The Chronicles of Narnia", "Seraphim Falls", "Deja Vu", "The Number 23" and "The Taking of Pelham 123", "The Town", "Unstoppable", "Prince of Persia, The Sands of Time".
  • with The Stooges- "Ready to Die"

References Edit

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  3. Official website
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External links Edit

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