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Popular crooner Matt Dusk set to play five shows on Vancouver Island

The Toronto-based, JUNO nominated singer sings Tony Bennett on the Island April 20-25

Often big-time artists skip playing shows on Vancouver Island during their B.C. tours. But Toronto’s award-winning jazz crooner Matt Dusk, who has had three number-one radio hits and five JUNO nominations, is going to be playing five shows on the Island on his upcoming tour in late April.

“We love to share the music that we love, right? And when there’s an opportunity to go to any market, for us, it doesn’t matter if there are 10 people or 1,000 or 2,000. We enjoy this experience,” said Dusk.

Dusk will start his Island tour on Saturday, Apr. 20, at Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney, followed by Port Theatre, Nanaimo (Apr. 22), Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River (Apr. 23), Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay (Apr. 24), ending with Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan (Apr. 25). This tour, he’ll bring audiences the swinging classics of his friend and mentor Tony Bennett, based off an in-the-works record Dusk started working on back in 2022. Dusk dropped the first single, the classic I Left My Heart in San Francisco, on Feb. 14. For Dusk, the tour brings fond memories of Bennett, who died July 21, 2023.

“I worked with him [Bennett] for many, many years, starting in 2004. We used to hang out, we used to share lots of great stories,” Dusk said.

Their friendship formed in the Las Vegas showroom, where Bennett gave him invaluable career advice, Dusk recalled. The Best is Yet to Come tour not only celebrates Bennett’s memory but comes on the heels of Dusk’s previous show, Matt Dusk Sings Sinatra, which sold out in more than 70 Canadian and U.S. cities, including Las Vegas.

Dusk has played in Europe and the U.S. with a full orchestra and “beautiful large production”, but he said he also loves playing intimate shows because you “get to do the root of jazz music.”

“You think, oh, New York City, 1930s, smoky bar. It’s the opportunity where you can actually see the eyeballs of people.” And for Dusk, that connection is paramount to why he does what he does. That, and the lifestyle.

“My perspective of it is that people like good music and people like music they remember,” said Toronto jazz star Matt Dusk. (Victor Rusu)

Carrying the torch of old-school jazz

What first drew Dusk, now 45 years old, to the music of a bygone era was when his parents would flip over to jazz on the radio at night as a young teenager.

“Jazz always had that kind of very romantic, cool, quiet sound in the background … I found, you know, all these artists like Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett. And, as a young teenager, you’re looking to your elders for inspiration. So here’s all these people dressed to the nines, always out. It looks like they’re having a blast. And I was drawn to that midnight lifestyle I guess you could say.”

Dusk went on to become an alumnus of the St. Michael’s Choir School and studied under jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson at York University.

Part of his gig, as he describes it, is to carry the torch forward and keep old-school jazz going by singing popular songs, resonating with audiences of all ages.

In terms of where he sees the future of jazz going, Dusk first looks back to its history. Music moved much slower 100 years ago, and back then, jazz was “kind of the pop music of the time” where every artist would record the same song.

On the radio, many different versions of The Way You Look Tonight could be heard, for instance. Dusk compared the lasting sentiments to that of Christmas music.

“I believe that because it’s so ingrained into the repetitiveness, it’s been passed down through the generations.”

And, it’s these songs that people know – sometimes even despite knowing that they know – that Dusk lives to share. He points out that he doesn’t know if we’ll all be singing Drake songs in five years, but that almost everyone he meets knows the lyrics to Sinatra songs, despite at first only being able to name one or two tunes.

“We’re really rewinding the clock and putting people back into a bygone era where it was romantic, where you could sing along to every song and you could understand the lyrics.

“It’s kind of like being at a nightclub at one in the morning. But instead of going *Dusk mimics the sounds of DJ drum and bass at a nightclub*, you’re still having drinks and, you know, singing Fly Me to the Moon.”

Tickets available at

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Jazz crooner Matt Dusk performs songs to sing along to on The Best is Yet to Come tour. (Victor Rusu)