Up-and-coming Toronto jazz guitarist David Cruz is already getting noticed internationally, but he’s “just getting started.”

The 23-year-old has the thoughtful playing and musical sensibilities of a musician well beyond his years. He’s been performing since 2014, and he studied privately with Lorne Lofsky while getting his degree in jazz studies at York University. There, he also played in small ensembles led by highly touted Canadian jazz musicians like Kelly Jefferson, Roy Patterson and Anthony Michelli. He graduated in 2018.

This spring, Cruz released a self-titled EP that has gotten airplay across five continents, including stations all over Canada and the U.S. It’s a mix of standards and originals, rooted deeply in the jazz tradition but also looking forward and pushing boundaries. The recordings were mastered by legendary Canadian jazz drummer Barry Elmes.

“At age 23, David Cruz is a wonderfully dynamic player,” singer Laila Biali has said.

The David Cruz Group performs all over Toronto, and the band is known for its exciting improvisation and on-the-fly arrangements. Cruz also performs regularly with his fiancée, singer Avery Cantello, and her blues band, which has toured Ontario and played at festivals including the TD Niagara Jazz Festival.

Cruz is about to start a master’s degree in jazz performance at McGill University, which means he’s now splitting his time between Toronto and Montreal. “This will allow me to gig and network in both cities,” Cruz says. “I believe this step will yield a lot of amazing musical results.”

We asked the former participant in our Jazzology program to tell us more about his music, what inspires him, and what we can expect next from this young artist.