Guido Basso, the masterful musician who for decades was a distinguished pillar of Canada’s jazz scene, has died. He was 85.

Basso was a champion of big band music, leading jazz orchestras for live concerts and TV and radio programs throughout a career of more than 65 years that spanned eight decades.

As a trumpeter and flugelhornist, Basso was a charter member of Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass who played for the band for more than 20 years. He worked as a musical director for numerous CBC programs, and he led big band concerts in Toronto with legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

Known for the lyricism of his flugelhorn work on jazz ballads as well as quick, incisive bebop trumpeting, he espoused the theory that one “attacks the trumpet and makes love to a flugelhorn.”

Basso’s death was announced by his wife, Kristin, who said he went “so quickly and so peacefully.”