Welcome to the homepage of Bassist and Composer Bret Higgins
“This Canadian ace has his fingers in so many pies at once that it probably doesn't phase him to toss off a Klezmer/surf/crime Jazz track that would have been at home in a movie produced by Golan Globus financed with Middle Eastern money.” - Midwestern Record
Bret Higgins is a composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist based in Toronto, Canada. He leads a varied career that encompasses writing music for film and television, original music for ensembles, co-writes with singer-songwriters, producing, arranging, and performing & recording with a multitude of artists from across a broad spectrum of contemporary music.
Bret’s prolific work as a composer has won him numerous awards, grants, residencies, and scholarships. His music has been heard in clubs, theatres, and concert halls throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Brazil. Additionally, he has received a number of music commissions by notable performing ensembles such as Collectif Nuef (Collectif9) and Contact Contemporary Music.
Bret has released 2 CDs of his original music performed by his Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt instrumental project. His debut ‘self-titled' CD was released by John Zorn on Tzadik Records in 2015, and the followup CD ‘Illusion Machine’ was released in 2018 on Chant Records.
Born, raised and currently living in Toronto, he started to play electric bass in his early teens cutting his teeth on folk, rock, and psychedelic music from the 60s and 70s. Once in high school he discovered a love of jazz and classical music and began playing upright bass. Bret studied double bass, theory, composition and arranging at Humber College, and later at the University of Toronto.
In addition to leading his own Bret Higgins’ Atlas Revolt band, the bassist performs regularly with Canadian folk-rock group Great Lake Swimmers, Canada's leading Klezmer-Balkan group Beyond The Pale, East-meets-West instrumental project Zebrina, and the folk based ensemble Ozere. Bret has performed and / or recorded with many luminaries of the pop, folk, jazz, and world music communities, including Sarah Slean, Brian Borcherdt (Dusted, Holy Fuck), Rose Cousins, Leif Vollebekk, Ensign Broderick, Basia Bulat, David Myles, Amelia Curran, Serena Ryder, Justin Rutledge, Jill Barber, Megan Bonnell, Jadea Kelly, Michelle Willis, Dala, Elliott Brood, Bob Egan (Blue Rodeo), SoCalled, The Wailin’ Jennys, Ben Caplan, Lara St.John, Ben Goldberg (Tin Hat, New Klezmer Trio), Frank London (Klezmatics), David Buchbinder (Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Odessa-Havana), Hugh Marsh, and David Amram. Bret performs extensively in Toronto, and has toured throughout North America, Europe, South America, Australia, and Asia.
Special highlights of his career include performing at the 2010 JUNO Awards, the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in both Whistler and Vancouver, and at Massey Hall as part of their 2014 ‘Live at Massey Hall’ concert series. Additionally Bret performed at Carnegie Hall in 2009 as a special guest at the 85th birthday of Theodore Bikel, and in a 2005 performance at the Canadian Governor General's Awards at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.