Contemporary instrumental guitarist/composer Jamie Bonk debuted in 1997 with a self-titled CD combining the lush, layered melodics of artists like Enya and Patrick O'Hearn with exotic, heavily rhythmic worldbeat percussion. Bonk split his childhood between the cities of Eindhoven (Holland), Winnipeg, and Toronto, where he is still based today; he started out on piano but switched to guitar after discovering rock & roll and world music, in addition to jazz. Bonk especially admired British punk and ska bands like the Clash, the Jam, and the English Beat, but was also greatly enamored of free jazz, particularly Cecil Taylor; he added classical music to his list of influences by taking lessons from guitarist Eli Kassner.
Bonk spent the mid-'80s earning a degree in music composition from Queen's University, after which he became a freelance studio musician and composer, as well as playing around the Toronto area with rock and jazz bands. He teamed up with drummer Jack Vorvis for a time and later formed H Trio with drummer Malcolm Gould, which remained a working unit from 1990-1993. At the same time, Bonk took a job as a guitar instructor at the Toronto Guitar Institute and experimented with recording his own compositions. He quit his teaching job in 1997 to concentrate on the latter activity, and his self-titled solo debut was released on the Bonk Productions label early in 1998. ~ Steve Huey