Manitoba Music Museum

The Manitoba Music Museum is a website dedicated to the Musicians of Manitoba.


GEORGE REZNIK On Saturday, July 23, 2016, George Reznik, aged 86, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, passed away peacefully at Victoria General Hospital surrounded by his loving wife Carol, beloved son George, and special niece Cathy. George was a wonderful husband to his wife, Carol, of over fifty years of marriage as well as a loving father to his daughter Lisa Ann who predeceased him, son George and daughter-in-law Auriana, in addition to being grandfather to three precious grandchildren, Gabrielle, Julius and Oliver. George also leaves nieces, nephews and numerous friends who loved him dearly. Born on November 25, 1929, in Winnipeg, George was classically trained as a pianist at a young age through the Bornoff School and Royal Conservatory of Music. However, George's first and lasting passion was jazz which he played professionally in Winnipeg starting at the age of 16 for over five decades at multiple venues including the Royal Alex Hotel, Town and Country Club, Rancho Don Carlos Club, Northstar Inn and Hotel Fort Garry. At the age of 61, an age which most people retire, George started a weekly Saturday jazz session at the Pemby Hotel with his trio of Bob "Moose" Jackson on bass and Bill McMahon on drums which included numerous musical guests until his retirement over 21 years later at the age of 82. A Canadian treasure with an impressively rich and diverse musical past, "Rez" has shared the stage with many famous entertainers including Louis Armstrong, Barbara Streisand, Lenny Breau, Dave Young and Herb Ellis. George was a recipient of the CanWest Global Jazz Achievement Award in recognition for his outstanding contribution to jazz for over 50 years. Most musicians and jazz lovers who know George Reznik would concede that the unlikely pairing of humbleness and impressive talent have earned him a permanent place in the history of Manitoba jazz as a piano player. George celebrated, mentored and inspired countless musicians. He loved all people equally and generously no matter where they came from or who they were. He touched everyone who crossed his path with his true sense of joy, compassion and humour. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, July 29, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. in St. John Brebeuf Roman Catholic Church, 1707 John Brebeuf Place, Winnipeg, MB with Rev. Fr. Mark Tarrant presiding. A special thanks to the friends and caring staff at both the Simkin Centre and the Victoria Hospital, especially nurses Edith and Tanya, who all provided exceptional care and support. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of George may be made to a charity of your choice. Wojcik's Funeral Chapels & Crematorium, Winnipeg, 2157 Portage Avenue, 204.897.4665

Publish Date: Jul 28, 2016


As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Jul 30, 2016

Condolences & Memories (17 entries)

  • Dear George & family, We are very sorry to hear of George's passing. He was a lovely man and I always enjoyed talking to him at Lester Beach. He was always cheerful; George will be missed at the lake. Martina (Tina nee Petriuk), Dale Hutchison Lester Beach- Posted by: Martina & Dale Hutchison (Friends from Lester Beach) on: Aug 02, 2016

  • There are not many of us left that grew up playing with and, or admiring Georges great talent. Many of we musician, of the same age, grew up and followed George and his playing around town and at most of the clubs he worked in. Being a musician myself, it wasn't always possible to hear George on a regular basis, as we were always working at the same time, but did get to see and hear him at after hours clubs or on television. He being one of the best keyboard players, if not the best, it was one of my greatest desires or dreams to work with him. That desire and dream went on for fifty years. Finally after the long wait, and when Bill, his regular drummer at the Pemby took some time off, and my dream and desire finally came true. I got the opportunity to work with George and Bob at the Pemby and several other casual gigs with him. Only then did I realize how great a player he was even at that age, and how loved and admired he was. Musicians of all ages showed up at the Pemby, to hear him, talk to him, and admire him. George had such a great attitude and always had a humorous side to him that was very individual. The weeks I spent with him were some of the best , if not the best musical times I ever had. Thank God I was able to video all those session, and the times will always be in my memory, and after I'm gone will be on tape. Thank you George so very much for the opportunity to work with you and fulfilled my musical dreams. I realized that those few months would never be topped. I realized that and shortly there after I retired, feeling completely fulfilled as far as music goes. I know it was just a short time we worked together but it was worth a lifetime. I will miss you George I also send my very best to Carol and really know how much of a loss it is for her and to George Jr, and the rest of his family. I know he is in a good place and if everything works out we will do it again. All my Love Jim- Posted by: Jim "Stix" McEwen (Fellow Musician and friend) on: Aug 01, 2016

  • George was a great player with a great memory for music and friends. I started going to the Pemby in 1995, every Saturday, and followed the trio where ever they were playing. There was not only a great skill but a happiness to his music, and he was one who needed to play and who also allowed countless musicians to hone their skills. I feel so grateful to have been entertained by George and Moose and Mac. - Posted by: Brian Curtis (Friend and Fan) on: Jul 28, 2016

  • George, you will be always in our hearts. Our deepest condolences to Carol, George and whole family. Rest in peace our back lane captain. Srdjan - Posted by: Family Maric (Slavica, Srdjan and Pavle) (Neighbors and friends) on: Jul 27, 2016

  • I was saddened to read of George's passing. George was a very talented entertainer who obviously loved what he was doing and in turn his audiences and fans were the winners. My condolences to George's family and to his legions of fans.- Posted by: Val Bishop (acquaintance) on: Jul 27, 2016

  • My condolence to family. George and his smile always welcomed you when you arrived at his room Winnipeg Inn Pemby COOL FM and many happy hours. I always asked him to play After Hours.He gave me his version ad it changed everytime. Part of my past and George represented Winnipegs glorious music when fans listened and enjoyed night music Jazz. Go in peace my friend and as always After Hours. Lee- Posted by: Lee Major (friend ) on: Jul 27, 2016

  • George, Was one of the best pianists in Canada. I played with George all over rural Manitoba, What a blast?? He was one of the few players who could play a beat up piano 1 or 1/2 a tone out. My heart felt condolences to the whole family. Winnipeg will surely miss a great musician. Jazz them up in Heaven? Paul Bayda- Posted by: PaulBayda (accordion) (Fellow musician) on: Jul 27, 2016

  • I can’t express the joy and pleasure that I experienced listening to George and the trio play at the Pemby. His playing was always world class and when on a break he was always gracious, friendly and appreciative of those who came to see him. I was able to visit him at the Simkin Centre on a few occasions and he always was in good spirits and happy to engage in lively conversation. Now he is jamming with Louis Armstrong and other jazz greats. Thanks for all the great music and rest in peace. Mayer Pawlow- Posted by: Mayer Pawlow (Fan and Friend) on: Jul 27, 2016

  • My condolences to you George and the rest of your family.- Posted by: Tammy Honke (Friend of George Jr.) on: Jul 26, 2016

  • I first met George through my ex when we toured the clubs around the city in the 70`s. He had a way of acknowledging his friends when we would arrive where he was playing. For me, he would break into the intro of ``The Shadow of Your Smile``. He never forgot it and even years later when I moved back to the city I was surprised that he remembered me. His style, his passion for the music scene in Winnipeg, his storytelling and his music were always a treat to be part of. Rez was always on point and he will be missed. I think of him whenever I hear that song and it always puts a smile on my face and a memory of the person who entertained and befriended so many people with dignity and respect always. Rest in peace, George. My sincere condolences to your family. - Posted by: Monique Graboski (Friend from back aways) on: Jul 26, 2016

  • I met George years ago when I was newbie piano player in Winnipeg. He was playing at the "top of the Inn" in the Winnipeg Inn. I mentioned I was a player and he offered me the piano without reservation. I played a few of my favorite songs and George gave me a lot of encouragement and praise (although I'm sure I sounded like a beginner!) George was a generous and inclusive, kindhearted soul. He was also a gifted pianist in the Oscar Peterson style; able to play fast jazz lines in unison, which is a challenging technical skill. He could do it while having a conversation with you! George Reznik touched many musicians in Winnipeg with his upbeat, unique personality. He will be missed! - Posted by: Brian Paul (Friend/ colleague) on: Jul 26, 2016

  • A friend and I visited the Pemby a few Saturday afternoons during the seaon George was in Wpg (Sept to May). He provided such wonderful music, and had other musicions to jam with him and his trio. While in Wpg last Sept I had hoped to visit the Pemby to hear George again. But, it was not to be. Truly a great entertainer.- Posted by: Diane Turner () on: Jul 26, 2016

  • Carol I am so sorry to hear of your husband's passing. He left a wonderful legacy of music and experiences. My thoughts are with you and your family in the days ahead. - Posted by: Judy Murphy () on: Jul 26, 2016

  • Thank you for the music. - Posted by: Darrell Spilchuk (Fan) on: Jul 26, 2016

  • I hadn't see George in the past 6 years or so, but I am totally devastated. Even though I know we all don't live forever, George was someone who I felt would always be there. He was always willing to give me and other singers the mic and make us sound amazing because of his amazing keyboard talent. He gave so many their 15 minutes of fame by allowing them to share the stage with a true professional. One of the things I remember about George was that while other musicians would end a song once, George would often end it several times! I interpreted that as George enjoying playing so much that he just didn't want to let go of it. George was of the Beat generation and his expressions reflected that. Groovy, man. This is a very sad day for me and I can't imagine how sad it must be for Carol, George Jr. and the rest of George's family. Save a spot for me, George. I'm a few years behind you, but I'll be there....and I'll bring my own mic. Maybe we'll even convince a few angels to sing backup!- Posted by: Kenn Perkins (Friend) on: Jul 26, 2016

  • George was our neighbour for the past 27 years. As a young family moving to a new street, he and Carol were more friendly and welcoming than we could have hoped. It was always a good day when George was out for a walk with his beloved pets and he'd stop for a chat. We'd talk about music and life and always George would regale us with stories and jokes that kept me laughing for days. A few times at Bar-B-Q's we'd sit with a drink and cigar and wax philosophically about the world ( wasn't that philosophical of a discussion). The neighbourhood feels empty now with you gone. Our deepest condolences to Carol and your whole family.- Posted by: Hope and Jim Beatty (Neighbours) on: Jul 26, 2016

  • I am one of those people that has been truly inspired by George's character and skill. Many an hour I spent listening and enjoying his exceptional piano playing. I have known George since I was 16 years old and remember how nice, patient and genuine of a man he was. I did photography work frequently at The North Star Inn and would sit at the piano bar right next to george and enjoy not only the piano playing but some great conversation as well. I can feel George leading the harp playing angels into a more jazzy direction. Rest in peace you wonderful man. Court- Posted by: Court Brooker (Friend and admirer.) on: Jul 26, 2016