Janice Finlay

Janice Finlay knows jazz. She lives, works, and plays jazz. She composes, performs, teaches and inspires jazz. It may surprise you to learn that jazz was something she hated in high school when she joined the school band. It was a good thing that she got the saxophone to give it a shot. Jazz began to grow on Janice. Jazz is Janice’s passion today. For three consecutive years, Winnipeg jazz fans have voted her “top-sax” in Winnipeg. She is a band leader and directs her own bands, The Swing Cats Premium, Janice Finlay Jazz Quartet and Janice Finlay’s Hardbop Herd. This extraordinary quintet features renowned Manitoba jazz musicians, who play music from the 50’s to 60’s hardbop era. She is a long-standing member of the Ron Paley Band and her saxophone playing can be heard frequently at Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra “pops” concerts. Janice is a jazz lover. The driving force behind several artistic projects, Janice collaborated with three female jazz composers in 2010 to create original works that were showcased in the Jazz Winnipeg “NuSounds” concert Collaborate…Create…Compose!. She was asked to write A Harbinger Of Swing to Come in 2007, a piece for big band that was first performed by the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra in 2008. Janice was paired with Brenda Gorlick, a Winnipeg choreographer, to present Jazz on Tap at Jazz Winnipeg Festival’s Manitoba Night 2007. Janice performed original compositions by the Manitoba tap artist, as well as some jazz classics. Janice is passionate about jazz. Janice is a “triple threat” in woodwind music. She plays clarinet and flute, as well as all members of the saxophone families. Janice’s jazz experience has given her many opportunities to perform with pit orchestras in musical theatre productions across western Canada. Hairspray (Rainbow Stage), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Drowsy Chaperone at the Manitoba Theatre Centre are some of her most memorable orchestral moments. She is also a first call musician and has supported many touring acts, including Clark Terry, Mel Torme, and Frank Foster, as well as children’s entertainers Sharon and Bram and Bobby Vinton in Las Vegas, Motown group The Four Tops, and The Temptations and country star Kenny Rogers. One of her career highlights was opening for Bob Newhart’s Janice Finlay Jazz Orchestra. Janice is a jazz enthusiast. Janice will release her long-awaited CD, Anywhere But Here, this fall. The CD features nine tracks and includes eight originals as well as a standout rendition of Bye Bye Blackbird. Anywhere But Here was recorded by Larry Roy and features Don Thompson, a legendary jazz musician who received the Order of Canada. The CD also features in-the-pocket grooves by Jodi Proznick, Vancouver’s acoustic guitarist, and inspired guitar by Ron Halldorson. Quincy Davis, a New York City ex-pat, swingin’ on the drums. Erin Propp, a University of Manitoba graduate, lends her dreamy voice to Remember Me. Janice wrote the song after visiting a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Janice has been waiting for Anywhere But Here for a while. In 2002, Janice released her debut CD She’s hip at a sold out CD release party. There she displayed the engaging and lyrical playing style she has become well-known for and the well-crafted compositions. She’s Hip was voted one of the top three jazz recordings by CBC’s Galaxie Network 2002. It was also nominated for a 2003 Western Canadian Music Award. The album continues to be received radio play and enthusiastic audience reaction. Janice is a jazz legend. She has become an outstanding educator and has a gift for teaching. In 2004, she received the Xerox Manitoba Jazz Educator of the year Award. Janice was the first Jazz Program Coordinator at Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts from 2005 to 2007. She is still an active private instructor. She also teaches jazz appreciation classes for the public, school workshops, and jazz ensembles. She has been a member of the University of Manitoba’s Jazz Camp Faculty for over 15 years and is an active adjudicator at music festivals. Janice is a jazz nut. Unknowingly, Janice’s high school experience with the saxophone led her to a path of creating beautiful music. It lead to a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance) at McGill University. She also received a prestigious residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida, as well as advanced studies at the Banff Center for the Arts. The nomination for the YM/YWCA Women of Distinction Awards in the Arts and Culture category was also made possible by the purchase of that saxophone. Janice’s joyful style has brought joy to many, and most importantly, it has made Janice’s music. Music is meant to be shared, after all. All that jazz. from http://www.janicefinlay.com

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