A while back I discovered the music of Canadian jazz musician Jane Bunnett, like usual it was on a night that I was looking for new music and boy did I listened to Cuban Rhapsody featuring both Jane and pianist Hilario Durán. and if you’ve never heard it give it a listen it’s great! Anyway, today I get to wish her a Happy Birthday Jane was born on October 22, 1956 and is a Canadian soprano saxophonist, flautist and bandleader known for her Afro-Cuban jazz melodies. In addition to her primary instruments, Bunnett also plays the trompeta china, a Cuban wind instrument of Chinese origin.
Born and educated in Toronto, she trained as a classical pianist from 1975-78 (attaining Grade 10 Piano Honors), until tendentious forced a switch to woodwinds at the Royal Conservatory. In 1979 she began concurrent studies in jazz at York University, Toronto, inspired by her first exposure to jazz great Charles Mingus and Rahsaan Roland Kirk in San Francisco. This led to studies with pianist Barry Harris, flautists James Newton, Frank Wess and James Moody; then, having heard soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy’s music, she began to focus on that instrument also. A 1991 Canada Council grant enabled her to travel to Paris to begin studies with Lacy. (From All About Jazz)
From her official biography at her website:
Multiple Juno Award winner, Jane Bunnett has turned her bands into showcases for the finest talent from Canada, the U.S.and Cuba. She has been nominated for Grammy Awards, numerous Juno Awards, and most recently, was honoured with an appointment to the Order of Canada. An internationally acclaimed musician, Jane Bunnett is known for her creative integrity, improvisational daring and courageous artistry. Her exploration of Afro-Cuban melodies expresses the universality of music and her ability to embrace and showcase the rhythms and culture of Cuba has been groundbreaking. She has toured the world bringing her own special sound to numerous jazz festivals, displaying her versatility as a flutist, saxophone player and pianist. As an educator, spokesperson and social activist, she remains unafraid to explore uncharted territory in her quest for excellence
Her list of awards tells you all you need to know about this great musician. But you can find out more about her at the following places:
Juno Awards – Juno Award Winner – ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’ for “Embracing Voices.”
Juno Awards – Juno Award Winner – ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’ for “Radio Guantanamo Blues Project – Vol. I.”
Urban Music Awards – Received a nomination for Best Jazz Recording of the Year (Radio Guantanamo Blues Project – Vol. I).
Order of Canada – Jane Bunnett was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour given in this country, granted to Canadian citizens ‘for outstanding achievement and service to the country or to humanity at large.’
Grammy Awards – Grammy Award nominee for ‘Best Latin Jazz Album’ for ‘Cuban Odyssey.’
DownBeat Magazine Awards – USA – Winner – DownBeat Critic’s Poll for Rising Star Flute.
Urban Music Awards – Toronto Urban Music Awards winner for ‘Cuban Odyssey.’
American Jazz Writers’ Association Awards – ‘Cuban Odyssey’ voted ‘Best Latin Jazz Album.’
Juno Awards – Received a Juno Nomination for Best Global recording for ‘Cuban Odyssey.’
Grammy Awards – Received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz recording for ‘Cuban Odyssey.’
Jazz Journalists Awards – Received an award for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year for ‘Cuban Odyssey.’
Juno Awards – Juno Award nominee for ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ for ‘Spirituals & Dedications.’
Grammy Awards – Grammy Award nominee for ‘Best Latin Jazz Album’ for ‘Alma de Santiago.’
DownBeat Magazine Awards – (U.S. Prestigious Jazz Monthly Publication) – Received an award for the “Rising Star” in the flute/sax section as voted on by staff and readers.
Juno Awards – Received a Juno Nomination for Best Global recording (Alma de Santiago – EMI Canada, Connector in Europe).
Smithsonian Institute Awards – May 2002 – Honored by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. for “contributions and dedication to the development of Latin Jazz.”
Grammy Awards – Received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz recording (Alma de Santiago – EMI Canada, Connector in Europe).
Canadian National Jazz Awards – Winner of a National Jazz Award as ‘Saxophonist of the Year.’
DownBeat Magazine Awards – Again named ‘Top Flautist’ in the Down Beat Magazine Critics’ Poll in the ‘Deserving of Wider Recognition’ category.
Jazz Journalists Awards – Alma De Santiago album nominated by the Jazz Journalists’ Association in the ‘Best Latin Jazz Record of 2001-02’ category.
Jazz Journalists Awards – Nominated as ‘Best Soprano Saxophonist” by the Jazz Journalists’ Association.
DownBeat Magazine Awards – Chosen as ‘Top Flautist’ in the Down Beat Magazine Critics’ Poll in the ‘Deserving of Wider Recognition.’ category
Juno Awards – Juno Award to Jane Bunnett and her Spirits of Havana Ensemble for ‘Ritmo and Soul.’
Toronto Arts Awards – Awarded the Toronto Arts Award for Music.
Socan Awards – Named SOCAN ‘Jazz Composer of the Year.’
The Village Voice Awards – ‘The Water is Wide’ album chosen by The Village Voice as ‘Best Record of the Year.’
Juno Awards – Juno Award for Spirits of Havana Jazz Album.
All-Music Guide Awards – ‘Spirits of Havana’ album picked by the All-Music Guide as one of the top 300 jazz discs of all time.
Juno Awards – Juno Award nomination for debut album ‘In Dew Time.’
Here is a video that features Ms.Bunnett performing with Cuban Piano Masters Hilario Duran and Frank Emilio in 1997 at Montreal International Jazz Festival – awesome! And Happy Birthday, Jane!