Photo By Danavas
Canadian soprano saxophonist 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, won many Juno Awards, and, most recently was honored with an appointment to the Order of Canada. Bunnett is known for her creative integrity and improvisational daring. 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 many jazz festivals. As an educator, spokesperson and social activist, she remains unafraid to explore uncharted territory in her quest for excellence.
Bunnett’s Cuban connection started in 1982 when a trip to the island with husband Larry Cramer turned her musical world upside down. Everywhere Bunnett and Cramer went they found drummers whose rhythmic complexity liberated the senses, horn players who deployed amazing dexterity in the service of heartstopping lyricism, and pianists who could make any decrepit old upright roar like doom or sing like a heart in love. No fools, they took their horns and played along. “Over the years I’ve developed relationships with some of Cuba’s legendary musicians,” Bunnett recalls. “I’ve had a great opportunity to learn the music in the streets and in the homes of these celebrated talents… and that’s what has fueled my vision.”
Since then, Bunnett has toured internationally and recorded a string of critically lauded albums. Her house in Toronto’s west end has become a home away from home for a growing number of extraordinary young Cuban musicians, many of whom have played in her group, The Spirits of Havana, a group with which she has appeared on several occasions at LJF.
Bunnett’s many recordings have explored and combined elements of Cuban roots music with traditional contemporary jazz. Today, Jane Bunnett is a highly recognizable name in World Music and Jazz.