Class Act Music Productions

 

RECENT REVIEWS: Anywhere But Here

 … Finlay offers up 65 minutes of rollicking, soulful music that avoids sounding too precious. Instead, her traditionally minded tunes are solid, melodic and swinging. With Proznick and Davis laying down a fluid foundation, she, Thompson and Halldorson have plenty of room to breathe, to solo and to shine — and they do, consistently. A Harbinger of Swing to Come, a 16-minute, two-movement track that closes the album is truly this record’s tour-de-force, for all its players. ★★★★ 

John Kendle – Uptown Magazine (February 9, 2012) 

 …Containing eight stellar originals and an entirely new and more down tempo rendition of the jazz classic "Bye Bye Blackbird" … the album sparkles in the finest hard bop and modern jazz traditions. The swinging "The Houston Shuffle" kicks the door open with the first of many sizzling sax solos… "When I Go Away" is a highlights (sic) of the disc, with Halldorson and Thompson (on vibes) accompanying Finlay's creamy tenor solo. Proznick's strong bass work and mysterious introduction to "The Pillaging Pug" disguises what is truly a burner…

Finlay plays soft and tender on the album's first ballad, "Song for Selma." (sic) The centerpiece of the album is the seventeen-minute "A Harbinger of Swing to Come-Movements I & II," its first eight minutes revealing a good measure of swinging bop rhythms that showcase some of Thompson's most vibrant vibes work against Finlay's hard tenor. The second half of the suite offers contrast, as it gently ushers in the other sensitive ballad portion of the album, ending on a softer note than it began.

Finlay's soulful saxophone style may well be one of the reasons why Winnipeg jazz audiences have crowned her "top sax" numerous times, but her audacious Anywhere But Here, confirms her inclusion as a top-tier jazz artist anywhere in the world.

Edward Blanco, allaboutjazz.com (February 4, 2012)

 … Finlay is Canada’s mistress of the sax and being a jazzbo is more important to her than being a star.  It must be or else I would have heard about this queen of the Canadian jazz scene before now since she’s been racking up the accolades for years now.  A killer contemporary jazz set that reaches back for some old man jazz vibes but stays firmly in the moment, Finlay is someone you’ve got to get to know better if you think there’s nothing new that will float your boat and nothing new that will perk up jaded, adult ears.  A killer set from start to finish… What a great start to the jazz new year.

 Chris Spector - Midwest Record Review - www.midwestrecord.com (January 8, 2012)

 Janice Finlay … is someone who has full concepts and ideas roaming around, knowing how to execute them, and getting them translated to the musicians she works with. Her journeys continue with this album, which goes through a bit of the West Coast cool to the elegant beauty of jazz in Chicago, New York, and Kansas City, sounding like Stan Getz and Pat Martino coming in for a brief visit and allowing Finlay and everyone else to just play and translate.

Anywhere But Here is a jazz album I wish arrived my way more frequently, but by saying this, I’m able to listen to this again and again, and perhaps join her in her worldly travels in my own way.

 This is Books Music, www.thisisbooksmusic.com (January 25, 2012)

What the cut-sheet said that’s most evident in these 9 absorbing tunes (eight originals & a remake of “Bye Bye Blackbird”) is that Janice “knows jazz”… one listen through the upbeat “The Houston Shuffle“, & you’re totally in love with her sax…She also plays some beautiful flute & clarinet… it only took a moment to realize that her flute on the title track, “Anywhere But Here“, was destined to stay at the top of my Zen Touch 2 playlist for years to come… lazy, loose & beautiful is the way I must describe it! It was her classic throaty sax on the most dynamic “The Pillaging Pug” that got my personal vote for favorite, though… wonderful changes through the entire 8:08 track! I give Janice my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, particularly for those who love woodwind-fronted jazz. “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.99… & she gets my “PICK” of this issue for “best woodwind jazz”! Keep your ears open – you’ll be hearing MUCH MORE from this talented young lady! …

Rotcod Zzaj, Zzaj Productions Issue 122 (February 2012)

WINNIPEG saxophonist Janice Finlay draws deeply on the blues to open her sophomore recording as the boss with The Houston Shuffle, a nod to the big sound of saxophonist Houston Person. Finlay showcases her skill as a player, composer and band leader on this nine-tune disc of original compositions and her version of Bye Bye Blackbird, performed almost as a lament rather than the usual upbeat fashion. Her Harbinger of Swing to Come – Movements I & II is a gem for great soloing by Finlay and tight ensemble play. Guitarist Ron Halldorson stands out on the tune and adds a swinging vibe throughout the disc. ★★★★

Chris Smith, Winnipeg Free Press (November 9, 2011)

 If travel ever takes you across the Canadian border to Winnipeg, you’ll want to check out local award winner Finlay. Her quintet includes multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson, who plays piano and vibes on this recording. Nearly all the material is original, and the most invigorating line was on a tune called Good Neighbours (note the Canadian spelling!) Anyhow, Finlay displays sparkling chops and lots of variety on a well-conceived album.

 
George Fendle, jsojazzscene.org (February 2012 edition)