John Finbury is an American composer based in Andover, MA.
His earliest music education and influence came from his father Herb, a musician (violin) and one of the first jazz composition students at the Schillinger School in Boston, which would later become Berklee College Of Music. In his teenage years, John played rock & roll drums, most notably at the "The Bitter End" in New York City. In college, John studied classical piano and music theory and composition at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge and Boston University.
Seeking another connection to music, John ran a legendary movie house and concert hall in Salem, MA, hosting performances by BB King, Bonnie Raitt, Richard Thompson, REM, Eric Burton and The Animals, and Pat Metheny, among many others. In a parallel life, John has been a practicing attorney for 35 years, though you'll never hear him refer to his law practice as a "day job", but rather his other "profession."
John married his lifelong muse Patty Brayden, who sings and is a frequent collaborator as lyricist; they have often performed locally as part of the Jazz Sextet "Day For Night". John's old friend Ned Claflin (who has also worked with Madonna and Martin Sexton) is another important associate in the lyrics department.
In what he recognizes as his first professional commission as a composer, in 1979 John wrote and recorded a soundtrack for "Portraits from the 2 O'Clock Lounge", a TV documentary by Fred Simon produced for WGBH Boston. The R&B and pop songs he wrote and recorded in the early 80s have garnered current critical attention, with many being acquired in 2014 by Fervor Records. This renewed interest in his music sparked a new era in John's composing focused on his longstanding interest in the beautiful music of Brazil.
In October 2014 John released an EP of four original songs of Brazilian Jazz called "The Green Flash". All four songs were nominated for The American Songwriting Awards in 2015, with "SambaDan" winning the award for Best Instrumental.
2015 saw the release of "Imaginário," an album consisting of 11 original songs of Brazilian jazz featuring vocalist Marcella Camargo, accompanied by some of Boston's finest musicians, including longtime members of Paquito D'Rivera's band Oscar Stagnaro and Mark Walker, Tim Ray, and Grammy-winning guitarist Claudio Ragazzi.
In 2016, Finbury shocked the Latin Music scene when a cut from "Imaginário" called "A Chama Verde," was nominated for a Latin Grammy for "Song Of The Year."
In 2017, John released his second Brazilian jazz infused album "Pitanga" with the same lineup, which received critical acclaim.
Finbury's album "Sorte!", in collaboration with Brazilian singer-songwriter Thalma de Freitas, was released in May 2019. With music by John and lyrics and vocals by Thalma, they recorded six original songs at The Powerstation Studios in New York City, produced by Latin Grammy winner Emilio D. Miler, who assembled an All-Star band featuring Vitor Gonçalves, Chico Pinheiro, Duduka de Fonseca, John Patitucci, Rogerio Boccato and the legendary Airto Moreira. On November 21, 2019, "Sorte!" Was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.
In May 2020, John released two new albums of original music: American Nocturnes- Final Days Of July" presenting intimate chamber jazz instrumental music uniquely arranged for piano, cello, guitar,accordion and harmonica, and a new Latin Jazz album, QUATRO, featuring featuring Magos Herrera, Chano Domínguez, John Patitucci, and Antonio Sánchez.
John Finbury's new album "QUATRO" premieres new music with broad Latin American and Spanish influences, mixed and matched in an unorthodox fashion. Alternating vocal and instrumental tracks, the album was produced by Latin Grammy winner Emilio D. Miler, and features Magos Herrera on vocals, Chano Domínguez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Antonio Sánchez on drums. Recorded over two sessions in New York in 2019, "Quatro" is both a celebration of cultural diversity and immigration, and a condemnation of those who seek restriction based upon prejudice.
Produced and arranged by Finbury (an American composer based in Andover, MA), Bob Patton, and co-produced by Emilio D. Miler, American Nocturnes (out now via Green Flash Music) is a collection of eleven evocative pieces that spotlights the composer's mastery in an intimate setting.
Featuring some rather unorthodox instrumentation, not least a harmonica and an accordion, together with guitar, cello and piano, the album also embraces moments of improvisation amongst the melodic works.
This quite alluring appealing album rounds out with the soulful, harmonica-led 'I'll Pray For You' (featuring Roni Eytan), the stunning accordion work of Vitor Gonçalves on 'My Hometown,' and then closes on a solo piano rendition of 'Waltz for Patty.'
In his own words: "This project is a collection of songs I have composed over the past fifteen years. It is music inspired by my historical listening and piano playing experiences including the Chopin Nocturnes, desert island piano music of unsurpassed beauty."
"That is what I am after, and why I feature the piano in all the tracks and call the songs Nocturnes. The emotions in this music are strong."
READ THE FULL Anne Carlini REVIEW
John Finbury has long since displayed a prodigious gift for musicianship in all its forms – not simply popular forms, but also traditional and contemporary Brasilian forms of music and dance too. He has followed up his Brasilian sojourn, Sorte! – John Finbury ft. Thalma De Freitas, with Quatro, a veritable Spanish fiesta that traverses a musical experience that stretches from Spain to Spanish Latin America. The title of his album, however, is more than a geometric suggestion that references the composition of this group; it is rather a metaphor that is culturally topographical and comes with powerful political and sociological undertones as well.
READ THE FULL Latin Jazz Network ARTICLE