James Finn

b. 1956, New York City, New York, USA. Finn began playing music at the age of eight and later studied at Empire State College with Andrew Cyrille, graduating in 1990 Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Music…
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Artist Biography

b. 1956, New York City, New York, USA. Finn began playing music at the age of eight and later studied at Empire State College with Andrew Cyrille, graduating in 1990 Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Music Composition. He also studied at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where he came under the wing of Jimmy Heath, graduating in 1992 Summa Cum Laude with an MA in Jazz Performance. Having by now chosen the tenor saxophone Finn took inspiration from the work of John Coltrane. In addition to music, Finn has also conducted extensive studies into meditation and spiritual awakening, drawing upon Eastern philosophies as well as those of Native Americans.

Placing a very firm and highly personal stamp upon latter-day improvised music, Finn has attracted attention over the years for his committed playing. He has worked extensively with other musicians who are at ease in the contemporary improvised music scene. On his 2004 release for NotTwo Records, Finn played with pianist Deanna Witkowski, bass player Leon Lee Dorsey and drummer Klaus Kugel. On Plaza De Toros he was joined in a power trio by bass player Dominic Duval and drummer Warren Smith. Among musicians with whom he has played as a sideman are Jimmy Cobb, Johnny Coles, Chico Hamilton, Sir Roland Hanna, Ben Harper, Gerry Hemingway, Mikail Horowitz, Teddy Kotick, Kirk Lightsey, Cecil McBee, J.R. Monterose, Eric Person, Kenny Rankin, Arthur Rhames and Eddie Robinson.

Although firmly centred in the New York improvised music scene, including engagements at the city’s Avery Fisher Hall, Finn has also played internationally, including appearing at London’s Royal Albert Hall. In addition to performing, Finn teaches privately, in schools and in prisons. His recorded output is prodigious as is indicated by his output for his own Ginko Leaf Records in 2005 alone. Finn also plays other instruments, including soprano saxophone, flute and bass clarinet.