American Nocturnes - Final Days Of July
John Finbury: Bio
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.
American Nocturnes – Final Days of July, a new album of original compositions by Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated composer John Finbury, was released through Green Flash Music on May 1, 2020. Produced and arranged by Finbury, Bob Patton, and co-produced by Emilio D. Miler, American Nocturnes – Final Days of July is a collection of ten evocative pieces that spotlights the composer's mastery in an intimate small ensemble setting.
John Finbury started out as a drummer while in high school. Today, he is an established pianist and composer who has offered a variety of music to my listening room. I've heard his original compositions lyrically enriched by Thalma De Freitas, (a Brazilian vocalist and lyricist) on an album titled "Sorte". It was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award. Finbury won another Latin Grammy nomination in 2016 (in the ‘Song of The Year' category) for a piece he penned on his "Imaginario" album. On his "Quatro" album, that I reviewed in 2019, he was celebrating cultural diversity and immigration, employing Peruvian and Mexican music styles in his compositions. There was an activist cry for freedom and justice in the songs he composed. John Finbury, the composer, has immersed himself in Latin music until this project. His current release is a complete surprise. This album eliminates the percussive rhythms and Latin energy he has been noted for in the past. Here is an album of Chamber Music, with jazz over-tones that twine their way into his production. A nocturne is music that reflects a romantic or dreamy quality. To achieve this, Finbury uses no bass or drums at all during these lovely arrangements. Instead, John features accordion, piano, guitar, harmonica and cello. Speaking of cello, Eugene Friesen gives us a dynamic and emotional rendering during his cello work on Track 5, "Fantasma," as does the sweet harmonica work of Roni Eytan. Peter Eldridge adds his vocalise on this tune.
Another favorite of mine is "Black Tea." Notably, I didn't miss the bass and drums at all. The melodic content of these songs is elegant, classical and the arrangements are relaxing to the ear. Finbury gives us a taste of his piano prowess on the final tune, performing solo on "Waltz for Patty." As a unit, these gifted musicians offer us a platter-full of beautifully played "American Nocturnes" that celebrate John Finbury's delicious composing skills. He warmly serves up a romantic project titled, the "Final Days of July" for our consumption.
This week's KCRW: Los Angeles 'Rhythm Planet: September Songs' playlist includes a bit of everything, and we highlight some of the tracks here. Included in the mix is John Finbury / "Lay Me Down" from American Nocturnes on Green Flash Music.
Released through Green Flash Music, American Nocturnes – Final Days of July, a new album of original compositions by Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated composer John Finbury is a collection of ten evocative pieces that spotlights the composer's mastery in an intimate small ensemble setting.
This is music that crosses genres and defies stylistic boundaries. It is classical and through-composed yet often leaves space and improvisational opportunity for the musicians, often disguised as developments and ornamentations of the melodies. It is music that is bound to fascinate listeners through a deeply emotional, delightful sway between jazz and chamber music. The instrumentation in this record is also unique, with the core duo of piano and cello joined by guitar, harmonica and accordion.
In late 2019, just before the world as we knew it went astray, veteran composer John Finbury was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for his extraordinary collection Sorte! Featuring Brazilian singer/songwriter Thalma de Freitas. Whether consciously or not, he and the grand ensembles he works with found fascinating ways to chronicle the year since with works that speak to different elements of our collective experience.
Released just before the events that prompted a summer of protests and a reckoning on systemic racism, the seven track, jazz and Latin jazz influenced Quatro was fashioned as a powerful condemnation of those who seek restriction based on race and call for social justice. Released on the same day, American Nocturne: Final Days of July has a completely different vibe, much more expansive, meditative, lyrical, nostalgic, haunting and melancholy, with a completely different ensemble artfully balancing Finbury's jazz and classical passions. It's a beautiful and thoughtful, hard hitting reflection on America in 2020, infused with tradition, lament and longing – and ultimately, with gently graceful pieces like "Halfway There," "I'll Pray for You" and "Storybook Ending," a few glimmers of hope amidst the sadness and despair.
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Sublime and gorgeously swinging sounds are emanating from the luscious voice of Magos Herrera and her top notch "supporting" cast of bassist John Patitucci, drummer Antonio Sanchez and piano Chano Dominguez. The three stallions are reigned in, and the percolating energy keeps this whole thing simmering like a pot of boiling water, with Herrera's husky and earthy voice romantically floating over the post bop pulse of "Llegara El Dia" or sauntering through Patitucci's bass line on "La Madre De Todos Los Errores". Her breathy and mellifluous lyricism seduces the ears on "Comenzar" while she pleads over the dark piano tones on the undulating "All The Way To The End." The gents on their own have Sanchez brushing up the suave "Salon Jardin", and Dominguez melodic on "Independence Day" and everyone getting a chance to stretch out on "Romp". Like all great women, Herrera brings out the best in men; this one's a keeper!
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The Grammy and Latin Grammy Nominated composer John Finbury returns with 10 new pieces, where Tim Ray, Eugene Friesen, Roni Eytan, Claudio Ragazzi, Roberto Cassan, Vitor Goncalves and Peter Eldridge help flesh out the intimate tunes in a small ensemble setting.
Finbury uses no percussive instruments on American Nocturnes, as he births a very unique version of classical music where jazz and chamber ideas are never in short supply. With an all star cast on hand, including accordionist Roberto Cassan, who tragically passed away within a week of playing on these sessions, Finbury adds another relative and timeless chapter of inimitable song craft to his catalog.
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American Nocturnes-Final Days of July: John Finbury pulls an about face here from his recent Latin jazz outings to craft an instrumental date that lands nicely somewhere between new age and Aaron Copland. Bringing in some no nonsense hitters to fully realize his vision, this is a must for listeners looking for top shelf instrumental music with depth and power to give them something really meaty to gnaw on. First class all the way.
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Grammy-nominated composer John Finbury recently released his lastest composition "American Nocturnes - Final Days Of July." It features eleven tracks performed by a selection of hand-picked artists to best portray Finbury's latest vision. The album begins with the subtle, soft opening of "Lay Me Down," as you are slowly introduced to this latest music journey. The gracefulness of "Black Tea" and the emotion-fueled melody of "Fantasma" will have you hanging on every note. The beautifully elegant "Waltz For Patty" is the perfect node to classical music, before closing out this latest Finbury composition with "I'll Pray For You," which infuses a blues backdrop into the song, along with the feel-good melody of "My Hometown." John Finbury also makes appearance on this album with his solo piano rendition of "Waltz For Patty." To find out more about the newly released "American Nocturnes - Final Days Of July,"
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Intimate original chamber music John Finbury – AMERICAN NOCTURNES/FINAL DAYS OF JULY: In June of 2020, I reviewed producer/arranger John's wonderful "Quatro" album, which got near perfect marks… on this new album, John and his players give you some of the most intimate original chamber music you will ever listen to… here's a video clip for the album…
…since you're there already, I strongly recommend that you SUBSCRIBE to John Finbury's YouTube channel, so you can watch many more exciting performances.
The players on this new excursion are Tim Ray – piano; Eugene Friesen – cello; Roni Eytan – harmonica; and Roberto Cassan – accordion… Produced and arranged by John Finbury and Bob Patton… though the album is partially classified as New Age, John's music is always unique and different… the beautiful "Winter Waltz" even has some strong elements of jazz, and will be a favorite among DJ's, I believe.
The gentle guitar on "Black Tea" melds seamlessly in with the other instruments, giving you the gift of pleasant (yet stirring) memories… the relaxed pacing makes the tune a total winner.
I had no trouble (at all) in making my choice for personal favorite of the eleven enchanting songs offered up… the title track, "Final Days Of July", will touch your heart deeply with its' beautifully crafted tones!
I give John and his musical partners a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) score of 4.98 for this fine album. Get more information on the Green Flash Music page for the release. Rotcod Zzaj
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The American composer John Finbury writes his music thinking of whole America, Brazil and all South American countries. His music is interpreted by singer Magos Herrera on four of the seven songs, Chano Dominguez on piano, John Patitucci on double bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. The production is by Emilio D. Miller. The music was recorded in two sessions in New York in 2019, before the virus changed everything. As always, for his part, the music is fascinating and the songs are a continuous change of South American rhythms coming from the various traditions of the continent. Everything is perfect in production, there is very little to complain about, the record is a perfect meeting between producer, composer and musicians. Salón Jardínhe is in a trio, with the pianist taking the applause for how he manages to interpret a bolero rhythm in such a sensual way, but to underline it is also the solo of John Patitucci who transforms his bulky instrument into a kind of guitar.
The lyrics are singer in Spanish and English with the sensual and sometimes dramatic voice of
Magos Herrera , as on All The Way To The End . Great album, a very high level production in the genre.
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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