Bunnett's recordings with Pullen and Redman brought her as much favourable critical attention internationally as has been enjoyed by any Canadian jazz musician of her generation. By virtue of her influences - primarily Eric Dolphy and Steve Lacy (she studied with the latter in Paris on a Canada Council grant) - she stood somewhat apart from the prevailing styles and trends of the day in contemporary jazz in Canada. Bunnett also played with the Toronto orchestras Banda Brava and Hemispheres, and in two groups with Jane Fair, the Ladies of Jazz, formed in 1986, and Music in Monk Time, formed in 1988.
Bunnett's approach broadened in the early 1990s, primarily as a result of her absorption of Cuban music during her visits to that country. Her 1992 album Spirits of Havana won a Juno award, and she and Cramer began a series of fruitful endeavours with Cuban musicians. They recorded several albums in Cuba, and performed in Canada with visiting Cuban ensembles, in a blend of western jazz and Cuban rhythms that became Bunnett's new trademark. With her band, now named Spirits of Havana, Bunnett toured Canada, Cuba, and Europe several times, playing at jazz and world music festivals. Although she took her ensemble to such cities as Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, and San Francisco, US legislation limiting relations with Cubans resulted in cancellations of several 1996 performances in the USA. As of 2003, Bunnett and her group were popular performers in Canada.
Bunnett (with her Spirits of Havana ensemble) was the recipient of a second Juno award, for Ritmo + Soul, in 2001; a National Jazz Award in 2001; and a Grammy nomination in 2003. She performed at the 2001 Genie Awards, for which the NFB film Spirits of Havana, on her collaborations with local Cuban musicians, had been nominated. She was active in providing instruments and instrument repairs to Cuban musicians and arranging performer exchanges, and was bestowed with the Toronto Arts award. Jazz Report and Downbeat magazines also recognized Bunnett.
Her compositions include The Wanderer, Limbo, Five, Ginastera, Make Someone Happy, Nice Work, Hole in One, and numerous other pieces, all recorded by her band, and music for the NFB documentary For Richer for Poorer (1988).
Author Betty Nygaard King
In Dew Time. Cramer trumpet, Redman tenor saxophone, Chancey French horn, Pullen or Dickinson piano, Alexander double-bass, Ranger drums. 1988. Dark Light DL-9001
New York Duets. Pullen piano. 1989. Music & Arts CD-629
Live at Sweet Basil. Cramer trumpet, Pullen piano, Overs double-bass, Hart drums. 1989. Denon CAN-9009 (CD)
Spirits of Havana. 1993. Messidor 15825-2
The Water is Wide. Cramer trumpet, Pullen piano, Hart drums, Overs bass. 1994. Denon CAN 9017
Rendez-vous Brazil/Cuba. 1995. Justin Time JUST 74-2
Jane Bunnett and the Cuban Piano Masters. Vitier, Flynn piano; Puerto double bass. 1996. World Pacific 7243 8 32695 2 5
Chamalongo. 1997. EMI 72438 23684 2 7
Habana Nocturna. Cramer trumpet, Durán piano, Occhipinti bass, Hernandez drums. 1999. Justin Time JUST 125-2
Ritmo + Soul. Cramer trumpet, Durán piano, Occhipinti bass, Prieto drums. 2000. EMI 72435 24456 2 2
Alma de Santiago. Cramer trumpet, Occhipinti bass, Santiago Jazz Saxophon Quartet, Los Jubilados de Santiago de Cuba. 2001. Connector Music 72435 34273 2 0
Spirituals and Dedications. Cramer trumpet, Cowell piano, Redman saxophone, Overs double bass, McLean drums. 2002. Justin Time JUST-169-2
Cuban Odyssey. 2002. EMI 72435 41992 2 6
Miller, Mark. 'Jane Bunnett finds her place on the Toronto scene,' CanComp, 230, May 1988
Vickery, Steve. 'Jane Bunnett: in dew time,' Coda, 226, Jun 1989
Hough, Robert. 'Playing around,' Toronto Life, Jun 1990
Miller, Mark. 'Beyond appearances,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 2 Mar 1991
Keast, James. 'Rendezvous: Jane Bunnett,' Coda, Jan 1996
King, Bill. 'A higher calling,' Jazz Report, summer 2001
Links to Other Sites
The World of Jane Bunnett
The website for Jane Bunnett, Canadian jazz soprano saxophonist, flutist and bandleader. Features a profile, video and audio segments,discography and more.
JWR International Directory of Fine Arts & Film
A global directory of prominent personalities and organizations involved with show business and the fine arts. Also offers film and stage reviews, interviews, and much more. Check the menu on the left side of the page to search for specific topics of interest. Part of the "James Wegg Review" website.
The Toronto Musicians' Association
The website for the Toronto Musicians' Association, an organization that represents professional musicians in all facets of music in the greater Toronto area. Click on "Multimedia" to access online music videos.