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Anywhere But Here

Recorded in Winnipeg, Canada. Released November 2011


Janice Finlay - Saxophones, Flute, Compositions and Arrangements

Don Thompson - Piano, Vibraphone, Arranging 

Ron Halldorson -  Guitar

Jodi Proznick - Bass

Quincy Davis - Drums

Erin Propp - Vocals (tracks 7 & 9)

Engineering and Mixing: Larry Roy, Musirex Productions

Mastering: Resosound Productions


Anywhere But Here


1. The Houston Shuffle                Janice Finlay

2. Anywhere But Here                 Janice Finlay

3. Bye Bye Blackbird                   M. Dixon & R. Henderson; Arr. Janice Finlay

4. When I Go Away                      Janice Finlay; Arranging Assistance: Don Thompson

5. The Pillaging Pug                    Janice Finlay; Arranging Assistance Jordan McIntyre

6. Good Neighbours (Make Great Fences)     Janice Finlay

7. Remember Me                        Janice Finlay; Arranging Assitance Don Thompson

8. Song for Selim                        Janice Finlay

9. A Harbinger of Swing to Come (Movements I & II)   Janice Finlay

The title track, Anywhere But Here, was written on a January day in Winnipeg (Canada), which sometimes goes by the nickname Winterpeg because its mid-continental location means that the city's winters are usually cold...really, really cold. On this particular day, the windchill was -50 C. No, that is not a typo! The piece is a samba that made me think (longingly) of warmer southern locales!

The Houston Shuffle is the most popular track on this CD and has sold all over the world from Russia to New Zealand and Japan! I wrote this the day after hearing a inspiring concert performance featuring saxophonist Houston Pearson. His fearless and fearsome renditions of several jazz standards somehow gave me permission to write a tune that was straight-ahead, uncomplicated and hard swingin' ! I definitely hear it as a Blakey style "two-fisted shuffle".

I really love this arrangement I created for the classic jazz composition Bye Bye Blackbird. Hope you enjoy it!

When I Go Away is one of the few compositions I created while studying at McGill University that has seen the light of day. While I completed my degree, I was of necessity required to live in another city, away from my family as well as my romantic partner at that time. Leaving after a visit was always pretty tough and this piece is a bittersweet commentary on that heart ache. It is also worth noting that Don Thompson worked his arranging magic on this piece to lift it to the next level. 

The Pillaging Pug was written in honour of my beloved, tomato-addicted pug named Satchmo, from whom no tomato (or dandelion flower, or raspberry) was safe. Most people fence in their gardens to protect them from wild creatures, not a sneaky pug. Here is a picture of him in full stealth mode:

Special thanks to my great buddy and awesome drummer Jordy McIntyre for his artistic suggestions that really improved the arrangement of this piece.

I really have no explanation for the title of Good Neighbours (Make Great Fences). I think I just thought the pun was amusing. At any rate, this is an upbeat bop-infused original composition of mine. 

Remember Me was written following a visit with a beloved aunt who was suffering dementia. It is one of the few pieces I have created that includes lyrics. This piece simply poured out of me, words and all, and still has the capacity to bring me to tears. Erin Propp's rendition truly captures the subject matter and Don Thompson's glorious piano playing really brings the piece to life. 

Far back in my family history is a male relative, named Selim Joseph. He was Jewish who married a non-Jewish woman and continued to practice his faith throughout his entire life. The decidedly Jewish melodic and harmonic flavour of this piece influenced my decision to dedicate it to him.

A Harbinger of Swing to Come - Movements I & II is a quintet version of the big band piece I was commissioned to write for the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra. At the time I was intrigued by Blue Ronda a la Turk (Brubeck/Desmond) and if you are familiar with that piece you may hear its influence in this one. It was fun adding overdubs on all the members of the saxophone family from soprano to baritone saxophone. 

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