Jane Fair

Jane Fair. Saxophonist, composer, teacher, b Guelph, Ont, 24 July 1948; BA (McGill) 1970. One of the first Canadian women to play jazz, Fair worked in dance bands in Barrie, Ont, before moving to Montreal in 1966 to study French literature at McGill University.

Fair, Jane

Jane Fair. Saxophonist, composer, teacher, b Guelph, Ont, 24 July 1948; BA (McGill) 1970. One of the first Canadian women to play jazz, Fair worked in dance bands in Barrie, Ont, before moving to Montreal in 1966 to study French literature at McGill University. She began playing jazz publicly in 1971 with Richard Robinson at Jazz et Café in Val-David, Que, and subsequently worked in Montreal with modern jazz groups led by Andrew Homzy, Peter Leitch, Guy Nadon, Claude Ranger and others.

In 1976 she moved to Toronto, where she has played with both traditional ensembles (eg, with Jim Galloway's Wee Big Band, the Swing Sisters, and Paul Grosney's Kansas City Local) and contemporary groups. The tenor and soprano saxophones have been Fair's primary instruments; her idiomatic versatility and her melodic strength as a soloist are greatly admired.

Fair has appeared in the USA at women's jazz events, including the Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival in 1980, and has led bands at George's Spaghetti House and other Toronto clubs. With the flutist and soprano saxophonist Jane Bunnett (a former Fair pupil), the pianist Jill Hoople, and others, she led the Ladies of Jazz 1986-9; with Bunnett and others she established Music in Monk Time, a band devoted to the compositions of Thelonious Monk, in 1988.

Her own compositions include incidental music for the films Passages (NFB 1978) and Taking Care (1987) as well as several jazz themes. She has taught saxophone privately, specializing in adult beginners. Fair is married to the jazz pianist and teacher Frank Falco.


Further Reading

  • Waxman, Ken. 'Jazz player lears art of songwriting by learning to play the old standards,' CanComp, Mar 1982

    Hill, Hal. 'Jane Fair: saxophonist supreme,' The Jazz Report, vol 1, Oct-Nov 1987

    Boogie, Pete & the Senator