John Finley

john finley

saturday, september 14 @ 8:10 pm

Vocalist John Finley, has a career spanning 6 decades as a hit songwriter and a dynamic performer of r&b, jazz, blues, gospel and popular music in Los Angeles and his native Toronto. This summer he’ll release an album  entitled “John Finley, Soul Singer”, produced by Lou Pomanti, highlighting his roots expressed in the genres John so joyfully reveres.

“Let Me Serenade You”, John Finley sings and writes. His extraordinary soulful style has been a testament to his musical life and career.

At age 17, he worked his first professional engagements, performing the music of his favorite blues and R&B artists while discovering the music of jazz & gospel greats such as Monk, Davis, Coltrane, Mahalia, the Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Staples Singers.

By age 20, John had become a potent soul singer in Toronto’s Jon & Lee & the Checkmates, pouring out his searing personal pains and joys with gospel fervor. His performances caught the eye of hit producer, Paul Rothchild, who recruited John for an idea that would become ELEKTRA’s hit recording group, Rhinoceros. Working with other emerging young artists encouraged John’s innate songwriting talent and afforded him the opportunity to meet and work with many accomplished gospel, soul, rock and blues acts.

In the 70’s, John settled in Los Angeles where he penned songs for Three Dog Night, Ben Vereen, Ivan Neville and Melissa Manchester and many others and performed as a studio vocalist on projects with Andre Fischer (Rufus, Natalie Cole), Michael MacDonald, Donna Summers, Joe Sample (the Crusaders) and many others.

John has also now spent over 35 years performing within the Southern California gospel music community with Alexander Hamilton & the Voices of Inspiration and in concert settings with greats such as the Rev. James Cleveland, Andre Crouch, Daniabelle and Walter & Edwin Hawkins as well as the L.A. Mass Choir. He’s been a featured soloist on recordings with the Voices of Inspiration and the Gospel Music Workshop of America Mass Choir.

During the 90’s, John’s interest returned to another of his earliest roots: Jazz. With associate Danny Ironstone, John embarked on the SOULBOP project. This concept began with reinventing historic classics such as “Blue Skies” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” in addition to original pieces in musical partnership world renowned personnel such as Phil Upchurch.

After the millennium, John returned with increased frequency to his native Toronto, reconnecting with the revived Checkmates, a reunion of Rhinoceros and many greats of the Toronto Sound who’d been a part of his musical life in Canada. He’s performed at major venues such as Massey Hall & the Kitchener Blues Festival, on Canada’s premier jazz station, JAZZFM91, at LUMINATO and was featured in Bravo Canada’s 60’s music documentary, “Yonge Street (Rock & Roll Stories)”.

Over the past 5 years, Jaymz Bee of JAZZFM91 has become a central figure in John’s reborn Canadian career. Jaymz along with partner Lorenzo DiGianfelice, with their newly formed Vesuvius Music have taken John into the studio with award winning producer, Lou Pomanti to record “John Finley, Soul Singer”.

And now, the show goes on!.