One of the finest soprano saxophonists in jazz, Jane Bunnett originally studied classical piano but tendonitis cut short that career. After seeing the Charles Mingus group in San Francisco, Bunnett was inspired to play advanced jazz. On soprano, she recalls Steve Lacy a bit (whom she studied with), while her flute playing is quite distinctive. Bunnett has always had major players on her records: in addition to her husband, trumpeter Larry Cramer, pianist Don Pullen had been a fixture on her records; her 1988 debut for Dark Light also featured Dewey Redman; and she utilized Sheila Jordan and Jeanne Lee. Her adventurous 1991 effort, Spirits of Havana, found her playing with many of Cuba's top jazz musicians. After moving to Paris in the mid-'90s, Bunnett continued to explore Afro-Cuban jazz, releasing several critically acclaimed discs for Blue Note, including Chamalongo, Ritmo & Soul, and Alma de Santiago.
In 2002, Bunnett took a brief sabbatical from Afro-Cuban music and released Spirituals & Dedications, highlighting her interest in both traditional gospel and modern compositions with spiritual themes by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Stanley Cowell, and Charles Mingus. The following year, she took home Juno and Grammy awards for her album Cuban Odyssey. She then collaborated with the Penderecki String Quartet for 2004's Red Dragonfly (aka Tombo) and joined the Afro-Cuban/Haitian ten-voice a cappella choir Grupo Vocal Desandann for 2006's Embracing Voices. In 2011, Bunnett paired with Cuban pianist Hilario Durán for Cuban Rhapsody. She then collaborated on two albums with the all-female Cuban jazz sextet Maqueque: 2014's Jane Bunnett & Maqueque and 2016's Oddara. ~ Scott Yanow