Janet Grice demonstrates that the bassoon – a low-pitched woodwind usually associated with classical music – can be a versatile jazz instrument. Boston Globe cited her first band, Tropical, “Best of Boston … Janet demonstrated the bassoon is equally adaptable to jazz or symphonic music.” Jazziz Magazine praised her debut recording, Song For Andy, “a gutsy, original idea … her classically grounded bassoon carries the session.” In Janet’s hands the exotic sound of the bassoon expresses her deep connection to the music of Brazil in songs by Tom Jobim, Moacir Santos, Pixinguinha and Hermeto Pascoal, as well as classics by Heitor Villa Lobos and Francisco Mignone. Frequent trips to Brazil and a life-long career researching popular music, choro and classical works of that country have made her an expert in the field.
With her background in contemporary classical music, improvisation, Brazilian styles and jazz education, she is an innovator and champion of new repertoire. Her bassoon can be heard on recordings by artists such as Lee Tomboulian, Itaiguara Brandão, Bernie Worell, STX Ensemble Xenakis, Eve Beglarian and John Lurie, and her 3 releases of Brazilian and original music. With her chamber group, Vento Trio, she produced 2 CDs of woodwind music of the Americas including works researched in Brazil, choro arrangements and her original composition Hudson Views.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Steven Maxym and Ran Blake, Janet honed her improvisational skills at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock. She went on to perform internationally with Karl Berger, Nana Vasconcelos, Don Cherry, Julius Hemphill, Leroy Jenkins, Anthony Davis and Butch Morris. In symphonic settings she worked with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Mingus Orchestra, the Londrina Symphony (Paraná), many freelance ensembles, and as a long-time member of the Chappaqua Orchestra. Her jazz groups performed for Jazz Forum Arts, 92nd St. Y, Lake George Jazz Festival, Flushing Town Hall, Celebrate Brooklyn, Boston JazzBoat, International Women in Jazz, the Grammy Foundation, Knitting Factory and SOB’s, and in South America and Europe. Vento Trio performed and premiered new works in France, Brazil and in the USA at Chamber Music America, International Double Reed Conferences in numerous recitals.
Janet earned a Doctorate from Rutgers University with a dissertation on Popular Styles in Brazilian music, and a Masters in Jazz Composition from New York University, where she studied with Jim McNeely. She received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright in Brazil, USArtists International, Meet The Composer, and the Surdna Foundation. Deeply committed to education, she teaches for the NYC Dept. of Education at Fordham High School for the Arts in the Bronx, leading the jazz band and instrumental music program. She is the bassoon professor at the Hoff Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, and taught 6 summers at the Festival de Música de Londrina in Brazil. As a clinician she presented at International Double Reed Society Conferences, UniRio and the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, and the Gabriel Fauré Conservatoire in France. Higher education teaching included courses in music history, ear training, bassoon, Brazilian music and Aesthetic Education at Rutgers University, St. Joseph’s College, Westchester Community College, and the Lincoln Center Institute.