Content Type

This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Jane Fair


JANE FAIR (saxophonist, composer, educator) was born on July 24, 1949 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. She has been deeply involved with jazz as a performer, composer, and teacher throughout most of her lifetime, and is reputed to be one of the first Canadian women to play jazz professionally. Former pupil, the now iconic flutist/saxophonist Jane Bunnett called her a ‘trailblazer and a true original in Canadian modern jazz history’ saying, “She was my inspiration, teacher, and is one of my musical heroes.”

Fair was first seen regularly in public performance in Quebec in 1971, where she had relocated a few years earlier to study French Literature at McGill University. She worked in bands led by many of the biggest names on the Montreal live jazz scene, including Andrew Hornzy, Peter Leitch, Guy Nadon, and Claude Ranger, until moving to Toronto in 1976, where she began playing with Jim Galloway's Wee Big Band, Paul Grosney's Kansas City Local, Memo Acevedo’s Banda Brava, and Rosemary Galloway's Swing Sisters.

Critically acclaimed for her "idiomatic versatility and melodic strength as a soloist", Fair has led her own bands performing at all of Toronto's leading jazz clubs and at festivals all over North America for many years. With Jane Bunnett and pianist Jill Hoople, she formed the Ladies of Jazz, who were an important group all through the latter half of the '80s, the same period during which Fair, Bunnett, and others established Music in Monk Time, a band devoted to the compositions of Thelonious Monk.

Continuing her own studies, she obtained a Master's Degree in Music Education at the University of Toronto in 2001. She is a member of the faculty in Humber College's Music Department teaching Ensemble Performance and Jazz Ear Training for both the Introductory and Diploma programs there. Jane Fair currently co-leads a jazz quintet with bassist Rosemary Galloway.


2003 – Awarded the Lil Hardin Armstrong Jazz Heritage Award from the Women’s Caucus of the International Association for Jazz Education as “a pioneering female jazz musician” for her “artistic excellence and outstanding contributions to jazz and to the history of women in jazz”.

2007 – Made two of CODA Magazines top ten lists, with both John Norris and Steve Vickery including her Chances Are CD among their favourites for that year.