Jane Bunnett has become one of the foremost jazz musicians in Canada, and has gained recognition around the world for her improvising talents, technical proficiency, and writing and band leading abilities. Born and educated in Toronto, she trained as a classical pianist from 1975-78 (attaining Grade 10 Piano Honors), until tendentious forced a switch to woodwinds at the Royal Conservatory. In 1979 she began concurrent studies in jazz at York University, Toronto, inspired by her first exposure to jazz great Charles Mingus and Rahsaan Roland Kirk in San Francisco. This led to studies with pianist Barry Harris, flautists James Newton, Frank Wess and James Moody; then, having heard soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy’s music, she began to focus on that instrument also. A 1991 Canada Council grant enabled her to travel to Paris to begin studies with Lacy.
Her first recording was an ambitious mix of Canadian and American players (the late pianist Don Pullen, tenor player and Ornette Coleman veteran Dewey Redman and Vincent Chancy, French horn) . This debut, In Dew Time, earned a Juno nomination in 1988. She toured Canada with Redman in 1991, and Australia with Pullen in 1992. A year later, Jane recorded New York Duets with Pullen, following it up with Live at Sweet Basil, then 1994's The Water is Wide which was chosen by The Village Voice as best record of the year.