ANDOVER (CBS) — John Finbury has been accompanying his wife, Patty, on the piano since they met in the 1970’s. In those early days, he was a drummer in a rock band and she was a singer. But eventually he turned to the piano and the two developed a love of Jazz, specifically Brazilian music called Bossa Nova.
“Everyone knows The Girl From Ipanema, of course that was originally in Brazilian,” he said.
He started composing on the living room piano with Patty listening in on that creative process.
“Sometimes I’ll be upstairs playing and he’ll be down here and I’ll [say], ‘There’s some pay dirt in that song,’” she said sitting next to John near the piano.
“If it passes the Patty test, I know I’m on the right track,” John said.
Patty gave a thumbs up to a song John wrote last year called “Sorte!,” which became the title track to the album nominated for the Best Latin Jazz Album Grammy.
“It’s against type because I’m not Latin,” he laughed.
But he didn’t get there alone. John wrote all the music, but he collaborated with Brazilian singer Thalma De Freitas, who wrote the Portuguese lyrics and sings on the album.
“Sorte means luck or serendipity,” John said. “I thought it was a good title track for the album and I feel lucky to have met Thalma.”
John’s day job is not what you’d expect from a Grammy-nominated musician. He’s a personal injury lawyer. In fact, he was in court finishing up a trial just days before leaving for Los Angeles.
This is his second Grammy nomination. He was also up for Song of the Year at the Latin Grammys back in 2016 for “Chama Verde.” Patty also has a writing credit on that nomination.
As much as John would love to take home a statue this time, he has another wish for Grammy night. “I want to get a picture with the group,” he said.
And by group, he means his fellow nominees, who include greats like Wynton Marsalis and Chelsea native Chick Corea.
John knows the competition will be tough, but he loves the album and he’s thrilled to be nominated and to be able to attend the ceremony.
“It’s a special, unique, odd experience you don’t really get in the Merrimack Valley,” he said.