Michael Barry Finnerty (born December 3, 1951) is an American jazz guitarist, keyboardist, singer/songwriter and music arranger, best known for his work as a session musician for artists such as Miles Davis and the The Crusaders. Finnerty is also the author of two books on music improvisation.
He spent some time living in Hong Kong with his mother in the early 1960s. There, at the age of 14, he began playing electric guitar and soon joined a band that opened a show for Herman's Hermits. On returning to San Francisco, he became friends with fellow guitarist Jim Checkley, who eventually recruited him to join Beefy Red in 1969. He played in the band for several years.
Finnerty in New York City
He moved to New York City after attending Berklee College of Music for a short time in 1971. In 1974 he began playing with Chico Hamilton, Airto Moreira, and Flora Purim. In 1975 Finnerty became a member of the Joe Farrell quartet, and later in the decade played with Hubert Laws, Tower of Power, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, and Ray Barretto.
Finnerty played and recorded with Michael Brecker and Randy Brecker (1977–81) and The Crusaders (1979–84), in addition to touring in Europe with Billy Cobham in 1980. He played and recorded with Miles Davis in 1981, being featured on much of Davis's 1981 album The Man with the Horn, and is mentioned in the Davis autobiography.
In recent years Finnerty has worked both as a session player and leading his own band, working on a number of solo projects.
Discography as leader
- New York City (1982)
- 2B Named Later (Cheetah Records, 1988)
- Straight Ahead (Arabesque Records, 1994)
- Space Age Blues (Hot Wire Records, 1998)
- Trazz! (Birdland Records, 2003)
- Manhattan Sessions vol.1 (ESC, 2010)
- Blues For Trane (Cheetah Records, 2010)
- Nothing's Gonna Be All Right (Birdland Records, 2014)