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About Rick Finlay

A full-time professional drummer, percussionist and teacher since 1983, Rick’s performance credits include Just East, Liane Carroll, Si Cranstoun, Des O'Connor, Jacqui Dankworth, Sinéad O’Connor and Mari Wilson.

He secured his first West End show chair at the age of 24, and his subsequent career as West End theatre drummer has included a 22-year run at Blood Brothers as well as Little Shop of Horrors, Chess, Time, and has seen him accompanying stars like Mel C, Natasha Hamilton, Marti Pellow, Cliff Richard, Stephanie Lawrence, David Cassidy and David Soul.

His love of jazz has led to performances with many of the finest UK Jazz soloists including Ian Shaw, Martin Speake, Derek Nash, Gilad Atzmon, Tina May, Ed Jones, Jim Mullen, Julian Stringle, Jonathan Gee, Roger Beaujolais and many others.
Television includes: Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Parkinson, The Jethro Junction, The Late Show.

An innovative and enthusiastic teacher, Rick has directed workshops in Jazz and Latin-American percussion, as well as the business of music. He has taught at many schools and colleges including Trinity College of Music, Middlesex University, Mill Hill School, Belmont School (Mill Hill juniors), and QE Boys Barnet. Over 300 pupils have studied privately with Rick and many of them are now professional performers and teachers in their own right.

Rick writes for, plays in and manages jazz/world quartet Just East and their record label Just East of Jazz. Lately he’s been touring with The Toots Project, a tribute to jazz harmonica pioneer Toots Thielemans.

Rick is a proud and committed Trade Unionist and has been an active member of the Musicians’ Union for 30 years. He is currently a vice-chair of their Executive Committee.

Musical instruments & styles


Copyist, Latin American Percussion, Percussion, Hand percussion, Ethnic Percussion, Drums, Conga Drums, Timbales


Big Band, Blues, Country, Jazz, Klezmer, Latin, Middle of the road, Rock/Pop original, Soul, Swing, Theatrical, World, Rockabilly, Music writer, Rock'n'Roll, Rock, Pop, Samba, Improvised

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