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Rick Finlay 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 200 pupils have studied privately with Rick and many of them are now professional performers and teachers in their own right.

Rick writes, 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.

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“Unusual to begin a review with the percussionist, but when Rick Finlay produced from his palette of instrumental colours, an African thumb piano (mbira), an Iraqi frame drum (doyra), an Egyptian tambourine (riq) and some basket shakers from Brazil (caxixi), to paint a scene of the noon-day heat in a Spanish city, he won my heart.” Oxford Times

“drummer Rick Finlay negotiates the dizzying time signatures with ease…” Metro

“drummer Rick Finlay effortlessly glides from klezmeresque mode to a penchant for post-bop”

Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


Alongside my professional performance career, I’ve been teaching drums & percussion for over 30 years and have taught hundreds of students in that time – many of them are now professionals in their own right. My students have played with bands like Van Morrison and The Style Council, they’ve played West End Musicals…they’ve done recordings, TV, radio, films… and they’ve toured the world. They’ve also become doctors and teachers, run their own businesses, and become great parents. They’ve been to music college in the UK and the USA

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