Happy International Jazz Day!

For this International Jazz Day I decided to make a list of some of my favourite New Zealand jazz recordings. These are in no particular order (except in which I found the recordings) and can be seen as a taster of the local jazz scene. You can also find my equivalent international list here.


1 Esme Stephens (vocals) with the Lynn Christie Trio- Lynn Christie bass (piano and drums unidentified): In the Cool, Cool, Cool, of the Evening


2 Mark Kahi guitar: Mark’s Boogie


3 Epi Shalfoon and his Melody Boys: He Purutai Tama E


4 Paul Lestre Group- Paul Lestre tenor saxophone; Lyall Laurent piano; Ray Gunter guitar Bob Ofsoski bass: Lullaby of Birdland


5 Neil Watson Four- Neil Watson guitar; Cam Allen tenor saxophone; Tom Dennison bass; Frank Gibson Jr drums: Rosie My Dear


6 Murray McNabb piano w. Neil Watson guitar and Frank Gibson Jr Drums: Last gig Wine Cellar


7 The Jac: The heist


8 Harry Himself: Zornithology


9 The Jelly Rolls: Honeysuckle Rose


10 Mavis Rivers w. Nancy Harre piano: I’m in the Mood for Love


11 Nathan Haines saxophone: Sound Travels


12 Norm Meehan piano w. Hannah Griffen vocals and Nick Tipping bass


13 Crombie Murdoch piano w. George Campbell bass and Frank Gibson Sr drums: Waltz for Debbie


14 Subject2Change: #3


15 Dog: Offering


16 Brian Smith Tenor saxophone w. Kevin Field piano; Pete Barwick trumpet; Kevin Haines bass; Frank Gibson Jr drums: CJC


17 The Troubles: Live


18 Martin Winiata Group (Winiata saxophone and clarinet): Blue Skies (Christchurch Jazz Society Concert July 1951)


19 Coral Cummins vocal w. Bob Bradford piano; Rod Derritt guitar; Gerald Gebbie bass; Jim Shanahan drums: September in the Rain (Christchurch Jazz Society Concert July 1951)


20 Wellington City Shake ‘Em On Downers: The Wellingtonian



  1. I know what I’ll be doing tonight! You are the second person this week to recommend Cool Cool of the Evening. The other person was Steve at Stebbing Studios. Great post. Caroline

    1. Yep- Esme Stephens is one of our best jazz vocalists. She was rather outshone by Mavis Rivers, but according to people who knew her, she didn’t mind that at all. Somewhere out in the universe (well, at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, New Jersey) is a recording of her singing with the Artie Shaw Band at the St James in 1943, which I’m reliably informed is amazing! Have fun listening!

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