I know I haven’t been active on here lately, but I can’t let NZ Music Month end without doing something, so here are 31 NZ Jazz Albums for your listening pleasure. In absolutely no order at all!
- Alan Broadbent: Moment’s Notice
Although Alan has been living and working in the US longer than he did in New Zealand, he’s still one of our great jazz pianists.
2. Broadhurst, Hopkins, Haines: Live at the London Bar
A great trio album from a long lost great jazz venue in Auckland featuring Phil Broadhurst (piano), Tony Hopkins (drums) and Kevin Haines (bass).
3. Dr Tree: Dr Tree
New Zealand’s answer to Weather Report in the 1970s…and just as funky.
4. Judy Bailey: Jazz Legend
Another long time expat jazz pianist who is one of our most famous jazz exports in Australia. A four CD set exploring some of her wide jazz interests (including supporting young jazz players).
5. Carolina Moon: Mother Tongue
One of our fascinating jazz singers who incorporates a wide range of historical European influences into her jazz.
6. La Petite Manouche: Legacy
South Island Manouche (French gypsy) jazz, with a distinctly kiwi twist.
7. Matt Penman: The Unquiet
New York based bassist Penman is one of the ones we could wish stayed in NZ, because he’s just so awesome and talented…
8. Mavis Rivers: The Complete Reprise Years
How could I not include one of our most famous jazz voices. The wonderful Mavis Rivers with some amazing US collaborators.
9. Nathan Haines: The Poet’s Embrace
No list of NZ jazz would be complete without Nathan Haines…
10. Roger Manins: Hip Flask
Auckland based saxophonist Roger Manins is one of the hardest working saxophonists out there, with a great funky sound.
11. Space Case: Retrospective
One of the underrated NZ jazz fusion groups of the early 1980s.
12. Nick Granville Group: Wishful Thinking
Wellington based guitarist Nick Granville with a great group of collaborators.
13. Mike Nock and Frank Gibson: Open Door
Fantastic duo album between expat pianist Mike Nock and Auckland jazz drum legend Frank Gibson Jr.
14. Kevin Field: Field of Vision
One of New Zealand’s finest jazz pianists in his capacity as bandleader.
15. Reuben Bradley: Cthulhu Rising
One of the most awesome NZ jazz albums in recent times. Drummer Reuben Bradley’s dark fantasy suite based on the legendary evil Cthulhu.
16. Ron Samsom and the Neutrino Funk Experience: Ace Tone
Jazz import Ron Samsom with some of Auckland’s finest jazz musicians in a hard driving, funky album.
17. Lex French Quartet with James Mueller: Prevent the Furture
Recently expatriated trumpeter Lex French (also of Wellington’s The Jac and Richter City Rebels), in his debut as leader.
18. Rodger Fox Big Band: Live at the 14th Montreaux International Jazz Festival
One of New Zealand’s nest known (and longest running) big bands.
19. Kim Paterson: The Duende
One of our hardest working (and in my opinion underrated) trumpeters with some awesome collaborators.
20. Mike Nock: Between or Beyond
Mike Nock again, with his ‘Fourth Way’ Rhythm section (a rerelease from 1970)
21. Jasmine Lovell-Smith: Yellow Red Blue
Recently repatriated Wellington based saxophonist Jasmine Lovell-Smith’s second album with her New York based Towering Poppies band.
22. Caitlin Smith: Stories to Tell (The Thorndon Project)
Singer Caitlin Smith is one of Auckland’s go-to vocalists with an eclectic approach to her differing projects.
23. Richter City Rebels: We Do It Like That
One of the top second line jazz groups in New Zealand. Their enthusiasm rivals American second line groups.
24. The Troubles: The Troubles
Incredibly fun Wellington based eclectic jazz and improv band.
25. Sal Valentine and the Baby Shakes: Sal Valentine and the Baby Shakes
Retro swing band trying to get New Zealanders swing dancing again.
26. Whirimako Black: Sings
Whirimako Black is one of New Zealand’s premier jazz singers who has worked on creating a Maori idiom in jazz, including this translation of jazz standards into Te Reo.
27. Murray McNabb: Song For the Dream Weaver
Legendary pianist and composer McNabb in one of his final albums.
28. Ben Wilcock and the Jelly Rolls: Sneaky Weasel
Old school small group jazz.
29. Phil Broadhurst Quartet: Panacea
The 2016 Jazz Tui award winner.
30. Neil Watson: Studies in Tubular
Jazz guitarist Neil Watson’s eclectic and fun second album.
31. Paul Lestre Group: A Nite At The Hi Diddle Griddle
I couldn’t leave this list without at least one historical album. This is from the early 1960s at Auckland venue the Hi Diddle Griddle at 507 (“food from heaven”) Karangahape (“Karangahappy”) Road.