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Liam Ryan: Mississippi 2 Mauao (Torch)

Liam Ryan: Mississippi 2 Mauao (Torch)

On the release of excellent recent albums by Wellington pianists Kevin Clark and Charmaine Ford, and Auckland saxophonist Brian Smith I have noted what a rare year it is shaping up to be in New Zealand jazz. And here is further evidence -- but something very different to those mentioned. Ryan was once the songwriter/keyboardist in the...

Midge Marsden: Travel'n Time (Liberation)

Midge Marsden: Travel'n Time (Liberation)

The success of this Acoustic Series in Australia -- where the likes of Deisel sat down to play stripped back versions of their songs -- has been successfully adopted here with similarly conceived albums by Hello Sailor and Hammond Gamble, the latter reminding you just what a great singer, songwriter and guitarist he is. With any luck this...

The Calico Brothers: God Left Town EP (Ode)

The Calico Brothers: God Left Town EP (Ode)

As with the Traveling Wilburys these "brothers" (three, a cousin and a friend) all share the coincidence of the same surname, "Calico". And as with the Wilburys they also share a love of clearly rendered country-pop pushed by acoustic guitars, distinctive vocals and memorable melodies. This six-song EP (I leave it up to...

Billy TK Jnr: Presenting Billy TK Jnr (Ode)

Billy TK Jnr: Presenting Billy TK Jnr (Ode)

It's odd that this album should be called "Presenting" given that Auckland-based guitarist Billy TK Jnr has been taking his brand of tough Texas blues around the bars and clubs of New Zealand (and to Texas) for about two decades. Perhaps the reason he isn't a household name is that he has been known to take sabbaticals and go get...

Dave Murphy: Yes That's Me (Ode)

Dave Murphy: Yes That's Me (Ode)

Yes, and that's me with the quote on the back cover of this excellent collection by longstanding Wellington bluesman Dave Murphy.Here's what I say: "The blues is a music made by people who have struggled, have hard and true stories to tell and do so in a voice that is compelling. Dave Murphy, 35 years a journeyman on New Zealand's blues...

Hammond Gamble: Ninety Mile Days (Liberation)

Hammond Gamble: Ninety Mile Days (Liberation)

Two years ago when this Auckland singer-songwriter and very special guitarist released his Recollection album (acoustic treatments of Street Talk and solo songs) I noted that it served to remind what a great songwriter he was.He'd long been acknowledged as an expressive bluesy singer and guitarist, but it had been too easy to forget just how...

Sonny Day: The Collection (Ode)

Sonny Day: The Collection (Ode)

It's a shame that it took Sonny Day's death last year to prompt this compilation, as one of this country's great journeyman musicians his career spanned from the early days of rock'n'roll and then through the Beatles/Motown era when he effortless shifted his style, taking in country and soulful material, and in '85 covered Springsteen's little...

MIDGE MARSDEN INTERVIEWED (2014): Going to a well that never runs dry

MIDGE MARSDEN INTERVIEWED (2014): Going to a well that never runs dry

Midge Marsden has carved out a singular career in New Zealand music. He has won awards, toured this country and the USA, counted among his friends Stevie Ray Vaughan, studied in Mississippi and has passed the torch on through university tutoring and on bandstands. Marsden – who admits to being “sixty-several” –...

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