Thursday, September 24, 2015


The Groove FM online audio stream currently "Off-air"!

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Friday, May 08, 2015

Jack Body announced as A New Zealand Arts ICON.

Tonight I went to the book launch of 'Jack- Celebrating Jack Body, Composer' edited by Jennifer Sheehan, Gillian Whitehead and Scilla Askew, which was held Victoria University. Jack, unfortunately couldn't make the even, being in a hospice with terminal cancer. Brushing aside tears all the speakers talked of his insatiable energy and creativity, Publisher Roger Steele and Contributor Elizabeth Kerr mad...e a number of fitting tributes to Jack's spirit and effervescence.

The event also had one or two surprises. Sir Eion Edgar, patron, trustee and founder of the NZ Arts Foundation announced that Jack had been recently been presented with a Icon Award. There are only ever 20 presented, and only to living artists. Jack's specific medal was passed on from the late Ralph Hotere, with whom jack had collaborated on a series called 'Song Cycle'. Apparently Ralph had rubbed a substance into his medal to bring out the patina. Jack appreciated that. Other awardees include Peter Jackson, Janet Frame and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Jack is the first composer to be awarded the honour.

The audience were treated to 4 tribute works played by Victoria University of Music Piano teacher Jian Lu, and a sax duet by Dita Max called 'Ecstasy for Jack". Steve Garden announced two CDs of Jack's recent composition - "Passing By" (Rattle) and "Songs of Death and Desire"(Atoll). The night finished with some audio from Jack and his most famous work "The Street Where I Live" Performed by Jian and narrated by Jack (via a recording. Jack is a fitting tribute to a unique New Zealand - look out for the Book review on the Groove website very soon.

Sir Eion Edgar, Patron to the Icons, announced the award at the book launch of 'Jack! Celebrating Jack Body, Composer' this evening in Wellington. A formal celebration of Jack receiving the Icon Award will occur at Government House later this year, along with the announcement of two further Icon Award recipients.

Passing By is a double album set of chamber works by one of our most revered and cherished composers, the inimitable Jack Body. With new recordings from NZTrio and Stephen De Pledge, recent recordings from Kronos Quartet, Del Sol Quartet, Stroma New Music Ensemble, New Music Works Ensemble, David Radzynski, and Ensemble Nomad, Passing By is a testament to the career of one of New Zealand’s most inspired (and inspiring) artists.


Tuesday, May 05, 2015

NZ's best jazz album announced

This year's Best Jazz Album in New Zealand has been announced in Tauranga as part of the National Jazz Festival 2015.

Auckland band DOG has been crown the winner of the annual award for their self-titled debut album.
Dubbed a jazz super-group, DOG comprises four of New Zealand's most renowned jazz musicians, composers and educators: Kevin Field (piano), Roger Manins (saxophone), Olivier Holland (bass) and Ron Samsom (Drums). They are all music lecturers at the University of Auckland.
The self-titled album DOG has been described as a thrilling and vibrant recording, filled with innovative tracks and improvisation.
Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan said DOG's album was a reflection of New Zealand's world-class jazz scene. 
"A wealth of talent and experience went in to creating the album. DOG are masters of this difficult craft and I congratulate them on recording an exceptional album which is well deserving of a Tui."

DOG – dubbed a jazz super-group – comprises four of New Zealand’s most renowned jazz musicians, composers and educators: Kevin Field (piano), Roger Manins (saxophone) and Olivier Holland (bass) and Ron Samson (Drums) are all Music lecturers at the University of Auckland.
The group began playing together in 2014 and were greeted with enthusiastic support, prompting them to release their self-title Rattle Jazz debut album Dog.
The other finalists for the 2015 Jazz Tui were The Jac for Nerve and solo artist Jonathan Crayford for Dark Light, both from Wellington. 

What started as a rehearsal band for students and tutors at the New Zealand School of Music jazz school in Wellington eventually turned into the octet The Jac. The group developed from transcribing and performing charts by New York and San Francisco composers to writing and performing their own music.
The eight-piece’s recording Nerve is regarded as a sharp five-track album that bursts with colour and ideas, taking influence from the older members’ wealth of experience and coupling it with the students’ youthful enthusiasm.

Jonathan Crayford is a stalwart of the New Zealand Jazz scene having spent more than 20 years performing and honing his craft. His latest album Dark Light – a trio recording featuring New York-based Ben Street on bass and Dan Weiss on drums – was composed in London in 2013. It aims to explore the ‘subtle wonders’ and mystery between the dark and light.
Critics dub Street and Weiss two of the most remarkable and sought-after jazz musicians in the Big Apple with the New York Times naming Weiss ‘One of the five Most Promising Drummers of the New Generation’.

And Crayford himself comes with high acclaim, critics calling him ‘profound’, ‘luminous’ and simply ‘terrific’.  His work doesn’t stop at simply composing great jazz albums either; Crayford also has a cinematic opera project in the works – which he is writing and composing – called ‘El Diablo de Cadaqués’ or ‘The Devil Of Cadaqués’.

Recorded Music New Zealand chief executive Damian Vaughan says this year’s line-up of collaborative albums showcases the many talented jazz musicians in New Zealand.
“The result of having multiple-talented jazz musicians come together on an album is superb. The collaborations give each a unique, world-class sound that truly showcases the diversity and brilliance of the New Zealand jazz scene. Congratulations to all three finalists.”
National Jazz Festival president Darryl Haigh says jazz continues to grow in New Zealand and 2015 has a fantastic group of finalists.
“The Tauranga National Jazz Festival is one of the cradles of New Zealand Jazz. It is a privilege for the festival to be the home of the Best Jazz Album Tui. The 2015 finalists are a joy to listen to”
The festival is hosted over Easter weekend and is the longest running Jazz Festival in the southern hemisphere and one of the oldest in the world. It acts as a showcase of both local and international jazz talent.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

Recent previous winners of the Tui for Best Jazz Album
• 2011 - Reuben Bradley for Resonator
• 2012 - Rodger Fox's Wellington Jazz Orchestra for Journey Home
• 2013 - Nathan Haines for The Poet's Embrace
• 2014 - Nathan Haines for Vermillion Skies

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Jenny Wollerman, Michael Houstoun, and Rattle Records proudly announce the release of BETWEEN DARKNESS AND LIGHT

On Friday 1 May soprano Jenny Wollerman and concert pianist virtuoso Michael Houstoun release their new beautiful album Between Darkness and Light to a select audience at Victoria University.  Surrounded by friends, family, academics, Jenny’s students and loyal members of the Rattle Records family Jenny and Michael showcased one of the tunes from the new release, which was conceived as part of a concert for Wanaka’s Festival of light three years ago.  The project features compositions by some of the world's most beloved composers, including Gabriel Fauré, Samuel Barber, Richard Strauss, André Previn, and Claude Debussy.  The title comes from a quote by poet Rabindranath Tagore:   Between darkness and light is where the poet Rabindranath Tagore places “the silent meeting of soul with soul … where the infinite prints its kiss on the forehead of the finite.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On ANZAC Day and the 'ANZAC Spirit'

With the 100th year commemorations of WWI there comes an outpouring vicarious emotion and jingoistic fervour as both individuals and states alike clamour to align themselves with the myth of righteous sacrifice. There are two phrases that will be repeated endlessly in this part of the Pacific: “Gallipoli: The birth of a Nation” and the “The coming of age”. Both really grate with me. I’ve just been in Australia and witnessed first-hand the exploitation of BRANZAC: clothing, ornaments and trinkets, maps, books and TV docs that all point to the honour and sacrifice made by the ANZACs, a cashing in on the “spirit of the ANZACs. That spirit – “honour, sacrifice, mate-ship” is the unashamed currency both the New Zealand and Australian Prime Minsters recently chose to spend in when justifying their decisions and support for troops to return to the same part of the world where all this started: The Middle East. Granted, Iraq is slightly south on the map but the underlying, unspoken rationale for sending the troops is the a same. Commerce - The same driver as gross commercialisation of the ANZACs, and the same driver that brought any of us to Aotearoa in the first place. Cry all you want but I am pessimistic...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

WOMAD 2015 - a few thoughts

It’s always to cover a festival like WOMAD.  There’s so much to cram into three days.  But what I can give you are my own personal highlights.  Friday afternoon began with a search for a campsite.  When they say the world comes to Taranaki – they literally mean that!  There were 5,000 pitching on the nearby racecourse this year. 

Estere - Photo Tim Gruar
Ticket sales were fantastic, too – selling out all the three day passes.  Early estimates suggest 12,000 attended over the weekend.  And with three days of near perfect festival weather spirits were high.  I found forgetting the can opener was the perfect icebreaker to meeting my neighbours – four women in their 60’s with a retro caravan – which, ironically was kitted out with everything except that specific kitchen tool!  Behind me was a family of four and two over a group of 20-Somethings.  A perfect slice of this all ages festival audience.  Friday night kicked off with a drum display by Taikoz (who later led ran the kid’s parade), followed by a slightly nervous Estere, who with her MPC Lola, got the crowd moving with her edgy brand of ‘electric blue witch-hop’. 

A VW Tent at the campsite - Photo Mckenzie

Friday, March 20, 2015

Improve your PC AND keep Groove on-air at the same time!

Support Groove FM and get your computer running better by grabbing yourself a copy of our PC Cleanup application.
For 3 years I've been working on how to get people's PC's running faster and more reliably without them having to spend virtually any time setting up settings or reading instructions.
Make a donation of only NZ$25.00 to Groove FM and we'll send you a copy as a thank you :)
(Approx US$19.00 as at Mar 2015).
  • Speeds up boot up time (up to 63% or more), general performance speed and resolves many issues (Mouse freezing, applications crashing etc)
  • Easy to use
  • Like having a technician available at your place whenever you need for the next 5 years! (5yr licence)
Hop over to our Software page here to find out all the details.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

On Yer Bike CoffeeBar Kid

The Kid goes adventuring with the Wellington Regional Council.  Listen below.