Wellington Jazz Club Newsletter

Newsletter August 2016

President's Message

Next Gig Sunday 21 August: Black Spider Stomp

Gigs Schedule

NZ School of Music Combo Competition

Minute Secretary Wanted

Jazz DVDs and Audio Tapes

How to find Meow Cafe

Download Membership Application Form

Need a website?

President's Message

On Sunday 17 July the Club hosted the brilliant 15 piece RNZAF Jazz Orchestra led by the RNZAF Band’s Operations Manager Alistair Isdale, with its Director of Music Flight Lieutenant Simon Brew introducing the band and providing an interesting running commentary. The RNZAF Jazz Orchestra comprises several leading jazz musicians from the Wellington area, who, except for some guests, are also Territorial Members of the larger RNZAF Band. The line-up was Lex French, Ben Hunt, Mike Costello and Josh Crump on trumpets (with Lex also on vocals), Chris Fox and Michael Ashton (both guests) on tenor troms, Ben Robertson on bass trom, Oscar Lavën and Kim Hunter on altos and clarinet, Hayden Hockley and Steven Mier (guest) on tenors and clarinet, Nils Olsen on baritone sax, James Illingworth on piano, Alistair Isdale on bass, and Darren Mathiassen on drums. The sound operator was Mike Gibson.

The first set started with the classic ‘In the Mood’ made famous by Glenn Miller, followed by ‘Sing Sing Sing’ featuring Darren with a driving drum intro, Cole Porter’s ‘Begin the Beguine’, Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Stardust’ featuring Lex and Ben on trumpets, Woody Herman’s ‘Woodchopper’s Ball’, ‘Stella by Starlight’ arranged by Stan Kenton and featuring Nils on bass trom, Glenn Millers No 1 Hit ‘A String of Pearls’, ‘Corner Pocket’ and ‘Splanky’. After the interval, the second set started with a frenetic version of ‘Rockin’ in Rythm’, then Count Basie’s ‘Three in One’, Duke Ellington’s ‘Sophisticated Lady’ featuring Nils on baritone, ‘Peanut Brittle Brigade’, Sammy Nestico’s arrangement of ‘Basie Straight Ahead’, ‘Darn that Dream’ (featuring Lex on vocals), and another frenetic version of ‘Don’t Git Sassy’ (featuring James on piano). As an encore the band played an exciting version of ‘Cottontail’, featuring Ben on trumpet, Oscar on alto, Hayden on tenor, Nils on baritone and James on piano.

The ensemble playing was tight, driving and dynamic, the solos were brilliant, and the sound system was clear and well balanced. It was another top-class performance!

Support entertainment was provided by members of NZSM’s Young Musicians Programme (YMP) led by their tutor Dr Rodger Fox including Peter Mitchell and Henry Sherris on trumpets, Nicholas Baucke on alto, Tepuke Wairau-Hunter on tenor, Zachary Reyes on guitar, Patrick Shanahan on piano, Chris Beernink (tutor) on bass, and Sam Mackenzie on drums. The group’s repertoire included ‘Tenor Madness’, ‘Stella by Starlight’, ‘Perdida’ and ‘Billie’s Bounce’. It was great to see the YMP actively producing jazz at a good performance level. It was an excellent lead-in to the main event to follow.

Our next gig is on Sunday 21 August at Meow. We will host an excellent local gypsy jazz band called ‘Black Spider Stomp’, who regularly busk around Wellington with dynamic gypsy jazz in the style of Django Rheinhardt.

The band comprises three guitars who toss the lead and accompaniment flawlessly from one to the other, solo clarinet and trumpet, and an excellent driving upright bass. The performance on 21st August will be right up there with the best of gypsy jazz; not to be missed!

Support band entertainment will be provided by the Rongotai College Group led by their tutor Daryl Prowse. The last time they performed for us was in June 2014. The group’s ensemble playing then was solid and tight also with some very good improvising and it was great to see the young up-and-coming jazz musos performing with confidence, and they received a great reception. Come early and give the group good support.

The Jazz Club is an excellent venue for entertaining friends and celebrating special events and listening to great jazz played by top-class musicians. Those who are not yet members will be most welcome to join the Club in helping to keeping the jazz ball bouncing along.

See y’all on 21st August at Meow.

Mike Bain


Next Gig Sunday August 21. Black Spider Stomp. At Meow at 5.00pm

Black Spider Stomp is a Gypsy Jazz ensemble born in the heart of Wellington. The talents of these five virtuosic musicians are combined to create a wealth of highly polished original repertoire featuring blazingly swift swing, deep sultry ballads, old-world waltzes and foot-stomping shuffles. They also play vibrant re-imaginings of classic jazz by Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhardt and many others.

The Stomp are led by Oscar Lavën, an eclectic saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist based in Wellington. A frequently-appearing personality in the Wellington jazz scene, Lavën is a busy full time performer, composer and teacher with bachelor degrees in jazz and classical performance from the New Zealand School of Music. He has performed/recorded internationally and across the country with many ensembles including the Oscar Lavën Quartet, Lavën-French Quintet, his big band The Neo Hot Jive Orchestra, The Royal New Zealand Air Force Band, Orchestra Wellington, The Rodger Fox Big Band, New Zealand School of Music Big Band, National Youth Orchestra and Youth Jazz Orchestra, Black Spider Stomp, The Wellington City Shake ‘Em On Downers and many others.

The primary song writers though are the two lead guitarists, Sam Thurston and James Quick. Both display a deep understanding and reverence for the Gypsy Manouche culture and musical legacy. Having both co-written the majority of three CD album releases they are backed with rhythm guitarist Adrian Jensen (throwing in a tune of his own and providing formidable lilt) and double bassist Scott Maynard.

Constantly evolving and releasing new material, Black Spider Stomp are definitely one of the most exciting gypsy jazz entities to come out of New Zealand. Listen on YouTube

Support Band at 4:15pm. Rongotai College Band. The school band will present music from 60’s jazz/rock, swing to Film themes. Led by Daryl Prowse with sax, woodwind, brass and rhythm sections.


Wellington Jazz Club Gigs Schedule

Main band 5.00pm to 7.00pm. Often a support band from 4:00pm. Normally on the third Sunday of the month and normally at the Meow. But for artists and location of gig see Gigs Schedule

Sunday 18th September David Feehan. Dave will take you down a lane of contemporary jazz with a few standards thrown in for good measure, but featuring some of the more modern jazz/pop jazz/R&B artist like Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Joe Jackson, Patti Austin, Tower Of Power, and Earth Wind and Fire plus our Pat Metheny written tribute to David Bowie just for starters.

Sunday 16th October Wellington Jazz Club's Tribute to Colin Hemmingsen. Colin’s father encouraged him to play any musical instrument. He started lessons on the clarinet at the age of 14. In his first job out of school Colin was employed in NZBC programming. His boss was John Joyce. John will be at the tribute to explain how Colin went to the United States to study Jazz Saxophone but along the way studied the clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor & soprano sax, and bassoon. He plays these in both classical and jazz. Colin decided to investigate jazz when his school music teacher played the Leonard Bernstein record "What Is Jazz?” If you think you know what jazz is, listen on YouTube

Sunday 20th November Liberty Big Band. The Jazz Club last heard them in February 2013.


NZ School of Music Combo Competition

Victoria University Student Union Building, Room SU310 on Thursday 15 September 2016, starting at 5pm.

The Wellington Jazz Club is active in supporting live jazz and encouraging up-and-coming jazz musicians to gain performance experience in front of our enthusiastic jazz audiences. As a part of that programme, the Club has hosted, since 2007, an annual Combo Competition for NZ School of Music jazz students in memory of the late Ken Avery. As a result, the Club has developed a good liaison with the NZSM Jazz School and it has been great to see the jazz students playing excellent jazz and many ex-students of NZSM later coming back as professionals to perform at the Club.

In future, the Combo Competitions will be coordinated by the NZ School of Music and be held at the School at Victoria University, rather than at the Jazz Club. However, the Club will continue to sponsor prizes for the competition as part of its valued liaison with the. The 2016 competition will be re-named the ‘NZSM Combo Competition, supported by the Wellington Jazz Club’, and will be held at Victoria University Student Union Building Room SU310 on Thursday 15 September 2016, starting at 5pm. Entry is free.

As with previous years, the Jazz Club will sponsor the event by prize money totalling $1,000. The competing groups will perform two items each, up to total 15 minutes playing time, which will be previously vetted by the NZSM tutors to ensure suitability of repertoire and quality of standard.

In addition this year, as extra incentive, the Jazz Club will host the winning combo to a demonstration performance as support band at the Jazz Club’s gig on 20th November at Meow.

The Wellington Jazz Club has an active interest in the event and Club members are encouraged to attend and support it. Entry to the Competition will be free.

Please come and enjoy the best jazz that the NZSM can produce.


Donated DVD's with jazz themes available for sale at the next gig

Mervin Barrett brought 19 DVD's with jazz themes, kindly donated by the family of the late Mort Butler, for sale to members with the proceeds going to the Wellington Jazz Club. He suggested they be priced at $20 for a movie, $15 for a music DVD.

Movie titles @ $20 each:
Second Chorus
Sweet Smell of Success
Diane Schuur & The Count Basie Orchestra / Kenny Drew Trio Live at the Brewhouse
The Fabulous Dorseys

Music DVD's @ $15 each:
A Tribute to Charlie Parker: Birdland
Norman Granz' Jazz at Montreux presents Benny Carter '77
Norman Granz' Jazz at Montreux presents Eddie Lockjaw Davis '77
Norman Granz' Jazz at Montreux presents Tommy Flanagan Trio '77
Jazz Legends: Art Hodes Jazz Valley: Vol 2
Jazz Legends: Art Hodes Jazz Valley: Vol 3
Jazz Legends: The Small Black Groups

Bernard Weinstein will bring them along to the next gig, please approach him during the gig, href="mailto:bernardwe@paradise.net.nz"> email Bernard or phone him on (04) 476 0588.

Jazz Audio Tapes - Free to an appreciative home

The Club has been contacted by jazz fan Michael Wright, who has a large collection of jazz audio tapes including (he believes) tapes taken off the old ‘V’ discs issued for servicemen overseas during WW2 and never made for general release, which had been collected and passed on to him by the late Robert (Bob) Wood. Included in the collection are other jazz tapes, books on jazz and some jazz CDs. He is keen to see these go free to a good home and be preserved for future generations, rather than be destroyed. Direct contact may be made to Michael Wright (Phone) 04-905 8419, (Mobile) 021 0278 9987, (Email) , or 132c Pope St, Camborne, Porirua 5026.



Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the registration form. Adobe Acrobat Reader can be downloaded free directly from the Adobe website.

Download Acrobat Reader


How to find Meow Cafe

Meow is hidden away in the middle of the block between Manners, Willis and Victoria Streets.

It is a brick building which you can see 50 meters ahead of you along Edward Street from Victoria Street.

There is also a walkway through buildings from the corner of Manners and Victoria, and you can also walk under cover from Willis Street through the Food Court.

You could arrange to be dropped off at Meow but Edward Street is narrow and you cannot park there.

Parking is available free in the surrounding streets, especially Willis Street and Victoria Street (beyond the present roadworks).

There is plenty of parking in Wilson's multi-storey carpark (access off Willis Street) for $2 an hour (take a ticket and pay before exit).

After parking there you can take the lift to Ground and walk through the Food Court to Meow.

Food at Meow. In addition to snacks and toasted sandwiches ($8 to
$12) the Meow has a 3 course dinner menu with mains at $14.


Minute Secretary Wanted

The Wellington Jazz Club wants a Minute Secretary.


  • Attend monthly meetings in the evening on the Tuesday after a gig and enjoy a scrumptious supper and be home by 10pm; and
  • Email out minutes.

Please phone president Mike Bain on (04) 934 2271.


Need a website?

Members of the Wellington Jazz Club can get a professional looking website at a fraction of the cost. Marie, who built and maintains the Wellington Jazz Club website, has kindly offered all our club members a $50 discount and the chance to have their own website. Websites start at $200 plus hosting.

You can contact Marie on 022 4033674 or through her website and mention that you are a member of our club.








Copyright © Wellington Jazz Club. All Rights Reserved.