Thursday, June 22, 2017

If you have children, then check out Toi Toi

Charlotte Gibbs is the editor of Toitoi, a quarterly journal publishing the stories, poetry and illustrations of artists from 5 to 13 years old. So far, 700 works have been published in eight issues. Charlotte Gibbs says it's all about celebrating the ideas, imaginations and creative spirit of young people.

Toitoi celebrates the ideas, imaginations and creative spirit of our young writers and artists. We believe that their work has purpose and deserves a wide audience.

They publish material with an original and authentic voice that other young people can connect to and be inspired by and that reflects the cultures and experiences of life in New Zealand.   Their  philosophy is to treat young writers and artists with respect, handle their work with care and produce a beautifully designed journal of high quality that reflects how much we value and admire them.

Essentially, everything except the editing is provided by the kids.

You can find out more by linking to:

Groove for Kids - The New Book by Jacqueline Wilson - Wave Me Goodbye (Penguin)

Award-winning, bestselling and beloved Jacqueline Wilson tells the fascinating, moving story of a girl sent away from home as an evacuee during the Second World War.

September, 1939. As the Second World War begins, ten-year-old Shirley is sent away on a train with her schoolmates. She doesn’t know where she’s going, or what’s going to happen to her when she gets there. All she has been told is that she’s going on ‘a little holiday’.
Shirley is billeted in the country, with two boys from East End London, Kevin and Archie – and their experiences living in the strange, half-empty Red House, with the mysterious and reclusive Mrs Waverley, will change their lives for ever.

Award-winning, bestselling and beloved author Jacqueline Wilson turns to this period of history for the first time, in this beautiful, moving story of friendship and bravery against the backdrop of the worst conflict the world has ever known.

Read an interview with the author:

Published by Penguin:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Groove Book Report: Fighting Hislam - Women, Faith and Sexism - Susan Carland

The Muslim community that is portrayed to the West is a misogynist's playground; within the Muslim community, feminism is often regarded with sneering hostility.

Yet between those two views there is a group of Muslim women many do not believe exists: a diverse bunch who fight sexism from within, as committed to the fight as they are to their faith. Hemmed in by Islamophobia and sexism, they fight against sexism with their minds, words and bodies. Often, their biggest weapon is their religion.

Here, Carland talks with Muslim women about how they are making a stand for their sex, while holding fast to their faith.  At a time when the media trumpets scandalous revelations about life for women from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, Muslim women are always spoken about and over, never with. In Fighting Hislam, that ends.

I have to say, up front, that I really struggled with the timing of this book.  Not so much the actual release date but the climate to which it has been released into.  My nightstand is groaning with books at the present, so I took me a little while to come around to this one.  In the meantime a bomb had just gone off in Manchester at a major concert and there were multiple attacks of civilians in London and in France involving cars, trucks and all manner of weapons.  On our TV's the new cop show Hyde/Seek had just started.  Its plot line predominantly dealt with terrorism.

Dial up Netflix or and other cable provider and Homeland or Designated Survivor is top billing on the watch list.  Fear of Islamic extremism is behind every story.  Add to that regular column inches, internet and radio feeds coming at us 24/7 and it's no wonder we Westerners are feeling overwhelmed.  We want peace.  We want this, this, this Islam/Muslim thing, this threat, these 'attacks' to just all go away.  But we can't escape, no matter what we do.  When it gets so deep that even our fiction is infiltrated we cannot look objectively any more.

Add to the mix the Kiwi/Aussie experiences of Afghanistan.  Both nations have troops over there 'helping' to restore peace and justice to that part of the world and fighting the Taliban model of sexism and oppression, particularly again women. And it is this mode; that colors the brush that we dip into the tar.  So this is why  we of the Westernized Pacific think that all Muslim women are equally oppressed.  That Muslim men are sexist pigs and do not respect their wives, sisters and mothers as they should. It's just so easy to write off the Muslim community as a misogynist’s playground.  Yet within the Muslim community and outside where it is also perceived as such, feminism for Muslim women is often regarded with sneering hostility.

This may be true in the extreme cases, argues author Susan Carland, who actually converted to Islam, as opposed to being born to it, and feels she is in the best position to offer a more balanced view on the subject.  The role of women in Islam is most definitely a hotly debated topic, she acknowledges, both among Muslims and non-Muslims alike. But a Muslim women’s perspectives is rare, often excluded from mainstream discussion for a variety of reasons.  Some of these are because we, as Westerners chose to ignore or look past these voices.  Sometimes it is convenient to look at them as victims of a medieval (emphasis on Evil) system,.  one where these women must be rescued.  Modern feminism has always come from the point of view of the oppressed and the downtrodden, the restricted and the unspoken, so it's makes sense that we should identify Muslim women as slaves to the Hijab.

But we, in the West are, in fact, simply laying our own moral, ideological and political blankets over a culture and religion that we do not really understand, argues Carland.  OK, her book is not the first to raise this.   Beyond Veiled Clichés by journalist Amal Awad also dug deep to explore life from the perspective Muslim women living in both in the Western and Arabic world. As an academic, Carland chooses to go even further offering a new twist on feminism whereby religious beliefs and laws can co-exist in harmony with women’s rights.

he Muslim community that is portrayed to the West is a misogynist’s playground; within the Muslim community, feminism is often regarded with sneering hostility. Yet between those two views there is a group of Muslim women many do not believe exists: a diverse bunch who fight sexism from within, as committed to the fight as they are to their faith. Hemmed in by Islamophobia and sexism, they fight against sexism with their minds, words and bodies. Often, their biggest weapon is their religion. At a time when the media trumpets scandalous revelations about life for women from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, Muslim women are always spoken about and over, never with. In Fighting Hislam, that ends.

People don’t realise the influence culture has on faith, she argues, through examples and through the voices of some of her own interviewees.  Sh notes that within Australia, where this book is set, the Muslim community is incredibly diverse. "It’s so multicultural and yet we’re all clumped together [but] if you look at the countries of origin,"she argues they often practice Islam in very different ways."  Somali Islam she notes, is practiced in a very different way and understood in a different way to practices in Indonesia, Afghani Islam or in Saudi.  Effectively, she's saying, that to us, Westerners, the impression is that Islam is a monolith.  Which is not the case.

One of the main intentions of this book was to change opinions.  Or at least to open the discussion.  Now that's extremely hard, given our current political climate.  As I outlined above, we Westerners almost revel in the painted doom that's been painted and into that paint pot we include the oppression of women who must endure within those confines.  We don't ask the questions the Carland has, we don't even look up to notice.  We are scared.  And even if we did, could we?  We white and middle class would be hypercritical and far too patronizing.  We would judge with our west-feminist eyes and our post-colonial spyglasses.  We wouldn't listen but we'd interpret.

Nothing much has changed, argues Susan Carland. Carland is a lecturer and researcher at Monash University's National Centre for Australian Studies. She has been listed as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, and as a 'Muslim Leader of Tomorrow' by the UN Alliance of Civilizations. She was a co-creator and presenter of the ground-breaking television show, Salam Cafe and is an ambassador for Possible Dreams International. She is a good spokesperson for this debate, indeed.  She knows the territory and ii anything, it’s harder for Muslims living in the west today than it once was. And that goes for the conversation about gender equality and Islam.  No, we really haven't moved on from 9/11, And Our views of Muslim women are even more archaic.  She highlight the Victorian fantasies of Harems, kept as sex slaves by Turkish Sultans.  Women who veiled their faces to create an 'allure' but were never chaste and pure like Western Women.  They were women to be rescued from debauchery and abuse.  The 'allure' has faded but the need to be 'saved' seems to remain, Carland says.  She wanted to get an 'in my shoes' perspective so when interviewing Muslim women, as a Muslim woman, she asked the "Why do you wear hijab?" "Do you feel oppressed?" "Does your husband make you wear that?" "Why does your religion command FGM?”

“The stereotype of Muslim women is that they’re meek and submissive. So they’re seen as a weaker target.  It’s Muslim women and kids in Muslim school uniforms who are more likely to be targeted with Islamophobia. Her findings are both surprising and acceptable.  There are some women in her interviews that talk abut the benefits of sisterhood.  This is true of many African variants.  Women work and cook together and spend many hours in the exclusive company of other women.  In doing so they have company, friendships, strength.  They learn skills, make bonds and are in no way as vulnerable as they may be living as individuals in society 'equal' to men.  It's hard to know if sexism and particularly abuse is higher in Muslim society, as compared to Western or even indigenous communities.  it is high in Maori and Pacific societies, especially when women are separated from the other women in their whanau and community due to Urbanization.  Anthropologically, this could be said to be true for nearly any society.  By the same token, women who remain close knit due to the confines of Muslim laws and practices are really no different to Western Women who through a need for friendship form book clubs or Women's Societies or Plunket support networks or any other.

And the Ha jib,  Carland argues, is both a perceived tool of oppression and a veil protecting independence.  To some of her interviewees it protected them from the scrutiny of other men.  The opposite of the leers young women endure when wearing skimpy clothes, for example.  Yet, whilst wearing the Hijab in a Western place like a shopping mall or a park, they are the opposite of anonymous.  They stand out, not as an admired individual, as a women dressed in punk gear or quirky, colorful clothing, or even dressed as a clown.  No they stand out as a women enslaved to our perceptions.

These are but two pints Carland makes in her book.  She has many more.  Her tone is sometimes critical of the Western view.  She holds no truck for our terrorist views or our obsessions with their consequences.  She is not the enemy, she thinks.  She's also honest about the fact she didn’t write this book to win fans.  Interestingly, even though she wants to speak out and reveal the soul of her interviewees - some in America, some in Australia and some elsewhere - she, herself is furiously private.  She's also personally uncomfortable with the media spotlight her husband, television host Waleed Aly’s fame has brought upon her and her family. Ally is Australian writer, academic, lawyer, media presenter and musician. But more importantly, he's a co-host of Network Ten's news and current affairs comedy twist program The Project. which has a high profile in Australia.

None the less, Carland is driven by obligation, as a teacher first.  Her ambition is to educate as many people as she can and to enrich the public conversation about women and Islam.  In this book she does it well.  As I said at the start this is a topic that is very hard to discuss at the present, without taking sides.  Add to that the debates about immigration and you've got a smoking safari to contend with.  But if you really want to push all that aside and take a brave leap at objectivity then give this a go.  You won't necessarily agree with everything and at times you'll shout "That's not Me!"  Isn't it?  

“There is this assumption," Carland points out, "that you all think the same thing, you’re all of one mind on these issues … It shows the desperation of the media and politicians to say ‘all of you people, who speaks for you?’ They can’t let go of this idea that someone should speak for all of us. No single person does”.  Here's a new voice in the conversation.

Fighting Hislam is published by Melbourne University Press.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Melodrama - Lorde. The New Album - CoffeeBar Kid Listens in......

Lorde's new album Melodrama drops today!!

Four years seems a lifetime ago for our Ella.  And in an increasingly fickle, hyper-paced world that's a millennium.  Can you believe that when she made Heroine with Joel Little Ella Yelich-O'Connor was only just 16.  Crikey.  At that age I didn't even know how to find the toilets on my own, let alone make an album and tour on the world's stages.  So now for the ever anticipated sophomore effort.  With a more mature, celebrity befriended and wiser performer what will come.  Will we get more about youth and growing up.  Will we get more about social media and the betrayal of commercialism?  Will we get more about fame and the fake bubble it creates?

Sort of.  Melodrama retains the core elements of her distinctive sound—minimalist arrangements and her angle (if that's the right word).  The catchy melodies are still there.  That's important to keep the kids wired in.  And her wry, deadpan vocal performances are still there, too. Another trademark.  At 16 how can you even have a trademark approach?  Well, it appears you can.  OK, so all that's still there but there are now more bends and twists.

2013's Pure Heroine was a wry and cynical snapshot of the 'disaffected youth'.  It was punctuated by plenty of narcissistic and sardonic black humor.  Way beyond the teen years but so very telling of what was currently raining down upon her at every  turn.  In reality, an artist like her had two choices.   Ignore and become a hermit or, in the spirit of most intellectual Kiwis, hit back with deadpan humor.  She chose the latter.  So now we get the same 'girl' now a woman on the cusp of adulthood, entering the big bad world and trying to deal with it.  Not original but maybe her take is a bit more original.  Maybe.  Adele's done it over and over again and will probably keep going until she makes an album call 90.  If the industry lets her.

Overnight stardom prompted by her first album created Melodrama, I think. Fame has the potential to keep creative minds hermetically sealed away from their former lives because their worldview myopic puts you out of touch with the rest of society.  Well, that's what normally happens.  But not so this time.

I'm not sure if it's a consequences of notoriety or just the result of the inevitable maturation four years on but you can feel that the 'inner life' of Ella, which is revealed on Melodrama is much richer and, likely more lived.  Hey, at 16 nothing's happened yet.  in her early 20's something's started.  So I think, for me, at least, as a 50 year old but with daughters I can see this album is more accessible than Pure Heroine.

Ella allows herself to be vulnerable and love-locked on songs like Liability (which has the wonderful word play 'Liar-bility' in the title chorus) and the challenge of meeting someone famous (Writer in the Dark).  The latter is a 360 degree view - the person meets the writer. The writer meets the person.  Both are vulnerable.  One meets her potential fan or she feels she is unknown.  How will she react?  The other meets a famous writer or they have no idea who they are?  But not likely.  How do they react?

Liabiliity also has a heartbreaking revelation that she's just “a toy that people enjoy/Til all of the tricks don't work anymore”.  Now that's gotta suck all the air right out of totem to self-love.

But it's not all self-stabbing, celeb bashing and wrist slashing.  This time we get a few more tales - drunken meet-cutes, messy mornings after (no walk of shame but hints are there).  Melodrama is an unexpected house-party record.

What I really want is for Ella to pop up on Graham Norton.  I'd love to see how she fits in with all the celbs chatting about this newbie. I heard her on RNZ last month and I must confess she sounds more confident and genuinely happy in her skin now.  Happy to be vulnerable, sometimes, I guess.  But also, she's sharp and funny (“They'll hang us in the Louvre/Down the back, but who cares?/Still, the Louvre,” she quips on The Louvre) and indulgent about being young (drinking, drugs, sex, even the romanticization of dying in a fiery car crash on Homemade Dynamite).  It's funny because a couple of years ago I interviewed Liam Finn at the National Library.  Directly below a copy of Heroine, which was hanging like a picture on display.  He called it the "Shrine of Lorde'.  There was a copy of the award and several photos added to give context.  Out version of the great art palace I guess.  Also this song, The Louvre, is delicious irony, aknowledging that very point.  It's lush, all baked in a package of digi-beats, overdubs and multi tracks and studio trickery.

Sound-wise, producers Jack Antonoff, Frank Dukes, Kuk Harrell, Andrew Wyatt and Lorde, herself, have created a much richer soundscape, without compromising the initial 'soul' that was developed by Ella and Joel Little on Heroine.  The minimalism was sometimes a little tedious.  It's more of a variety here and I like it all the more for it.  There are blips, muddy mixes, twerking noises and even a sample from an 80's computer game (Frogger?).  It's got layers, so listening will be a repeat journey.

In one way Lorde has more fully fleshed out her goth-witch caricature -“She thinks you love the beach, you're such a damn liar,” she hiss on the album's lead single, Green Light.  Oh Boy.  Whatch out, man!  And one man, in particular.  Her anger is ignited not just by the possibility that her former lover is deceiving someone, but that maybe she didn't know him either but then this is her bitter state.

It's not always like this.  So despite the title, the album isn't fully packed with hysterics and histrionics. It's not Panic at the Disco!  Nor is there a retaliation to being a pop bimbo or a cover girl gone wild - like bestie Taylor did on Shake It Off.

'Supercut' is as close as she comes to a out and out pop single.  It's hook laden and ready for radio.  The rest of the album is not for the airwaves.  It's for the headphones.  It may come out on vinyl but it's made for the smartphone.  It talks to the ipod generation.  It simmers and builds from track to track, loaded with unlikely catchy bits, from the spoken refrain of “The Louvre” to the taunts that close with the reprise Sober II (Melodrama).  Her vocals venture into a more playful, previously unexplored upper register. You get that on “Loveless,” which is a seemingly unfinished two-minute doodle of a song tacked onto the end of the industrial-infused Hard Feelings.  Now it's a happy surprise, as it's perhaps the most shamelessly poppy track but it's still peppered with prickly quips like “Bet you wanna rip my heart out/Bet you wanna skip my calls now/Guess what? I like it.”  It fades slowly, like a bit of a trick.  I had to check my phone wasn't losing battery as the song got quieter.  Nice.

OK, Meledrama is a bit of a unexpected house-party (that will be a phrase that's gonna be attached to this record by everyone).  It has a sort of theme gear around the night.  Pick-ups, drunk moments, fights, silly antics, morning after.  And sonically, it's where the really cool kids are at.  Still no Grey Goose, though.  Or gold teeth!  Post code envy is less an issue these days.  It's a break up a break down and a pick me up all at once.  It's cathartic, dramatic, and everything else you could want an album with a title like this.  And, ultimately, Melodrama concludes with the even more ironic Perfect Places - the ultimate mark of maturity because it's the realization that all our heroes and chemicals will inevitably fail us.  Essentially, it's nice while it lasts but the pursuit of escapism through these means is both futile and sublime.  Grow up and smell the coffee, kids!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jonathan Crayford wins Tui for Best Jazz Album

The Tui for Best Jazz Album was presented tonight at a cocktail party attended by Wellington’s jazz community and sponsors and supported for the Wellington Jazz Festival.  The event included Anthony Healey, Head of APRA and Damian Vaughan (Recorded Music New Zealand).  Jonathan Crayford picked up the award for Best Album for East West Moon, which he recorded in New York with Ben Street and Dan Weiss.  Crayford was up against some tough competition including veteran Jazzman Mike Nock (Vicissitudes) and new comer Myele Manzanza (OnePointOne). 

Callum Allardice (of The Jac) managed to swing Best Composition for his piece Deep Thought.  Festival favourites award went to The Brad Kang Quartet for their amazing concert at St Peter’s on Friday night.

Jonathan Crayford - photo Tim Gruar
Callum Allardice - Photo Wellington Jazz Festival

Jonathan Crayford with Steve Garden (Rattle Records) - Photo Wellingotn Jazz Festival

Wellington Jazz Festival - Classic album : Eric Dolphy - Out to Lunch

Jake Bexendale and Rueben Bradley and Paul Dyne plus friends do Eric Dolphy's amazing classic.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wellington Jazz Festival - The Mellotones

The Wonderful all-Lady Jazz band the Mellotones entertain diners at the Wellington night market.

Friday, June 09, 2017

How to tune in - on the move!

Listen to Groove on the move.  Tune in to Tune In radio (get the app from the App Store or I-tunes) and search for 'Groove 107.7FM'

Google Play

Apple App Store

The Comet Is Coming – Wellington Jazz Festival – 10 June 2017

Playing the Wellington Jazz Festival this weekend are the London-based psychedelic funk-meisters The Comet is Coming. They mix sounds from the universe including snippets of Parliament, Sun Ra and Afro-funk pioneers like Fela Kuti – all channeled through a digital dashboard of synths and crazy sax.  Read more

Wellington Jazz Festival - SEOUL JAZZ: THE JAC & BLACK STRING

New Zealand & South Korea - Wellington meets world jazz in this exciting international premiere.

Opera House - Saturday 10 June - 4PM

Cheer on home-town jazz heroes The Jac as they’re joined by South Korea’s Black String in the culmination of a year-long collaboration. This powerful night of in-the-moment magic melds Black String’s electrifying and explosive play on Korean musical traditions with the cinematic sound of these award-winning New Zealand talents.

“Triumphant” (London Jazz News) in their own right, four-piece Black String are making waves on the world music scene for their fresh and fiery jazz sound.

Meanwhile, “spine tingling” (New Zealand Musician) eight-piece The Jac are a freight train of pure musical energy, featuring members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, The Troubles and the Richter City Rebels.

Be there as they forge a new Korean-Kiwi jazz genre.

The Jac: Lex French (trumpet), Jake Baxendale (alto saxophone), Chris Buckland (tenor saxophone), Matthew Allison (trombone), Callum Allardice (guitar), Nick Tipping (bass), Daniel Millward (piano) and Shaun Anderson (drums).

Black String: Yoon Jeung Heo (geomungo/Korean zither), Aram Lee (daegeum/bamboo flute), Jean Oh (electric guitar) and Min Wang Hwang (janggu/Korean drum).

Discover more: Five days in Seoul – The Jac member Jake Baxendale's South Korean diary takes us behind the scenes of an exciting international music project destined for the Wellington Jazz Festival.


South Korea’s Black String band formed as part of a cultural exchange when British and South Korean jazz festivals decided to engage young musicians from both nations in collaborative projects. Band founder Yoon-jeong Heo had already made a mark as leader of Tori Ensemble – a South Korean band that mixed traditional folk music with cello and clarinet and toured internationally under the Womad umbrella (playing Womad New Zealand in 2011).

Debuting in public in 2012 at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival in South Korea and then at the London Jazz Festival, Black String demonstrated exemplary technique alongside the ability to improvise. The band’s profile has continued to grow, with Black String being invited to perform an official showcase at Womex in 2017 and winning Best Jazz and Crossover Performance at the 2017 Korean Music Awards.

“Although South Korea is not a big country, we realised from different international relations that our music is the most beautiful among various music,” says Heo of the band’s success. “Also we met lots of talented musicians and created relations with them.”

At the heart of Black String’s sound is the geomungo, a Korean instrument whose origins can be traced back to the fourth century – and it is this instrument’s black strings that gave the band its name. The geomungo is a six-stringed zither and its prototype is found in the ancient murals of Goguryeo. It has six twisted silk strings, which are stretched over 16 fixed frets. The instrument is plucked with a short bamboo rod called a suldae (which Heo notes is crafted from bamboo that grows close to the sea) and produces majestic deep sounds.

Heo is a master of the geomungo and notes that the literati of the Joseon Dynasty particularly revered the instrument. The deep, beguiling tones that emerge from these completely natural materials could have been heard at any time since the seventh century, because Korean music has a continuous tradition far longer than Western music. The geomungo is the voice at the very heart of that tradition, with a role comparable to that of the piano in the West.

“The international audience, which has many experiences with different countries’ traditional music, was very interested in traditional Korean musical instruments and praised Black String’s powerful music and performance,” says Heo.

Wellington Jazz Festival - Look out - THE COMET IS COMING!!!!

Brace for impact with these futuristic space-jazz pioneers.

Fusing jazz, Afro-beat and electronica, The Comet is Coming are your Saturday night soundtrack to an imagined apocalypse, with members King Shabaka (Sons of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down), Danalogue and Betamax your cosmic guides.

These one-time Snarky Puppy openers are charting their own path in the spirit of legendary freestyle funksters Sun Ra, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix, making last year’s prestigious Mercury Prize shortlist.

Book fast and get ready to dance like it's the end of the world.  Saturday 10 June - 8pm Opera House

Jazz Festival Gigs: Today at 5pm - JIMMY AND THE JETS

All the tunes you want to hear - and some you forgot you wanted to!
With a killer repertoire they play all the tunes you want to hear - and all those you forgot you wanted to! With all of the members of the band studying at Te Kōki the New Zealand School of Music, you can expect an incredibly high quality of musicianship from these players.
For a great night of music, come down to Dillinger's Brasserie and Bar for a lovely atmosphere during the Wellington Jazz Festival!

Gig begins 5PM Tonight at Dillingers Bar :

Jazz Festival - Film Spotlight. FILM: LADY SINGS THE BLUES

Diana Ross plays the magnificent but tragic song stylist Billie Holiday

Diana Ross plays the magnificent, tragic song stylist Billie Holiday, who while writhing in a strait jacket in a prison cell, awaiting sentencing on drug charges, reflects on her turbulent life.

Raped in her youth by a drunk (played by Adolph Caesar), then compelled to work as a domestic in a Harlem whorehouse, Holiday is encouraged to try for a singing career by the bordello's pianist (played by Richard Pryor).

She rises as high as it is possible to go in the white-dominated show business world of the 1930s, but can't handle the pressure and turns to narcotics.

The film takes several liberties with the life of "Lady Day".   Worth a look.  Check out Light House Theatre's Jazz film programme;

Screen times for :  FILM: LADY SINGS THE BLUES
Friday 9 June - 1:30pm
Saturday 10 June - 1:30pm
Sunday 11 June - 11:40am

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

New Zealand Jazz Awards - 2017 Winners announced this Sunday

The New Zealand Jazz Awards will be held this Sunday afternoon.  The nominees are:

Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Album 2017 Finalists:

East West Moon by Jonathan Crayford
Teaming up once more with the same killer rhythm section on the critically acclaimed Dark Light (2014), Jonathan Crayford returns with another beautiful album. Recording again with engineer Mike Marciano at Systems Two Studio in New York, East West Moon takes the concentrated minimalism of the previous release a step further, this time with an even greater impressionistic spaciousness.  Jonathan composed the music for East West Moon while living in Berlin. The title is a comment on enmity and commonality, with 'East-West' denoting opposing positions and boundaries, and 'Moon' denoting that which is commonly shared, unpossessed, and freely available.  "It's a marriage of two hemispheres," says Jonathan. "East-West refers to the vast differences we think we see and feel between each other, our different cultures and approaches to living. We are perpetually in conflict over our take on life and someone else's. We form groups, and we want to be identified with the group, but we also want to be individuals. We look out at other groups and say 'Oh, that's a different group, but I'm not part of that, I'm in this group'. But we also see ourselves as 'different' from others in our group, so we have this perpetual fight with who or what we think we are and what we are becoming, which is always in change. Berlin is still haunted by the separation of 'east' and 'west'. People still live with the residue of that in their lives, which I found quite surprising."
"The moon has been meaningful for me for years, as it is for all of us. We can all be different, but we all share the moon. We all share the need to breathe. Instead of holding fast to our presuppositions, we need to look beyond philosophic intransigence and formulate a way forward that is devoid of conflict."

”On this album I tried to dig deep. If you’re not facing your own vulnerability, fragility, and bullshit, then you’re not really writing. It’s a bit like, if you haven’t fallen off a bike then you haven’t really ridden. I put so much work into these pieces, and it was hard some mornings to face another day of self-doubt, but that’s what it takes – those are the depths, but of course you also have wonderful heights. The pieces on this album are all about being alone – we share that aloneness, but we experience it alone.”

Vicissitudes by Mike Nock Trio & NZ Trio

Mike Nock (ONZM) is an internationally recognised master of jazz. His trio, with Christchurch-born bassist Brett Hirst and Australian drummer James Waples, is one of the top modern jazz groups in Australasia. NZTrio is New Zealand’s leading piano trio, and one of the finest in the southern hemisphere. Their innovative repertoire features dynamic and inspired interpretations of both traditional and contemporary classical music, as their critically acclaimed recordings for Rattle brilliantly attest.  Vicissitudes came about after Philip Tremewan (Director of the Christchurch Arts Festival) suggested to Mike Nock that he write a piece for two trios using a set of variations to show the different approaches each group might bring to the same piece of music. Mike wrote the piece as a way of offering something positive to the people of Christchurch in recognition of the extreme difficulties they’ve had to deal with in the wake of the devastating earthquake of 2011. The idea was to combine the disparate worlds of jazz and classical music to show the strength of the human spirit when faced with seemingly overwhelming obstacles.

“Over many years working together,” says Mike, “my trio has developed a largely intuitive approach to making music, so performing with NZTrio presents a very different musical dynamic. Improvisation is central to my trio's role, as this is where we do our best work, so a large part of the enjoyment and interest for all six players is to explore the musical opportunities we discover when rehearsing and performing the piece”.

OnePointOne by Myele Manzanza
Recorded live at the legendary Blue Whale in Los Angeles. The son of a Congolese master percussionist, New Zealand born Myele first gained international attention as one third of NZ soul act, Electric Wire Hustle. After six years of performing, recording and touring with the band that he formed, he left in 2013 in order to release his solo debut One (BBE).  By this time Myele had become an in-demand musician, culminating in 2014 when he joined dance music pioneer Theo Parrish as the drummer of his live outfit The Unit. As a drummer and a sideman he continues to tour internationally and collaborate with a broad range of artists including Mark de Clive-Lowe, FW label-mate Ross McHenry, Sorceress, Amp Fiddler, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Marcus Strickland, Recloose, Jordan Rakei and most recently joining Australian contemporary dance company, KAGE, in their forthcoming dance and drum based performance Out Of Earshot.

His roots in jazz and African rhythm, (as well as his childhood love of hip hop and dance music) bring a uniquely diverse take to his music. This is evident on OnePointOne, where he fuses a traditional jazz trio with a string quartet, underpinned with an undeniable hip-hop swagger. The album features the stellar talents of pianist/programmer Mark de Clive-Lowe, and the Quartetto Fantastico string quartet led by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Suite For Ma Dukes), virtuoso bassist Ben Shepherd and guest vocalists Nia Andrews and Charlie K. The dynamic rendition of City Of Atlantis was deftly arranged by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and captured in a stunning live video by Eric Coleman of Mochilla (Timeless, Suite for Ma Dukes).

As well as live takes on some of the material from his debut album, there are covers of Theo Parrish, Jill Scott and the late, great Bobby Hutcherson, capturing an intimate performance from a fearless artist at the hub of the resurgent West Coast Jazz scene.

APRA Best Jazz Composition Award Finalists:

Deep Thought by Callum Allardice
Heralding from Motueka, Tasman Bay, is Callum Allardice, an NZSM jazz graduate who is in the running for his composition Deep Thought. The song is performed by Antipodes, a creative contemporary jazz sextet playing works by Callum, long-time collaborator and fellow jazz graduate Jake Baxendale and Australian pianist and composer, Luke Sweeting.

It's A Good Time (To Be A Man) by Bruce Brown
NZSM Artist Teacher Bruce Brown, a Los Angeles native who arrived in New Zealand in 1998, established the jazz vocal programme which is now part of the New Zealand School of Music. His composition It’s A Good Time (To Be A Man) was recorded and performed by the Bruce Brown Quintet.

Familia by Jasmine Lovell-Smith
The last finalist is saxophonist/composer and current NZSM DMA student Jasmine Lovell-Smith who has recently returned to live in Wellington after spending seven years in the USA and Mexico, where she taught jazz studies and the saxophone at the State University. Her composition Familia contains elements from both here and abroad.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Groove Book Report - Move Fast and Break Things - Jonathan Taplin

In 2012, Jonathan Taplin took part in a public debate with Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit, about what the digital economy was doing to the creative arts. Taplin, who had once been manager of the Band, and was the producer of Martin Scorsese’s magnificent film of their farewell concert The Last Waltz, had a particular grievance about the fate of his friend Levon Helm, the Band’s drummer. Helm was suffering from cancer, but had been forced back on the road at the age of 70 to help pay his medical bills because the new culture of “free music and movies” had destroyed his income as a recording artist. Ohanian, clearly a little chastened by this tale, wrote to Taplin offering to help “make right what the music industry did to members of the Band”. He suggested a reunion concert or album, funded by kickstarter, and launched on Reddit.

Taplin’s reply, which he reprints here in all its eviscerating glory, points out that this plan won’t work because in the meantime Helm has died. Moreover, he tells Ohanian, “It wasn’t the music industry that created Levon’s plight; it was people like you.” He concludes: “You are so clueless as to offer to get the Band back together for a charity concert, unaware that three of the five members are dead. Take your charity and shove it. Just let us get paid for our work and stop deciding that you can unilaterally make it free.” Ohanian, unsurprisingly, did not respond.

This exchange sums up the argument of Taplin’s new book: the titans of the digital age frequently behave like spoiled and ignorant brats with far, far more money than sense; and their victims include many of the artists who create things of real value and who can no longer earn a living from doing so. Taplin’s sense of outrage is palpable and his case is often compelling. Unfortunately, the two parts of the argument don’t really hang together. The first claim is hard to dispute – Silicon Valley does increasingly resemble some kind of nightmarish children’s playground, populated by overgrown babies with no idea of the consequences of their actions – but the evidence he marshals is mainly second hand, drawn from newspaper commentary and some well-known histories of the digital revolution. As a result, it feels a little overfamiliar. The more personal and original sections of the book concern his own experiences in the music and film industries. He harks back to the glory days of the 1960s and 1970s, when people like him and his friends could make their music and movies on their own terms and still get paid for it. The trouble is, this sounds a lot like special pleading. He would say that, wouldn’t he?

The Band were unquestionably important artists and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down is a great song, if not quite the transcendent masterpiece Taplin takes for granted here. So, yes, they deserved their original success, and it’s painful to see people like that scrabbling around for scraps in the age of streamed content. But before the digital revolution turned them into victims, the Band were the fortunate beneficiaries of an earlier age of cultural production, as will be true of any group of artists who make it. The music industry of that time – dominated by earnest and slightly pretentious white men, some of whom (like the superstar reviewers at Rolling Stone) had an effective monopoly on their audiences – suited what they had to offer. It also suited Taplin, a Princeton-educated lawyer who happened to find himself in the right place at the right time. He clearly had a hell of a ride. But it’s hard to feel all that sorry for lucky people when their luck runs out.

He leans too heavily on the assumption that the 1960s and 70s represented an artistic golden age whose like we will never see again. Easy Rider and Bonnie and Clyde aren’t quite enough to build a case like that. Any era will value its own products, and that will be especially true of the people who helped make them. Imagine a period 30 or 40 years from now when podcasting has been destroyed by some new economic model (though it will probably happen far sooner than that). It’s easy to picture the makers of Serial and S-Town pointing out that something of great value has been lost. They will be right, though it’s hard to see many people caring. Of course, Serial and S-Town have their critics, but so does the music Taplin loves: I know people who would rather eat stinging nettles than sit through the whole of The Last Waltz.

Taplin couches his argument in terms of Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail, which sees vastly outsized rewards going to a few dominant players at the top of the market, and the rest distributed in tiny amounts to the millions of self-starters who can now find whatever audience is out there via YouTube and online retailers. The people who get crushed are those in the middle. Weirdly, though, Taplin identifies the Band not merely as part of the squeezed middle but as “middle-class musicians”. This is ironic because one of Helms’s problems was that he was too busy leading a life of hedonistic excess to have time to write the songs. The only member of the group who conformed to the bourgeois value of hard work was Robbie Robertson, whom Taplin describes as getting up to put in a songwriting shift each morning while his bandmates were sleeping off their hangovers. As a result, Robertson was still making money from royalties – even in the age of Spotify – while the rest of the Band lost out.

The real story is not what’s happening in the transfers between the people in the middle and at the bottom of the scale, but what’s happening at the top. This is now a winner-takes-all market, and it extends far beyond the culture industries. Indeed, making the case on behalf of creative artists versus the brainless YouTube monopolists – The Big Short and Spotlight versus PewDiePie – looks like a sideshow. This isn’t about art; it’s about money and power. The real players here are the people who own the platforms and the networks on which not merely creative production but most of human communication and commerce now takes place. Taplin recognises this and devotes a lot of time to exploring the business models through which Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jeff Bezos et al have managed to gobble up the world. In the face of that kind of influence and reach, firing back with tales of rock stars in their glory days is a bit like taking a peashooter into battle with a hurricane.

Taplin suggests that the BBC might serve as a model for US policy-makers looking for a political and cultural institution that can fight back against the new digital behemoths. This seems pretty optimistic given the kind of political pressures the BBC finds itself up against, never mind the commercial ones. Taplin also notes in passing that the EU remains one of the very few international organisations with both the appetite and the clout to take on Google and Facebook at their own game. He even goes so far as to say that the watchword for how power should be organised in the 21st century is “subsidiarity”. How sad then that the BBC will soon no longer be able to count on even that level of protection.

In the end, Taplin is reduced to hoping that the dominant players of the digital world will come to their senses and realise the damage they are doing. Of Zuckerberg, he writes: “I hope that the young CEO of Facebook will be willing to pause and think about where his company is taking the media business.” So that’s what we’ve been reduced to: wishing for a “good emperor” to hear his people’s distress. It’s a sign of how slavish the world built by Silicon Valley has become. Taplin’s own experience with Ohanian should show us just how dangerous it is to be dependent on the goodwill of spoiled brats.

2017 Wellington Jazz Festival 7-11 June (various locations)

The Capital is set to hum next month when its largest ever jazz festival kicks off.  With over 150 gigs spanning 45 venues, involving nearly 250 jazz musicians and thousands of live music fans who will descend on Wellington for a five-day mid-winter jam-fest between 7-11 June.  Artistic Director Shelagh Magadza is quoted as saying “With a programme this huge it’s impossible to make all my recommendations here, but there is so much great music on offer, quite aside from our awesome Opera House headliners Bill Frisell and Dianne Reeves.  Whether it’s former One O’Clock Lab drummer from the US, Ari Hoenig at Pyramid Club, Nathan Haines performing at Thistle Inn, ex pats Lex French and Jasmine Lovell-Smith collaborating at Havana Bar, or the Jelly Rolls’ album release party at Caroline, there’s such an exciting, eclectic mix.”

With all this variety on offer it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so we thought we’d help you out by giving you a quick snapshot of what should be on you FOMO list (Of course there’s plenty more at the festival’s official site:  This is only a wallet-sized bucket list.   

The free Classic Albums Live series returns to the Rogue & Vagabond, featuring live sessions of Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage (presented by Pianist Dan Hayles); The Breker Brothers (Saxoman Oscar Laven); Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil (Saxophonist Jake Baxendale); Trumpeter Lex French is back from Canada to do Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way; Jimmy Smith’s Prayer Meetin’ (Twinset’s Organmeister Chris Yeabsley); Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five (Trumpeter Michael Costeloe) ; Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch; Alda Rezende and her band do Getz/Gilberto. 

Over at St Peters on Willis church you can check out two free shows featuring Brad Kang (9 June, 6pm), The Secret Island Quintet (10 June, 6pm) ; and Mark Donlan and Alex Sipiagan (7 June, 6pm).  Brad Kang does modern, New York-influenced jazz originals.  His new ep Farewell For Now is a culmination of the five years Brad spent in Denton, Texas. The compositions draw from the modern jazz music of New York City as well as music of Sky Window, a jazz-rock-electronic fusion band Brad has been a part of for three years. 

Secret Islands Quintet are an exquisite, uniquely New Zealand take on the North American jazz tradition. This is an artistic ensemble, performing a suite of original jazz pieces from their upcoming album Secret Islands. Their unique and soulful sound, originated by Jim Langabeer and developed by the ensemble over the past two years, is an assimilation of traditional North American jazz and Kiwi flavours as they mix haunting multi-phonic saxophone duets, Taonga Puoro, luscious grooves, sonically daring antics.  Finally, Mark Donlan and Alex Sipiagana will perform a duo concert to launch their newly released albums Between Moons and Tales from the Diaspora.

Families and foodies are in for a treat with the return of the jazz-themed Night Market on lower Cuba Street on Saturday 10 June, and the Festival’s ‘Jazz Bites’ partnerships with top restaurants and bars mean plenty of specials on food and drink throughout the Festival, such as ‘A Kind of Blue’ pizza at The Third Eye and the ‘French Seoul’ cocktail at Foxglove.  Yum!

Now that’s some local stuff.  What about the big names?
One of the international headliners not to be missed is Bill Frisell (7 June, 8pm).  SPIN Magazine called him a “guitar genius”.  He's worked with everyone, including Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Bono and Marianne Faithfull. and most recently Paul Simon.  This is first-ever New Zealand show.  With Frisell joined by vocalist Petra Haden (The Decemberists, Beck, Foo Fighters), Thomas Morgan (double bass) and Rudy Royston (drums), you’ll revel in a sweetly dark and dreamy evening of re-imagined cinema and TV soundtrack music from his 2017 Grammy Award-nominated album When You Wish Upon a Star.

Conjuring favourite memories alongside less-familiar moments of magic – from a brush with Bond to the drama of The Godfather and a love-laced Moon River – Frisell imbues these screen gems with a new sense of wonder and joy.  Should be an awesome night.
Another highlight for me are these guys: Seoul Jazz: The Jac and Black String.  This is a team up project between locals The Jac and South Korea’s Black String.  The night's efforts will be the re-culmination of a year-long collaboration- q night of in-the-moment magic melds Black String’s electrifying and explosive play on Korean musical traditions with the cinematic sound of these award-winning New Zealand talents.

The Jac (Lex French -trumpet; Jake Baxendale - alto sax; Chris Buckland - tenor sax; Matthew Allison - trombone; Callum Allardice -guitar; Nick Tipping - bass; Daniel Millward - piano;  and Shaun Anderson (drums).) are a freight train of pure musical energy, featuring members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, The Troubles and the Richter City Rebels.

Dave Wreckl & Tony Lindsay. A regular performer with jazz great Chick Corea, Dave Weckl delivers every time, creating an “explosive” (All About Jazz) fusion of funk, rock and blues. He’s joined by Grammy Award-winning Santana vocalist Tony Lindsay, DownBeat rising sax star Adam Schroeder, Mingus Big Band trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, and concert openers the New Zealand School of Music Big Band – Aotearoa’s premier student ensemble.  You can also listen and learn from one of the world's greatest drummers at the Dave Weckl Drum Workshop earlier that day (check the festival website).

Covering off the vocal superstar section will be Dianne Reeves.  A sultry and soulful storyteller, her unique jazz stylings reflect a pure and heart-felt love of music. From R&B to pop, folk and rock – she owns them all with her lush, crystal-clear voice.  Experience the charisma, power and beauty of this five-time Grammy Award-winner, joined on stage by Peter Martin (piano), Romero Lubambo (guitar), Reginald Veal (double bass) and Terreon Gully (drums).  With collaborators ranging from all-time greats Harry Belafonte and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis to new guard Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper and Lalah Hathaway, Reeves is the true heir to Ella Fitzgerald’s queen of jazz throne.  Beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket, I reckon. 

If you like more experimental jazz, with major funk influences then get along to see The Comet is Coming (10 June, 8PM).  Fusing jazz, Afro-beat and electronica, The Comet is Coming are your Saturday night soundtrack to an imagined apocalypse, with members King Shabaka (Sons of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down), Danalogue and Betamax your cosmic guides.  These one-time Snarky Puppy openers are charting their own path in the spirit of legendary freestyle funksters Sun Ra, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix, making last year’s prestigious Mercury Prize shortlist.  The Guardian raved calling them: “The In Sound From Far Out”.

And finally, back in town, Nathan Haines (10 June, 7pm).  From a live and large stage sound, to stripped back acoustic, and electronic beats, this genre bending musician has been making music for over two decades.  His first solo album was released in 1994, and the ensuing 20 years has seen him record and perform all over the world. With 10 solo albums to date (two of which have attained Gold status in his native New Zealand), many of which have been released internationally, Nathan is a musician who blends his love of jazz with modern production styles and a dancefloor sensibility.
I had the pleasure of interviewing him on numerous occasions and each time he was an education in jazz and vintage Verve recording techniques.  His love of vinyl goes way beyond simply playing it.  Nathan will be showcasing material from his forthcoming new eleventh solo album at the city’s iconic Thistle Inn (home of anarchy and arts for many years).  Featuring Wellington local legend keyboardist Jonathan Crayford and Joel Haines on guitar, alongside Karika Turua and Mickey Ututaonga.

Of course favs like Roger fox will be back along with Michael Houston (doing Bach, jazz style) and Anthony Donaldson (reinventing Zappa).  And closing the Festival is the Harold López-Nussa who will bring the heat! A classical piano prodigy and Cuba National Symphony Orchestra soloist, López-Nussa made a late switch to jazz and has never looked back. He’s since collaborated with musical legends Chucho Valdés and the Buena Vista Social Club, and been picked up by New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London and the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival.  Come sway the night away, and feel the energetic rhythms and magical melodies of this next-big-thing performing with Ruy López-Nussa (drums) and Julio César Gonzalez (guitar). 

Well, that’s just Visit our website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @welljazzfest

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

James Bond is dead - Long live James Bond! - Roger Moore, Who Played James Bond 007 Times, Dies at 89

Roger Moore, Who Played James Bond 007 Times, Dies at 89

Roger Moore as James Bond in 1981
Roger Moore, the dapper British actor who brought tongue-in-cheek humor to the James Bond persona in seven films, eclipsing his television career, which had included starring roles in at least five series, died on Tuesday in Switzerland. He was 89.

The death, attributed to cancer, was confirmed in a family statement on Twitter. His family did not say where in Switzerland he died.

Mr. Moore was the oldest Bond ever hired for films in the official series — although David Niven was in his 50s when he played Bond in the spoof “Casino Royale” — taking on the role when he was 45. (Sean Connery, who originated the film character and with whom Mr. Moore was constantly compared, was 32 when the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” was released.) Mr. Moore also had the longest run in the role, beginning in 1973 with “Live and Let Die” and winding up in 1985 with “A View to a Kill.”

When he became 007, the author Ian Fleming’s sexy secret agent with a license to kill, Mr. Moore was already well known to American audiences. After playing the title role in a British medieval-adventure series, “Ivanhoe,” shown in the United States in syndication in 1958, and starring in “The Alaskans,” a short-lived (1959-60) ABC gold-rush series, he replaced the departing James Garner in the fourth season (1960-61) of the western hit “Maverick.” His decidedly non-Western accent was explained away by the British education of his character, Beauregard Maverick, the original hero’s cousin.

Mr. Moore in the Bond adventure “Moonraker” (1979).
He was the oldest Bond ever hired, taking on the role when he was 46
From 1962 to 1969 Mr. Moore was Simon Templar, the title character of “The Saint,” a wildly popular British series about an adventurous, smooth-talking thief. It did so well in syndication in America that NBC adopted it for its prime-time schedule from 1967 to 1969. Two years later, Mr. Moore and Tony Curtis starred in ABC’s one-season series “The Persuaders” as playboy partners solving glamorous European crimes.

Jacqui Chan and Mr. Moore in “The Saint,” a wildly popular British series about a smooth-talking thief. He played the title character from 1962 to 1969
Mr. Moore in the Bond adventure “Moonraker” (1979). He was the oldest Bond ever hired, taking on the role when he was 46. Credit United Artists
After surrendering the Bond role to Timothy Dalton, Mr. Moore appeared in a half-dozen largely unexceptional movies, made a few television appearances and did voice work in animated films. Mostly, however, he turned his attention elsewhere, becoming a Unicef good-will ambassador in 1991. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1999 and was knighted in 2003.

Roger George Moore was born on Oct. 14, 1927, in Stockwell, South London, the only child of George Alfred Moore, a London police officer who dabbled in amateur theater, and the former Lily Pope. Early on Roger expressed interest in becoming a commercial artist and worked while a teenager at an animation company. But he fell into movie extra work, was encouraged by a director to pursue acting and entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1944.

He was drafted during the final year of World War II, serving as a second lieutenant in the Royal Army Service Corps. After the war he did stage work in London and Cambridge, England, and appeared in mostly uncredited movie parts. He left for the United States in 1953.

Mr. Moore made his American television debut that year playing a French diplomat on an episode of NBC’s “Robert Montgomery Presents.” His first credited film role was a small one as a tennis pro in “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (1954), starring a young Elizabeth Taylor. His second movie was the romantic melodrama “Interrupted Melody” (1955), with Eleanor Parker. But he soon returned to Britain and spent the rest of his career doing a mix of British, American and European projects.

Mr. Moore and Barbara Bach at a screening for “The Spy Who Loved Me” at the Cannes Film Festival in 1977.Credit
During his tenure as James Bond, Mr. Moore played almost a score of unrelated acting roles, most notably “The Cannonball Run” (1981), the car-race comedy with Burt Reynolds, and the television movie “Sherlock Holmes in New York” (1976), in which he starred as Holmes and John Huston played Professor Moriarty.

Mr. Moore’s only visits to Broadway were brief and, in different ways, unpleasant. In 1953 he had a small role in the British drama “A Pin to See the Peepshow,” which opened and closed on the same night. Exactly 50 years later he appeared as the mystery guest star in Hamish McColl and Sean Foley’s comedy “The Play What I Wrote” and collapsed onstage. He received a pacemaker at a New York hospital the next day. (He was already a 10-year survivor of prostate cancer.)

His last film appearance was a supporting role in “The Carer” (2016), about an aging and ailing British actor (Brian Cox).

Mr. Moore married four times and was divorced three. He met his first wife (1946-53), Doorn Van Steyn, at acting school in London. He married Dorothy Squires in 1953 and left her in the early ’60s for Luisa Mattioli, whom he had met making an Italian film, but their divorce was not final until 1968. He married Ms. Mattioli the next year and had three children with her. They divorced in 1996, and in 2002 he married the Swedish-born Kristina Tholstrup, who survives him.

He is also survived by his sons, Geoffrey and Christian; a daughter, Deborah; and grandchildren.

Mr. Moore had definite opinions about playing heroic adventurers long before he became Bond. “I would say your average hero has a super ego, an invincible attitude and an overall death wish,” he told The New York Times in 1970. “He’s slightly around the twist, isn’t he?”

“In theatrical terms, I’ve never had a part that demands much of me,” he added. “The only way I’ve had to extend myself has been to carry on charming.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Announced: Ockham 2017 Book Awards.

A quick history

Before 1996, there were two major New Zealand literary prizes, the New Zealand Book Awards (1976–1995) and the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards (1968–1993). Montana took over the sponsorship of the Wattie Awards in 1994, and thus became the Montana Book Awards (1994–1995). In 1996, the two awards merged to form the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (1996–2009). In 2010, sponsorship of the awards was assumed by New Zealand Post, which had been supporting the Children’s Book Awards for the previous 14 years. In 2015, the governance and management of New Zealand’s national book awards were assumed by the new New Zealand Book Awards Trust. Ockham Residential Limited became the principal sponsor, and the name of the awards was changed to the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. The award categories were streamlined: the Book of the Year Award and the Booksellers’ Choice and People’s Choice awards were discontinued, and a fourth Best First Book Award and a longlist were introduced. From 2016 on, the awards are held each year in May, as part of the Auckland Writers Festival, in a partnership between the New Zealand Book Awards Trust and the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival Trust.




The Wish Child

Catherine Chidley
Published by: Victoria University Press

The Wish Child subtly examines territory unusual for a New Zealand writer with this original exploration of the edges of a much-written about historic time. Exposing and celebrating the power of words – so dangerous they must be cut out or shredded, so magical they can be wondered at and conjured with – Chidgey also exposes the fragility and strength of humanity. Elegantly written, there is an innerness to the book’s narrative which gives it authenticity and even authority. The fey, mysterious voice of the Wish Child, and the very human voices and activities of the book’s other children, are compelling and memorable. You’ll be caught by surprise with its plumbing of depths and sudden moments of grace, beauty and light.


Fits & Starts

Published by: Victoria University Press
Andrew Johnston

The judges’ admiration for Andrew Johnston’s remarkable collection grew with each rereading, as its rich intellectual and emotional layers continued to reveal themselves. Fits & Starts is a slow-burning tour de force, each image, metaphor, theme deeply, fully imagined. It draws on a complex amalgam of sources, including the King James Bible, the radio alphabet, Ovid’s Metamorphosis and, and rewards the reader’s intelligence, attention and patience. Using a minimalist couplet-form, the collection is at once philosophical and political, witty and moving, risky and grounded, while maintaining a marvellously varied singing line. To reward Fits & Starts with the overall poetry prize is to reward New Zealand poetry at its most impressive and its most promising.


A History of New Zealand Women

Published by: Bridget Williams Books
Barbara Brookes

Putting women at the centre of our history, this sweeping survey shows exactly when, how and why gender mattered. It combines deep research, an immensely readable narrative, superbly well-integrated images and it is distinguished by close attention to both Māori and Pākeha women. General changes in each period are combined effortlessly with the particular, local stories of individual women, many not well-known. A wider sense of women’s experiences is beautifully conveyed by the many well-captioned artworks, photographs, texts and objects.



Can You Tolerate This?

Published by: Victoria University Press
Ashleigh Young

Ashleigh Young’s Can You Tolerate This? is a collection of personal essays that sets a high bar for style and originality in a form that has very little precedent in this country. Young takes the events in her life, including her family, her jobs, and all the emotional complications of living in this world and with remarkable honesty delivers a shrewd and honest reckoning. Always an acute observer, it is in Young’s commitment to writing as an art that the true miracle occurs; she tells us her story and somehow we get our own.

Best First Book

About the Best First Book Awards

The Hubert Church Award for Fiction was awarded from 1945 by PEN NZ (later the New Zealand Society of Authors), and named for Hubert Church, a poet, novelist and critic who died in 1932.

The Jessie Mackay Award for Poetry was awarded from 1940 by PEN NZ and named for the first locally born poet to achieve national prominence.  The Judith Binney Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction is named for the late historian Dame Judith Binney, whose several ground-breaking books demonstrated her lifelong commitment to researching and writing about the history of New Zealand.

The E H McCormick Award for General Non-Fiction is named for the late Eric McCormick, the eminent historian and biographer of Frances Hodgkins.



Black Ice Matter

Published by: Huia Publishers
Gina Cole

Gina Cole’s short stories are vivid and compelling; this is a new, assured and vibrant voice in Aotearoa New Zealand and Pasifika fiction. Exploring the extremes of heat and cold, peopled with strong, interesting characters you want to know more about, these stories alternatively burn you down, freeze you in your tracks, comfort or cool you. Cole’s precise and elegant writing startles and delights, and it's exciting to read.



Hera Lindsay Bird

Published by: Victoria University Press
Hera Lindsay Bird

Hera Lindsay Bird’s eponymous debut collection is sassy, funny, seductive. It charms as it dares the reader to be shocked by its sexual frankness and revelations, by its insouciant dismissal of the past, its enjoyment of its own verbal and conceptual conjurations, its sheer performative energy. A particular pleasure is the exuberance of the metaphors and similes, where the pop spear-tackles the antique, the louche the romantic, the trivial the grand. There’s a hymn to hate, an elegy to ex-girlfriends, a paean to bad taste, a rejection of poetry, a celebration of poetry, an invitation to ‘slap yourself in the face with a mohair glove’ and to ‘say true-sounding things and never mean them’. These poems take no prisoners.



A Whakapapa of Tradition: One Hundred Years of Ngāti Porou Carving, 1830-1930

Published by: Auckland University Press
Ngarino Ellis and Natalie Robertson

A careful re-tracing of the evolution of the Iwirākau School, which reinvigorated carving in the Ngāti Porou iwi after it became dormant in the 1830s, this book builds on earlier scholarship with extensive new research. Ngarino Ellis mounts an absorbing argument about tradition, innovation and how culture is transmitted. Natalie Robertson’s magnificent photographs of meeting houses, carvings and landscapes are integral to the narrative. Together they demonstrate the enduring role of carving at the heart of community and rangatiratanga.


My Father’s Island

Published by: Victoria University Press
Adam Dudding

My Father's Island is a triumph of narrative, prose, and the great Kiwi yarn. Readers come so uncomfortably close to memories of joy, tension and mystery — a testament to Adam Dudding's skill as a prose stylist and a storyteller. Yet My Father’s Island is more than just its aesthetics — it’s also an important piece of cultural history with Dudding approaching his subject, his father Robin Dudding, as only a journalist would and could, uncovering family secrets never told. Yet My Father’s Island remains, above all, a memoir, an enthralling account of life and family.

2017 Best First Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction Winner

A Whakapapa of Tradition: One Hundred Years of Ngāti Porou Carving, 1830–1930, by Ngarino Ellis with new photography by Natalie Robertson, has won the Judith Binney Best First Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

‘The Auckland University Press team is enormously proud of Ngarino and Natalie’s best first book win for A Whakapapa of Tradition,’ said AUP Director Sam Elworthy.

‘It’s work that embodies so many values that really matter and that we embrace – a commitment to long term research, a deep engagement with Māori tradition and history and the power of images and text working together. We congratulate author and photographer.’

A full list of all the winners can be found here:

More about the book:

The chieftainess Te Ao Kairau lived in the north of the Waiapu Valley. Desiring carving for the meeting houses that she was having erected, she chose her nephew Iwirākau to travel to Ūawa to learn the arts of carving at the Rāwheoro whare wānanga. Iwirākau had a studious nature and practical bent, and many close connections to major lines in Ngāti Porou. Upon his return from his studies, Iwirākau added new details acquired from Ūawa to the designs and styles of the Waiapu, and became a leader of carving in the Waiapu area. When the whare wānanga later declined, such was the strength of the passing down of knowledge that the style of carving associated with them continued. And one of the strongest to survive was that of the Iwirākau School.

From the emergence of the chapel and the wharenui in the nineteenth century to the rejuvenation of carving by Apirana Ngata in the 1920s, Māori carving went through a rapid evolution from 1830 to 1930. Focusing on thirty meeting houses, Ngarino Ellis tells the story of Ngāti Porou carving and a profound transformation in Māori art.

Beginning around 1830, three previously dominant art traditions – waka taua (war canoes), pātaka (decorated storehouses) and whare rangātira (chief’s houses) – declined and were replaced by whare karakia (churches), whare whakairo (decorated meeting houses) and wharekai (dining halls). Ellis examines how and why that fundamental transformation took place by exploring the Iwirākau School of carving, based in the Waiapu Valley on the East Coast of the North Island. An ancestor who lived around the year 1700, Iwirākau is credited for reinvigorating the art of carving in the Waiapu region. The six major carvers of his school went on to create more than thirty important meeting houses and other structures.

During this transformational period, carvers and patrons re-negotiated key concepts such as tikanga (tradition), tapu (sacredness) and mana (power, authority) – embedding them within the new architectural forms whilst preserving rituals surrounding the creation and use of buildings. A Whakapapa of Tradition tells us much about the art forms themselves but also analyses the environment that made carving and building possible: the patrons who were the enablers and transmitters of culture; the carvers who engaged with modern tools and ideas; and the communities as a whole who created the new forms of art and architecture.

This book is both a major study of Ngāti Porou carving and an attempt to make sense of Māori art history. What makes a tradition in Māori art? Ellis asks. How do traditions begin? Who decides this? Conversely, how and why do traditions cease? And what forces are at play which make some buildings acceptable and others not? Beautifully illustrated with new photography by Natalie Robertson, and drawing on the work of key scholars to make a new synthetic whole, this book will be a landmark volume in the history of writing about Māori art.