thrum/rythmethod Cat No.thrum003
To say Gavin is a guitar virtuoso is an understatement: he's a gifted, imaginative and highly exploratory musician who uses charm and taste as the backdrop to his amazing guitar pieces. And on Visitation there are many. On the opening Quiddity he incorporates lilting grace notes with flamenco picking and nifty strums. Gavin's orchestra for a solo guitarist has begun. The Land Beyond Goodbye recalls German bassist Eberhard Webber as Gavin plays and bends his bass strings with a studied approach while ascending and descending the fretboard. And while the title track is as illuminating as a movie soundtrack, Berceuse creates the mood like that of a master painter choosing the appropriate pastel to perfect the piece. From his nifty finger-style on Repulse Monkey to the dramatic Reliquary and charming Noteworthy Praise, Gavin creates the perfect bridge between performer and listener where his wonderful flow creates the most brilliant feelings across styles and sounds.
4 and 1/2 stars
Steve Scott / the Waikato Times
It's difficult not to think of Nigel Gavin as something of a minstrel for the new millennium. There is something at once medieval and contemporary in the seven-string acoustic he wields; likewise, the music he wrings from it has elements of the most diverse genres while being impossible to collect under any rubric, except perhaps that of narrative.
This reviewer has always been a strict believer in the concept that a song should stand alone with, at most, its title and possibly lyrics to guide the listener towards its meaning. If a composition needs an explanatory addendum, it has failed in some measure. Thrum is a sterling verification of this rule-even without the liner notes, the music weaves a multi-sensory spell that superbly evokes the subject matter, right down to the texture of the ground beneath the protagonist's feet. The sinister Nebuchadnezzar, teeming with megalomaniac paranoia, or A Connecticut Yankee In The Court Of King Arthur, featuring an intro of a knight in rusty armour, are perfect examples of this. Nevertheless, it must be said that the additional information on the songs does make for interesting reading, and adds an additional highlight through the music that is welcome, if not crucial.
Aside from the unbelievable flailing (Gavin has no qualm with applying 'electric' techniques such as tapping or sweep to his music), one of the big eyebrow-raisers about this album is that all the songs are one-takers. Nonchalant in production but not in results, Gavin's songs-some recorded in his kitchen, some in a New Zealand studio-transport the listener to a space as rooted in fantasy as it is in the familiar.
the Mosquito, Yezidi Circle, waiting for Seniah
GUITARIST AUSTRALIA #4
Nigel Gavin’s wittily titled, long-overdue album under his own name
Music for Flem: Volume 11, the first of three, makes overt references to Eno’s Music For Films albums and follows much the same ethic: soundtracks for imagined and imaginary movies. Over 16 tracks using mandolin, loops, guitars, banjos, a flower pot and other instruments, Gavin conjures up images of dark alleys behind a funky poolhall (the Waitsean Bugnuts and Beefcake), moonrise over a forest (Aspiration), what he appropriately calls “a spaghetti eastern” (dodi Li), a hypnotic rippling of repeated guitar figures (Bass Grain), some 80’s casino-lounge swing (Sving-ing-ing!), a cheerful morning on a warm pacific beach (Glad Tidings) and much more. Whatever you imagine, in fact. Lots of information here.
Graham Reid/The NZ Herald
Ode records Cat No.dvdmanu 8005
When I wrote the liner notes for Nigel Gavin's excellent Visitation album from late 06 I described him as "a musician without portfolio, a guitarist/composer whose work comfortably commands many different styles".
Confirming that assessment were the list of people/bands he had worked with to that point: the Nairobi Trio, the Jews Brothers, the guitar orchestra Gitbox Rebellion he founded, Robert Fripp, Lorina Harding, Whirimako Black . .
But I also said that Gavin was under-represented by a sound solo album - and that's what Visitation was.
Now comes this up-close and in-concert DVD beautifully shot by Wellington film-maker Costa Botes whose previous work has included Struggle No More (the superb doco of New Zealand's least ambitious band, the Windy City Strugglers), and a profile in music of bluesman Dave Murphy which appeared at Elsewhere previously.
Botes also captured the spirited Hobnail Boots and the Shot Band live at Paramount in Wellington.
Botes knows how to shoot musicians, he gets out of their way and takes the viewer in close. Watching his films you rarely sense the presence of the film-maker, but you certainly get a feel for the artist and the music.
This live showng by Gavin before a small and attentive audience is about as intimate as it can get without you actually being there. And oddly enough sometimes you forget that Gavin is also there, his music seems to have come from the air and gone directly to the fingers on the neck of the guitar.
Beautifully shot and scrupulously recorded, what you get is astonishing acoustic music from a man who draws from many musical genres and sources to create something his own.
rattle Cat No.RAT- D001
Remastered and looking extremely tasteful in a sumptuous digi pack, this remarkable New Zealand album has been re-released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of what is undoubtedly the countryĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s finest art-music label, Rattle Records. Gitbox Rebellion came about primarily through Nigel Gavin and a workshop piloted by this masterful guitarist. This is an acoustic guitar-driven album, the likes of which you have never heard before, unless you already owned an original worn down copy or perhaps their follow up release, Ă˘â‚¬ËśTouch WoodĂ˘â‚¬â„˘. The nine-strong ensemble comprising Gavin at the helm, also includes Kim Halliday, (these days a member of the successful Pacific Curls), Tim Gummer (a Rattle Records founder) and Jonathon Pease. This buoyant and spirited album draws influences from Latin to classical, rock to minimalism and avant-garde. The playing throughout is stunning. The tightly structured pieces all performed on steel string acoustic guitars is breathtakingly beautiful. With close links to Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists, the guitar craft influences are clearly to be heard and enjoyed. Directed and arranged by Gavin it was superbly produced by Gummer. If you missed it 20 years ago then itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s time to get a copy.
Carolina Moon/featuring Nigel Gavin
Ode Records Cat No.CDMANU5109
Followers of Auckland-based jazz singer Carolina Moon will get an inspiring surprise when absorbing the songs on Mother Tongue.
From jazz, Moon has turned her focus to songs of the Sephardic Jews of Spain. 1492 is the year which marks the expulsion of the Jews from Catholic Spain and the Spanish Diaspora. When they left they took only what they could carry, together with their faith, culture and songs.
Moon may now be singing songs of centuries past, but with a most delicate band, including ace guitarist Nigel Gavin and Moon's husband Roger Manins on saxophone and clarinets, and this music sounds contemporary.
Moon's beautiful phrasing and yearning combined with
the subtleties of the band transports one to another time and place. The journey is highly emotional.
Key tracks include La Sirena, which includes Gavin's virtuoso
acoustic approaches, Samsom's delicate hand-drum and Jessica Hindin's violin, Como La Rosa where Moon incorporates jazz phrasing and the rhythmic and percussive
A rich and rewarding recording.
Elkanah Music Cat No.SUT 198
A fine collection of contemporary gospel music.
Also features a DVD of this concert.
Atoll Cat No.ACD409
“American born, kiwi based composer Jonathan Besser has been working with the group Bravura for the past decade of his career. The six- piece ensemble takes from Jazz, classical and world music- mixing late night soundtrack scrapings with feisty Arabic and Turkish riffs. The music always contains grace. And it is always capable of leaping up and out at the audience at any moment. Here, cherry-picking from the group’s five studio Albums, we have a 17 track live performance that sees Besser’s gentle piano pieces make room for Nigel Gavin exquisite seven string guitar gymnastics. Miranda Adam’s electric violin and Tatiana Lanchtchikova’s accordion provide both beauty and muscle for the Melodies. And Peter Scott ( bass) and Yair Katz ( drums, percussion) guide and probe”
North and South magazine
Nigel Gavin and Richard Adams
Ode Cat No.manu 3004
My belief is that great music comes about by some kind of alchemy: it is the result of painstaking study, a rare mix of ingredients, the moment of inexplicable magic, a wondrous consequence revealed . . .
And of those elements the most underrated is painstaking study.
It has been over 20 years since I first saw violinist Richard Adams play and almost as many for guitarist Nigel Gavin. In the intervening period they have worked like few other New Zealand musicians, crafting their art in rehearsal rooms and recording studios, and presented their magic in concert halls and to festival audiences at home and in Europe.
They have played in separate ensembles -- Gavin most notably with Robert Fripp -- and brought other experiences to their music: Adams is a gifted painter whose work has been exhibited internationally and who believes the visual and musical sides of his personality each set the other on fire.
Yet when they play together -- as they have done for many years in the popular Nairobi Trio -- there is that rare alchemy at work where each inspires the other, where melodies can twist on an emphasis, and the improvisation is instinctively taken in a new and rewarding direction.
What always surprised me having observed and enjoyed their separate or entwined careers was why they never recorded a duet album: the evidence suggested that something unique was just waiting be plucked out of the ether.
Now that the album (with a modestly understated title I might add) has arrived there is of course understandable trepidation: would -- indeed could? -- high expectation be matched.
Then again, given the experience, mutual respect and sensitivity, and musical intelligence these two players possess, how could it not?
And from the vigorous, challenging and ever-evolving eight-minute opener through to the hypnotically atmospheric closer Wellington Harbour written by Jonathan Besser (who joins them on piano for this and the dramatic, woozily romantic Roundhead), this is an album of pure magic born of that instant between thought and expression.
Catch Adams plucking the strings with pointillist precision on Sacred Hill; listen to the swirling urgency of the appropriately entitled Deal With It where each player seems to goad and needle the other into even sharper statements; be seduced by the earthy elegance of Daisy Chain or the cheeky percussive effects on the sprightly Shelf Life; grab if you can Gavin’s merest hints of Hawaiian music or acoustic funk (or when he betrays a sure knowledge of rock); and everywhere admire the wit, intelligence and sense of confidence that brings this album to life.
This is improvised music -- mostly all first take, no overdubs -- and as with an Adams’ abstract painting it alludes to so much more than itself: here are elements of gypsy swing; a deserted marketplace at night somewhere in an ancient Arabia of the imagination; music for a stately European drawing room or a lively winebar . . .
It must take something special and rare for Richard Adams and Nigel Gavin to produce music of such diversity yet coherence, to play at the top of their game but leave room for the other, to be a master of an instrument yet let it have its own voice.
I am certain it is alchemy.
-- Graham Reid,
"Incredibly, wonderfully intelligent!"
famous blue raincoat/Wayne Gillespie Rob Grosser
wayward music Cat No.na
All original tunes from this sydney based ensemble.
Nigel on electric guitars and banjo. Also features Brendan Power on harmonica and Rick Robertson on saxes.
jayrem Cat No.BRPCD009
An album of Dylan tunes done in the unique style of Kokomo.
Nigel featured on all but 3 of the tracks.
attar Cat No.attar1003
Ecstasy Besser and Bravura
Prolific American-born, New Zealand-based composer Jonathan Besser returns with Ecstasy – a beguiling mix of classical musical forms and world music. Bravura is a unit that evokes the gypsy spirit one minute, touching on the minimalism and after-midnight delicacy of Mike Nock the next. This nine-track cycle (inspired by the love poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi) is not at all impenetrable. The music wafts from the speakers, Miranda Adams’ haunting violin playing the lead one moment, master guitarist Nigel Gavin twisting the mood at times; Tatiana Lanchtchikova’s accordion and Besser’s own piano provide the glue. Touches of jazz float by, the modern classical feel is never so heavy as to alienate casual listeners and the playing is exquisite. In a decade of listening to Besser’s various projects this is my favourite so far – here’s hoping it achieves a wider audience.
Trip to the Moon
jazzscore Cat No.CD001
Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie with guests
Nigel Gavin, Greg Johnson Jim Langebeer and Johnny Fleury
johnathan besser and co
museum music: precious legacy and Nui Tireni feature Nigel Gavin.
global roots music Cat No.CM001
Sumptuous contemporary Jazz from
Caroline Lynn: vocals
Roger Manins: Sax
Kevin Field: piano
Oliver Holland: bass
Chris o'Conner: drums
Hershal : accordion
Nigel produced and played on this release.
Lorinas second award winning CD features "Nigel all over it like a rash!"
Whiri's mystical music with Russel Walder producing. Nigel features on guitars, glissentar and "science projects".
Wayne Gillespie and Nigel Gavin
Wayward Music Cat No.WM006
Now this is a treat for the folk music devotee. Released last year, it was recorded live at ‘The Bunker’ in Auckland’s Devonport in 2003, with engineering by Steve Garden. The nuances of a live folk performance are faithfully captured while managing a clarity of
recording that makes for a comfortable listen. Gillespie and Gavin both boast a fairly comprehensive CV in the New Zealand folk scene, and although Gillespie now resides in Sydney, he makes frequent trips home to perform. Other contributors to this effort are Caitlin Smith on vocals and Tony Waine on bass. The track listing is a selection of songs sampled from many years of writing and playing, and range from some rather intense minor-keyed efforts such as Gabriel Street, to the satirical So Trendy. This is true folk quality music, not a sniff of synthesis, expertly played, and with obvious audience rapport. A fine listen
the Nairobi Trio
Manu Cat No.Manu 1338
The trio's first release. Live in studio versions of classic jazz tunes with a twist. Originally a cassette only release.
manu Cat No.manu 1432
sophmore release by the trio. A combo of more standards and what would become the begining of an increasing original direction for the group with songs like Gavin's Sacred Hill.
First self release by the trio on their own Zulu label. This being an all original CD. Soon to be classic Trio songs like Shelf life, Firth of forth and the epic Conical intrigue at hanmer springs.
The second live album consisting of material from all the preceding CD's including some new favorites like "East of Eden".
the Jews Brothers
The first jews bros album, sort of live. The original line up including Harmen Heilkema, John Radford and Kelvin Gapper.
Features the hit Bie Mir bistu shein.
The Jews Brothers
second release considered by many to be the best, featuring Neill Duncan on saxe's percussions and production skills. Nigel shines on an old Telecaster and electric mandolin.
the jews Brothers
the now legendary controversial "real" live cd from the jews bros.
Recorded in a day in the braeburn studios kitchen. Featuring Egypt, penned by Arif Usmani. Nigel on the Williams 12 string mandolin.A collectors item.
the jews Brothers
Fourth CD, All original material excepting for 1 tune. Nigel featuring on the 11 string glissentar.
Besser & Bravura
atoll Cat No.acd 200
first release of the group to become Bravura.Also features The Precious Legacy Suite.
atoll Cat No.acd 302
Featuring the Vocals of Jackie Clarke and drumming of Don McGlashan. Lyrics provided by the Sufi poet Rumi. This CD most closely sounds like the band live in concert.
Bravura and Friends
unsung Cat No.unsung 109
Very rare release showing the divers range of music this ensemble can play. First release of the famous "Gam Jams".
rattle Cat No.rat do13
Very subdued material, primaraly improvised. "Quiet but scary"!
The Blue Bottom Stompers
bbs Cat No.bbs 102
First of three Cd's by the legendary BBS. Featuring Neill Duncan on sax'es & Lees Broadbent on vocals. Where True Rock began!
Recorded live at the viaduct in auckland.
The Blue Bottom Stompers
bbs Cat No.bbs 103
The Stompers Live at the auckland folk festival. Featuring Harmen Hielkema on Tea Chest Bass. A collectors item!
The Blue Bottom Stompers
bbs Cat No.bbs 104
The third and so far final live cd featuring Will Sargisson on piano and Caitlin Smith on Mood Indigo. Running wild!!
rattle / DGM Cat No.rat doo5/ DGM 9511
The all guitar line up infused with cello, violin, flute and tabla. Released worldwide on Robert Fripps DGM label.
rattle Cat No.rat DOO3
Nigel's tune contlinental Drift featuring gitbox rebellion members. Also many tracks by some of NZ's greatest living composers!
Robert Fripp & the League of Crafty Guitarists
EG Cat No.EEG 2102-2
First comercial release for the League. Featuring Nigel's "A Connecticut Yankee In the Court of King Arthur".
Robert Fripp & the League of Crafty Guitarists
DGM Cat No.DGM 9502
Recorded live in Europe. Features 3 of Nigel's compositions.
Now out of print but available to download from DGM:
Last Man Down
Ode Cat No.CDODE 1290
The Last from the Last! Ross Mullins unique take on NZ life and people. Features the original version of "Where Fairburn Walked".
Ross Mullins and the Snaps
ODE Cat No.CD Manu 1526
More songs about NZ.
Red Shaver Cat No.RS 101
New Zealand Poets put to music featuring Caitlin Smith.