Waggle Dance - released 01 Jan 17
Nigel Gavin
Thrum kitchens Cat No.Thrum 04

Nigel Gavin: Waggle Dance (Thrum)

Any album with “music for the 7-string guitar” on the cover invites a Spinal Tapcomment: “It's one more”. But Gavin's music has been so consistently impressive – and impressively diverse -- that you relegate frivolity immediately. You simply immerse yourself in his very considerable playing and compositional gifts which here allude to Indian microtones, Spanish styles, gentle ballads, deconstructed/reconstructed folk-cum-art music and many more hyphenated genres besides.

And sometimes they can all co-exist and morph with in the same piece, as on the eight minute opener Goldilocks which, after a delightfully understated melody about 90 seconds in turns on its heel into thick and savage chords before coiling back again. It is a cleverly circular piece which takes you a journey of unexpected twists, and sets you up for the enjoyable challenges to follow.

Elsewhere Gita is a chiming and thoughtful exploration of the interface between East and West; the title track is as witty and wiggly as its name suggests; A Benevolent Presence is wonderfully respectful ballad; Rose Hips nudges towards the funky . . .

Through his understated virtuosity, wide and deep musicality, and wit with wisdom, Nigel Gavin remains one of the most gifted guitarists in this country. So much so, it is a surprise he continues to live here when he is so much in demand elsewhere. And at Elsewhere.
Graham Ried

4.5 stars
In one context or another, Nigel Gavin has been a fixture in the Auckland live music scene since the transplanted American found himself here in the mid-1980s, at various times adding the necessary guitar ballast to outfits as diverse as The Jews Brothers, The Nairobi Trio and the undersung Gitbox Rebellion.
It’s in his solo guise that Gavin’s astonishing virtuosity and artistry becomes clear, however. Waggle Dance is his fourth solo album of improvisation-based instrumentals, and if there was any justice he’d win a meddle for it. Subtitled ‘Music For 7-Sting Guitar’ (I’m not sure if that’s a typographical error or a play on words), Waggle Dance comprises nine tracks of simply gobsmacking fret-work work.
Where many solo guitarists let set ideologies determine their approach, Gavin’s combinatorial style ensures that the sacred and profane, the melodic and experimental, and the structured and spontaneous all happily co-exist. While his playing is technically astonishing, there’s not a lick of self-aggrandising indulgence, and his captivating compositions always allow just enough adventure to keep it compelling, but not too much to scare away the slightly timid.
Nigel Gavin may be ‘a musician’s musician’, but it’s dull even considering this as simply a solo guitar recording, because it’s really the kind of album you play loud, and get lost in the textures and overtones and the haunting, yet at times gentle melodic cadence.
Gary Steel
Metro magazine
available at usual iTunes, Cd baby, etc.

Visitation - released 16 Feb 07
Nigel Gavin
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

Nigel Gavin
Cat No.ThrumCD002

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.
Standout tracks:
the Mosquito, Yezidi Circle, waiting for Seniah

Music for Flem II
Nigel Gavin
Cat No.thrumcd001

Nigel Gavins wittily titled, long-overdue album under his own name
Music for Flem: Volume 11, the first of three, makes overt references to Enos 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 80s 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

A Job With The Circus
Nigel Gavin
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.

Graham Reid

Gitbox rebellion - released 04 Apr 21


Gitbox, Curveball - released 17 Mar 21
Gitbox Rebellion
Rattle Cat No.RAT-D110

Witch doctor review of Curveball launch:
Being serenaded by a virtuoso on acoustic guitar is like a warm hug. But eight guitarists? It’s a veritable embrace of angels; a visceral and enthralling thrum that deeply resonates your insides.

I’ve been in awe of Gitbox Rebellion since their inception in the late 1980s but never managed to see them live. Founded by stringed-instrument maestro and everyone’s favourite Long Islander-turned-local Nigel Gavin, they released two albums in the ’90s before disbanding to pursue multiple other projects, then reformed in 2017 with four original members and four newbies.

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To the audience’s delight, Nigel announced the release of their new album Curveball on stage at the Civic. Its title track is aptly named: the composition plays out like a game of catch, each musician throwing notes in a cleverly orchestrated sequence. This hocketing technique is complex, captivating and a great workout for the ears.

Visually too, it’s a sight to behold 16 hands dexterously strumming, fretting, fingerpicking, trading eights and having a bundle of fun doing it, communicating with the slightest of smiles, nods and raised eyebrows.

The new Gitbox album, Curveball
Many of their originals build to a melodic (and sometimes dissonant) crescendo and a beautiful crash of chords. There are elements of jazz, avant-garde, classical and folk – safe to say Gitbox have carved their own niche in the modern musicology of Aotearoa, albeit inspired by Nigel’s involvement in Robert Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists of the late ’80s, which spawned other iterations of Guitar Craft ensembles and teachings worldwide using Fripp’s unique alternative tuning.

Like Griffin’s Assorted Sampler, Gitbox covered various styles in their repertoire, from bluesy guitar boogie to the Charlie Brown theme tune of the ’60s, from the gypsy jazz swing of Nigel’s ‘Sacred Hill’, which he used to perform in the Nairobi Trio, to the jazz fusion of Jeff Beck and John McLaughlin. Plus the encore we were all hoping for: Morricone’s ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’.

Even though we could have enjoyed another hour of expertly articulated arpeggiating, the presentation was perfectly formed and left you wanting to explore more. Conveniently, Curveball is available now and comes with a live concert disc.

Francis Chan

Pesky Digits/Remastered anniversary edtion - released 03 Nov 11
Gitbox Rebelliion
rattle Cat No.RAT- D001

NZ Musician
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 country’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, ‘Touch Wood’. 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 it’s time to get a copy.
Michael Flynn

Mother Tongue - released 10 Mar 11
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
Tres Hermanicas.

A rich and rewarding recording.
Steven Scott
Waikato times

Cataclysm - released 10 Jan 11
Jules Riding
Elkanah Music Cat No.SUT 198

A fine collection of contemporary gospel music.
Also features a DVD of this concert.

Decadence live - released 01 Feb 10
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 groups five studio Albums, we have a 17 track live performance that sees Bessers gentle piano pieces make room for Nigel Gavin exquisite seven string guitar gymnastics. Miranda Adams electric violin and Tatiana Lanchtchikovas 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

Recent Works - released 27 Jun 09
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 Gavins 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!"
National Radio

Famouse Blue Raincoat - released 24 Sep 08
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.

Kokomo, In The Well - released 28 Jun 08
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.

Ecstacy - released 16 Jan 08
attar Cat No.attar1003

Ecstasy Besser and Bravura
Simon Sweetman
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 Lanchtchikovas accordion and Bessers 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 Bessers various projects this is my favourite so far heres hoping it achieves a wider audience.

Welcome to the Big Room - released 20 Oct 07
Trip to the Moon
jazzscore Cat No.CD001

Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie with guests
Nigel Gavin, Greg Johnson Jim Langebeer and Johnny Fleury

precious legacy - released 01 Oct 07
johnathan besser and co

museum music: precious legacy and Nui Tireni feature Nigel Gavin.

East of the Sun - released 11 Apr 07
Carolina Moon
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: guitar

Songs from down the Line / Richard Watt
Richard Watt

Nigel produced and played on this release.

Clean Break / Lorina Harding
global routes

Lorinas second award winning CD features "Nigel all over it like a rash!"

Kura Huna / Whirimako Black
Mai music

Whiri's mystical music with Russel Walder producing. Nigel features on guitars, glissentar and "science projects".

Live at the Bunker with Wayne Gillespie
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 Aucklands 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 Live
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.

Through the Clouds / Nairobi Trio
nairobi trio
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.

Shelf Life / Nairobi Trio
Nairobi Trio
Zulu zcd001

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.

Live at the McDonald Winery / Nairobi Trio
Nairobi trio
Zulu zcd002

The second live album consisting of material from all the preceding CD's including some new favorites like "East of Eden".

The Jew Brothers live at Gerhards
the Jews Brothers
rouge records

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.

My Yiddish Swing
The Jews Brothers
rouge records

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 Braeburn album
the jews Brothers
rouge records

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.

Too much Talent
the jews Brothers
rouge records

Fourth CD, All original material excepting for 1 tune. Nigel featuring on the 11 string glissentar.

Mr. Darwin's Dances
Besser & Bravura
atoll Cat No.acd 200

first release of the group to become Bravura.Also features The Precious Legacy Suite.

You Got Your Wish
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.

Music for Peace vol. one
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"!
Highlight "resolution".

New Orleans Gumbo Jazz-Live
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.

"But is it Folk?"
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!

Live on Waiheke Island Jazz festival
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!!

Touch Wood
Gitbox Rebelliion
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.

Different Tracks
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!

Show of Hands
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".

Intergalactic Boogie Express
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:

Parting Shots
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".

King of the Mercuries
Ross Mullins and the Snaps
ODE Cat No.CD Manu 1526

More songs about NZ.

Ross Mullins
Red Shaver Cat No.RS 101

New Zealand Poets put to music featuring Caitlin Smith.