The Chris Mason-Battley Group

The Chris Mason-Battley Group   

Chris Mason-Battley (saxophones)
David Lines (keyboards)
Sam Giles (bass)
Steve Thomas (drums)



The Chris Mason-Battley Group has a well-established reputation for pushing the borders of the jazz genre, both in their appetite for cross-genre collaboration and in their pursuit of new approaches to creating improvised jazz.

Formed in 1998, the band has recorded four albums and performed at numerous Jazz and Arts Festivals. Their first two albums, Karakia and Unspoken, achieved considerable success on the pioneer international music download site, CMB Group were the most downloaded NZ artist on the site and ranked #2 in the jazz genre for the whole of the site.

Their third album, Two Tides (2006), was a collaboration with taonga puoro master Richard Nunns, the groups first release for Rattle. The focus of the album, and many of their subsequent performances, was to explore the similarities and differences between taonga puoro and European jazz through a collaborative, improvisational approach to composition. The album was well received both critically and commercially, and remains a highly-regarded addition to the Rattle catalogue.

CMB Group and Richard Nunns successfully performed music from Two Tides at various events held at the University of Waikato (2005) and University of Auckland (2006), Wellington Fringe 2006, the 2006 Nelson Festival of the Arts, the 2006 Tauranga Jazz Festival, Te Papa Matariki 06, and Auckland Fringe 2009.

Dialogos – the music of John Psathas is conceptually (and in its delivery) the strongest work that the CMB Group has undertaken to date. Dialogos continues the collaborative approach undertaken on Two Tides by interpreting exceptional music of John Psathas through group improvisation. CMB Group has spent the two years developing this work before it was recorded, an often demanding process of finding effective ways to engage deeply with John's music in a way that both honoured the skilful compositional core of each work while creating space and opportunity for both creative freedom and artistic rigour.


the band

Chris Mason-Battley (BA, Dip Devt Stud, Dip Tchng)
Soprano, Alto + Tenor Saxophones, Akai Electric Wind Instrument, Sampling

Chris leads CMBG, was the cofounder with pianist Alan Brown of the successful Jazz-Funk group ‘Blue Train’ and has recorded and performed with a number of other artists including: Manos Achalinotopolous, New Zealand School of Music Big Band (Auckland), Dan Sperber, KINA.

David Lines (BMus - Piano Performance, Dip Tchng, MEd, PHD)
Piano, Keyboards

David Lines is a lecturer and researcher in Music Education at the School of Music, University of Auckland. David teaches in a range of contexts from undergraduate music students through to PhD and DMA. David has performed and recorded with a number of NZ artists such as Neon Quaver, Brendan Power, Spargo and the Pacific Jazz Arts Ensemble.

Sam Giles

Sam has performed and recorded with a number of NZ artists including Harry Himself, Spargo, Streetcar, New Pacific Music Ensemble, The Brassouls, Jim Langabeer and Trudy Lile.

Stephen Thomas (BMus 1st Class Honours – Jazz Performance)
Drums, Tuned + Untuned Percussion, Drum Sampling

Stephen has recorded and performed with a wide range of NZ artists, including: Nathan Haines, Avalanche City, Tama Waipara, Lisa Crawley, Bella Kalolo, Seth Haapu, Joel Haines, Caitlin Smith, Andy Smith, Black Sand Diva, Lewis McCallum, Spacifix and the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra.