Roger Manins

Roger Manins

Roger Manins is a rare find in New Zealand jazz. Regarded as "an outstandingly gifted musician with a passionate sound, remarkable instrumental ability and total musical integrity”, few would disagree that Roger is a blistering force in a new generation of highly talented jazz artists.

Roger plays with a passionate, virtuosic, New York-inspired sensibility forged from a depth of tradition and tempered by an openness to change. His music speaks with a tenderness and authority that will appeal to generations of jazz lovers. Reuben and Mostyn are two of New Zealand’s most exciting emerging players, and this beautifully transparent recording shows all three musicians at their best.

Roger Manins on Trio

My path of growth took me from Waiuku (South Auckland) to Wellington (1990), then to Sydney for seven years, New York for two and a half years, then back to Sydney for another four or five years. I returned to NZ mid 2004 when my daughter Millicent came along.


I was based in Wellington in 2005, and was looking for musicians to form a trio. I have always love the Saxophone Trio format, and was on the lookout for players who had the potential to meet my expectations in this highly creative format, players with exceptional ears, great sound, highly creative, OPEN, great technique and firmly rooted in Jazz tradition. I also wanted people I could get along with, who could have a joke while still being totally passionate about the music. I first heard Mostyn at the Christchurch 2004 Jazz Festival. I sat in on a jam session with him on bass. I can still hear him now; warm sound, great ideas, feel, and ears (I don’t think he knew all the tunes that were called, but he heard the changes pretty quick). I knew then that Mostyn was the bass player I wanted to work with after that. Now I needed a drummer.

One night I did a gig at the Lido and Reuben Bradley was on drums. He played with such energy and commitment that I knew I had my man, so I got them together, and we rehearsed. We rehearsed many times a week all year, and did many gigs. We went to Australia twice, and played the Wangeratta international jazz festival. We played and played, and composed, and talked about the music we were making, refining and building empathy. When I play with these guys I feel at home. I feel comfortable and uncomfortable. I feel that I am playing with musicians who are listening, not just to me, but to the music. The music is our master.


I like real music. I am not opposed to studio recordings, but like albums where the music was actually played in front of an audience. I don’t mind “mistakes” either — well there is no such thing — just what happened, whether you and/or the audience like it or not. I record a lot of concerts, always looking for a great night, and many are, but this one especially.


Graham Reid on Trio:

Opening an album with a 20 minute piece of ever-changing moods, deft rhythms and sometimes surreptitious saxophone is a clear statement of intent. It says these people -- the label and the musicians -- are serious!


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