Reuben Bradley

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Mantis: the music of Drew Menzies

Drew Menzies (composer)
Reuben Bradley (producer & project coordinator)
John Psathas (arranger)

Reuben Bradley (drums)
Matt Penman (acoustic bass)
James Illingworth (piano)
Roger Manins (saxophone)
Helene Pohl (violin)
Douglas Beilman (violin)
Gillian Ansell (viola)
Rolf Gjelsten (cello)


MANTIS is a celebration of the music and memory of Drew Menzies. These recordings are by no means definitive. They are an example of how open Drew’s compositions are, and a representation of the collective response to his music from the assembled musicians and arrangers.

Reuben Bradley’s vision for this project was so infectious that each collaborator were willing to take time out of their busy (in some cases crushing) schedules to freely support Reuben’s aspirations. The results speak for themselves – warm, lucid, generous performances, captured and presented with great affection and skill. But the primary motivation for their unconditional support for the project was the memory and music of a much loved and dearly missed friend.

“In 2007, Drew and I talked about the huge scope possible in arranging for string quartet and jazz quartet. Searching for a way to bring recognition to Drew and his music, I remembered our discussions and decided that his music would suit such arrangements – a fantastic way to showcase both his jazz & classical sides.” – Reuben Bradley.

“After Andrew left for America, we found several hand written manuscripts in our rubbish bin at home – these were all recovered and have been included on the recording. We are both pleased and proud to know that people will get to hear Andrew’s music due to the dedication and commitment of his friends.” – Glenda & Peter Menzies


RAT-J-1014 (November, 2012)

Produced by Reuben Bradley
Recorded by Richard Caigo at the New Zealand School of Music
Mixed and mastered by Steve Garden at the Garden Shed 
Design by UnkleFranc

  Mantis: the music of Drew Menzies
  Reuben Bradley  

    Meeting at Union Square (6:54)
    I've Got Nothing Good to Say (8:02)
    Laura's Laksa (7:01)
    Ladies Man (7:54)
    9 Out of 10 Out of Its (4:31)
    Mansfield (Street) (7:41)
    Mantis & Muscles (5:07)
    Man's Life (7:56)
    Oh Lord! (9:53)

Click here to view and download the album booklet



Drew Menzies 
Drew Menzies had an extremely full and diverse career. In his 31 years he had performed and studied both extensively and internationally. Formal education from Victoria University resulted in a Bachelor of Music as well as a Graduate Diploma in Arts, before leading on to a Master of Music from Pennsylvania State University, USA. As a Classical musician Drew performed widely with The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, New Zealand Opera, Altoona Symphony (US), Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra (US) and Key West Symphony (US). Importantly, he also performed with STROMA on the John Psathas composition PHYSYGYSM, performing parts composed especially for him.

As a Jazz musician, Drew performed and recorded with McCoy Tyner (US), John Riley (US), David Paquette (US), Colin Hemmingsen (NZ), Reuben Bradley (NZ) & Charmaine Ford (NZ). His abilities as a sympathetic bass player enabled him to branch out to more commercial realms, recording with Apollo 10 (NZ) and Philadelphia Hip Hop artists Black Science Orchestra (US). Not only limiting himself to these incredibly different disciplines, Drew applied his skills playing live to air on many TV shows including McFale and Gadsby Show, the Gong Show, Showcase & McDonalds Young Entertainers.

A committed educator, Drew had a passion for passing on knowledge. Teaching at Penn State University, he instructed not only their Evolution of Jazz Music 107 course, but was a Jazz Bass Lecturer and Big Band Director. In New Zealand he was a guest lecturer at Victoria University teaching Jazz History, and a substitute Jazz Bass tutor at Massey (NZSM) where he also held Master Classes annually.

Reuben Bradley
Reuben is one of New Zealand's most highly regarded jazz drummers and jazz educators. His drive and enthusiasm is infectious, and his musicianship is seemingly endlessly rich and joyful, with a fluidity, lucidity and depth that is inspirational. Native to Wellington, Reuben has travelled the world extensively performing jazz. As an accompanist for many international jazz performers such as Mike Nock (Aus), Bernie McGann (Aus), James Muller (Aus), James Morrison (Aus), Jim Pugh (US), as well as local stars Roger Manins, Tim Hopkins and Jonathan Crayford, Reuben is a drummer bent on developing his own groove. After studying with Master Jazz Drummer Barry Altschul in NYC, Reuben returned to New Zealand to write and record the album Resonator for Rattle Jazz, which won the Tui NZ Music Award for Jazz Album of the Year in 2011. After performing the music from Resonator throughout Australasia, he turned his focus to MANTIS.

Reuben is a full-time jazz musician, teaching at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington as well as performing, touring and writing original jazz. He also proudly endorses Paiste Cymbals and Pro-Mark Drum sticks.

John Psathas
John is New Zealand's most frequently performed composer. His music is energetic and vibrant, with an exuberance derived from his Greek heritage. In his music one can hear both the Western classical tradition as well as the kinetic enthusiasm found in rock, jazz and folk music.

NZ String Quartet
With its dynamic performing style, eloquent communication and beautiful sound, the New Zealand String Quartet has forged a major career in the busy international chamber music field, earning the acclaim of critics and the delighted response of audiences. The Quartet has particularly distinguished itself through imaginative programming, insightful interpretations of the string quartet repertoire including cycles of composers' music from Mozart to Berg, and the development of an international audience for important new works from New Zealand composers. Dedicated teachers as well as performers, the group has been quartet-in-residence at Victoria University of Wellington, now the New Zealand School of Music, since 1991.

Matt Penman
Matt hails from Auckland, New Zealand where he started playing bass at the age of 14. A scholarship from Berklee saw him move to the USA in 1994 and to New York soon after, where he maintains a busy performing, recording and teaching schedule. He is currently an established member of the SFJazz Collective, an 8–piece composer's collective devoted to presenting the original works of its members as well as arrangements by the band of a different jazz great's work every year, and James Farm with Joshua Redman, Aaron Parks and Eric Harland.

Roger Manins
Roger 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 he is a blistering force in a new generation of highly talented jazz artists. He plays with a New York-inspired sensibility forged from a depth of tradition and tempered by an openness to change. Roger's music speaks with a tenderness and authority that will appeal to generations of jazz lovers.

James Illingworth
James began piano lessons at the age of 6, studying predominantly classical music. After many years of tuition, James attended the Conservatorium of Music in Wellington, where he discovered a passion for jazz. Majoring in Jazz Piano Performance, James gained a Bachelor of Music and won a prestigious composition award. He is recognized as one of New Zealand’s leading pianists, not only in the jazz arena but as an accompanist, composer, session player, arranger, and as a performer who can effortlessly work within many genres.