Shark Variations

Shark Variations

Reuben Bradley



Reuben Bradley (drums)
Roger Manins (saxophone)
Brett Hirst (bass)

Reuben Bradley's fourth album for Rattle is his most relaxed and free-spirited recording to date.   

Recorded after their New Zealand tour in September 2016 (by Rattle's in-house engineer Steve Garden), Shark Variations is a recording made with complete freedom and sincerity. It was also made with love. Reuben, Roger, and Brett are not only three of the finest musicians working in Australasia today, they are very close friends, and their common accord is wholly evident in their shared musical language. Shark Variations is alive with vibrant energy, a joyful set of musical explorations of themes and ideas developed over many years.
Shark Variations can trace its roots back to one of Rattle's earliest improvising ensemble releases, Roger Manins' debut Rattle release Trio (2010), an album that in many respects helped to define Rattle's aspiration to document new works for improvising small-group ensembles in New Zealand. Like Trio, Shark Variations is unashamedly preoccupied with musical expression, and absolutely no concessions have been made to modifying, mediating, or neutering the demands of the music for the sake of lame preconceived notions about accessibility. And yet the music is as engaging and affirming in its fundamental humanity and honesty as you will find anywhere on the planet. This is music with great heart and ambition, and Rattle is proud to offer it to those who love good music for its own sake ... beautifully played, recorded, and presented for the simple pleasure of listening.




RAT-J-1034 (June, 2017)

Produced by Reuben Bradley
Recorded by Steve Garden, Auckland, September 2016
Mixed by Steve Garden and Reuben Bradley at Garden Shed Studio, Auckland, May 2017
Design by UnkleFranc
Cover artwork Vivid Blue #11 by Ivo Stoyanov (
Printing by Studio Q





01  Wairoa or LA (7:37)
02  Meeting at Union Square (10:03)
03  Circling in (2:52)
04  Don’t be afraid (8:10)
05  Choices (4:31)
06  Makos and Hammerheads (10:17) 07  Wake up call (9:22)

      Total playing time: 00:00

Track 1, 6 & 7 © Reuben Bradley, 2016
Track 2 © Drew Menzies, 2012
Track 3 & 5 © Reuben Bradley, Roger Manins, and Brett Hirst, 2016
Track 4 © R. Neilsen, T. Neilson, 2015
Huge thanks to Lori and Billie Bradley (best family ever, xox), Brett and Roger, Matt Steele, Ben Wilcock, Mike Bell, Charlotte Crone (and everyone at Orange), Ben McNicoll, Caroline Moon (and everyone at CJC), Jeremy Mayall (and everyone at Wintec), Ivan Muir (and everyone at Nivara Lounge), everyone at Ponsonby Road bar, B.O.P Polytech, Lauren Armstrong, Music Works New Zealand (especially Steve Davey), Tama Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Steve and Viky Garden, Carolyn van Hoeve, Norman Meehan, Mike Nock, John Psathas, and Tami Neilson.





Native to Wellington, Reuben Bradley has travelled the world extensively. Drumming with international jazz performers has developed his creativity and passion for new music, whilst international cruise ship work has empowered him with the versatility of a first rate session musician.

Formal education at Massey University (NZSM) culminated in his B.Mus (Jazz Performance 1999) led in turn to further individual study with rhythmic masters Scott Tinkler (Aus) and Master Jazz Drummer Barry Altschul in NYC. Although being awarded the greatly coveted position on the City College Masters course (NYC), Reuben decided in turn to focus on developing his performance abilities and compositional creativity.


Roger Manins is widely regarded one of the premier saxophonists in the Southern hemisphere. He performs regularly throughout New Zealand and Australia, and is featured on over 30 albums as a sideman, with six releases of his own. He is a senior lecturer at Auckland University, and is the creative director of CJC Creative Jazz Club Aotearoa. His playing is rooted in the jazz tradition and described as "that rarest of musician that manages to effortlessly marry tradition and individuality, swinging hard-bop with feisty modernism, with a sound that can once charm and excite".


Christchurch born Brett Hirst is one of New Zealand's most revered contemporary jazz bassists. He holds a Diploma of Jazz Studies from the Christchurch School of Jazz in New Zealand, and a Masters of Music (Performance) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia. Residing in Sydney since 1998, Brett maintains a busy performance and recording schedule with some of Australia’s premiere musicians, as well as international jazz and contemporary artists. His performance and recording credits include: Mike Nock, Mark Isaacs, Sandy Evans, Phil Slater, Matt McMahon, James Muller, James Morrison, Lior, Katie Noonan, Vince Jones, James Greening, Mara, Josh White Jr., Wendy Matthews, Sharon Shannon, Damien Leith, Mary Coughlan, Dominique Fillon, Greg Osby, Ricky Ford, Sheila Jordan, Sean Wayland and many more.


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