Saxophone treat from Haines

Last updated 14:31 04/04/2013
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HOT SAX: Nathan Haines’ new album is Vermillion Skies.

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Fresh from the New Zealand Music Awards win for best jazz album, Nathan Haines brings his album release show to the Nelson School of Music on Friday night.

One of New Zealand's premier jazz musicians and an internationally acclaimed saxophonist and vocalist, Haines' last album The Poet's Embrace debuted in the top 15 on the Official NZ Music Albums Top 40 chart, remained in the Top 20 for three weeks and received four and five-star reviews across the board. It won the Tui on March 31 at the National Jazz Festival in Tauranga.

The judges called it "a soulful throwback to classic jazz albums of old" and likened it to Miles Davis' classic 1959 work, Kind of Blue.

Haines began his career early and by the mid-80s he was playing in major international jazz festivals alongside his father, jazz bassist Kevin Haines.

His first solo album, 1994's Shift Left, won New Zealand Jazz Record of the Year and was certified gold.

His new album, Vermillion Skies, released last week, builds on the classic sound of The Poet's Embrace, but takes it further with the inclusion of a six-piece brass section made up of an unusual mix of two flugel horns, two French horns and two trombones.

"I wanted a Birth of the Cool sound for the brass section on this album," Haines says, referencing the classic Miles Davis album, which was opposite in sound to the blaring dance band trumpets popular of that time.

Vermillion Skies was mostly written in London where Haines and his wife, Jaimie, relocated last year, and recorded with producer Mike Patto at York St Studios in Parnell. Also lending their skills are pianist Kevin Field, drummer Alain Koetsier and acoustic bassist Ben Turua.

All the band performances were recorded together and captured via York St Studios' 1974 EMI Neve, and an array of vintage microphones.

To create reverb and echo, a live echo chamber was created from a speaker and stereo microphones in York St's vast wooden-ceilinged car park and a disused large upper room, with parts of the mix sent to naturally reverberate, then recorded and put back onto the final mix.

"That live reverb sound is something me and Mike have been dreaming about for years," Haines says. "On The Poet's Embrace, we used a vintage plate reverb, but this time we wanted that huge real sound of an echo in a room. It sounds amazing on everything."

  • Nathan Haines, Nelson School of Music, tomorrow night, 8pm. Tickets $45/$30 from the school, ph (03) 548 9477.

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