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I interviewed Natalia Mann after the release of her very successful Rattle album ‘Pacif’ist’ and since then we have kept in touch .  Improvising harp players are a rare commodity, but things are slowly changing.  This year the Columbian harpist Edmar Castaneda won a major Jazz poll.  Natalia is simply killing at whatever she undertakes but her new trio brings her squarely into the jazz orbit.   Having gained a considerable reputation playing with various symphony orchestras and after undertaking a number experimental music projects, she is more than ready to enhance her improvisational credentials.   She has recently been playing to critical acclaim at Mediterranean Jazz festivals and this video clip was made for the AKBANK Jazz festival in Istanbul.  Her compositions are beguiling and exotic, while retaining an elusive mysterious quality.   This is music that leaves you wanting more.

Natalia is of Samoan Kiwi extraction but for some years she has lived in Istanbul.  She’s married to the Turkish percussionist Izzet Kizil who appears in the clip below.  She was most recently the recipient of the ‘ARts Pacifica’ award in her hometown of Wellington.  Having recently studied Jazz at Skopje University she is now engaging frequently with the improvising world.   This stunningly beautiful piece swings to its own pulses and rhythms; aided by solid bass work from Dine Donneff (Greece) and the perfectly executed percussion of husband Izzet Kitil (Turkey).

I have promised to take her to the CJC next time she is in Auckland and just maybe if we are lucky, we could talk her into performing?

Natalia is in Marseilles at present and she sent me this clip of her new Jazz trio a few days ago.   Kiwi musicians certainly do well in the world.

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