The 30th of April 2012 has recently been designated World Jazz Day by UNESCO. This significant recognition of our music is great and we will be celebrating this in Auckland along with the worldwide Jazz Community.
The Jazz Journalists Association is actively celebrating this world event and as part of their programme, members have been asked to nominate a Local Jazz Hero. To follow events go to www.jjajazzawards.org/. Here in Auckland, New Zealand we have nominated Saxophonist, Jazz educator Roger Manins as our first Jazz Hero. Roger is also the programme director and co-founder of the not-for-profit ‘CJC ‘Creative Jazz Club of Aotearoa’ (along with his wife Carolina Moon and friend Ben McNicoll).
Roger has been nominated for a number of reasons. He is certainly one of New Zealand’s (and indeed Australasia’s) best tenor players and as such he is an inspiration to up and coming Jazz Musicians. Of equal importance though is his role as an educator and enabler. Roger lived and worked extensively in Australia for 10 years (he also lived in New York for 2 years), and even though he returned to NZ in 2004 he is still very much in demand across the Tasman, gigging and touring at regular intervals.
Roger teaches at the Auckland University School Of Music Jazz Programme. Anyone who listens to Roger will quickly identify him as a person with killer chops, but he also has the ability to tell a compelling story on his horn.
“He is an outstandingly gifted musician with a warmly passionate sound, remarkable instrumental ability and total musical integrity”. Mike Nock
This story telling in almost any given context draws listeners to him again and again – a skill that was very evident in the likes of Lester Young or Dexter Gordon, but which is not always evident in modern players. Roger can play convincingly in any Jazz genre from free through post bop to mainstream traditional.
Roger is often generous with his time when it comes to nurturing up-and-comers. He will encourage and push those who he thinks need that, while gently insisting that they meet the required standard. With lots of younger players coming out of the two local Jazz Schools, it is essential that they get this real-world feedback in a way that keeps them challenged but not discouraged.
Having a world-class venue is part of this mix and the CJC is just that. Its vision is to stimulate and encourage the development of excellence in the creative improvised / jazz scene, and as programme director, Roger ensures that the diversity of the music scene is represented. The gigs are varied every week and feature prominent ex-pat Kiwis and international artists as well as national and local talents. It is Roger’s connections with the wider scene and the esteem in which musicians hold him that helps to make this happen.
Finally, I want to mention his very Kiwi sense of humour, which is evident both on and off the bandstand. He often slips in sly jokes or asides when introducing acts and his You Tube videos on ‘How to Play Smooth Jazz’ are simply hilarious. These have a cult following in NZ and Australia and the tongue in cheek delivery is so convincing that pupils of smooth jazz sometimes contact him to seek instruction without realising that it is all a delicious joke.
Roger is in demand in both Australia and New Zealand as a tenor player, multi reeds and winds player. He has recorded on many albums as an essential sideman and also as leader. He is married to fellow musician Carolina Moon (Manins) and has a daughter Milli.
His discography and website is: www.rogermanins.com
Trio – Rattle Records 2010
Latitude – Roger Manins featuring Bernie McGann / Rufus Records (Aus) 2010
Roger Manins – Hip Flask Jazzgroove (Aus) 2002 / Ode Records (NZ) 2005
Recordings as Sideman
Andrew Dickerson Quintet – Weaver of Dreams
Resonator – Reuben Bradley
Carolina Moon – Mother Tongue
Phil Broadhurst – Delayed Reaction
Tom Dennison – Zoo
Solar – Bernie McGann Quintet featuring Roger Manins
James Muller Quartet -Thrum
Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra with Florian Ross – Dreamwheel Ashley Turner – Beautiful Open Spaces
Mike Nock’s Big Small Band – Live
Carolina Moon – East of the Sun
Andrew Atwill – 3 Sides of the Same Coin
Leonie Cohen Plus – Jerusalem
Simon Sweeney – Emerald CityBlues
Vaughn Roberts – Grrreat Stuff
Paul Dyne – Shelter of the Ti Tree
Jann Rutherford – The Scented Garden
Julie Mason – 12 O’ Clock Tales
Steve Hunter – Condition Human
Karen Hunter- Rubble
D Dub- Awake at Dawn
Trans Tasman – a journey into New Zealand music compilation CD
Pending Release, Manins/Muller/Nock/Bradley
Jazz Journalists Association / Jazz Local 32 (Blog)