Alan Broadbent – unsung New Zealand hero

The All Music Guide has called New Zealand born jazz musician Alan Broadbent:

An unsung hero of acoustic piano.

Broadbent has played with, and composed and arranged music for, some the greats of the jazz world – Woody Herman, Chet Baker, Natalie Cole and Scott Hamilton among them.

He has visited New Zealand a number of times and on one occasion I was privileged enough to hear him at the Christchurch Town Hall. Judging by this one performance I could only call him a virtuoso. The complexity and grace of his improvisations left me quite stunned. He does indeed deserve to be much better known.

Fortunately the library can provide you with a chance to get to know our hero’s work through both CDs and via our streamed music resource Music Online. On The Jazz Music Library (part of Music Online) his albums cover genres from Bop to Smooth Jazz, Fusion and Contemporary, while our CDs are mostly of his own trio or collaborations with artists like Mel Torme and Michael Feinstein.

Try Ballad Impromptu composed by Alan Broadbent and played by The Alan Broadbent Trio from the Album Personal Standards

Out of this world Kiwi music

Some songs just make you feel good, don’t they? I first heard  Heavenly Pop Hit when I was studying Broadcasting Communications at CPIT. I was on work experience at the TVNZ studios on Gloucester Street watching the production team put together segments for What Now!  They ran the video and everyone started singing along. I remember jellyfish swimming in an amorphous mass of green and blue and feeling wow, this is great! It was a heavenly moment.

Heavenly Pop Hit

The Chills was formed by singer/songwriter Martin Phillips in 1980 after the demise of his punk band The Same. The Chills experienced Kiwi chart success throughout the 80s and 90s with hits such as Pink Frost and I Love my Leather Jacket and was one of the first bands to embody the Dunedin sound. Phillips has been the only member to stay with the band to the present day. The most recent album released by the Chills was Stand By in 2004 and they performed in Australia in 2010.

To create a zippy ending to this blog, I tried to sum up how I feel about great Kiwi music but the words were beyond me. I’ll just leave it to the master:

So I stand as the sound goes straight through my body,
I’m so bloated up, happy, and I throw things around me.
And I’m growing in stages, and have been for ages,
Just singing and floating and free.
Martin Phillips – Heavenly Pop Hit (1988)