Young player scoops awards
Porirua teen Leonardo Coghini has scooped up more national music awards, this time at the New Zealand School of Music Jazz Festival High Schools Competition.
The young pianist performed in the competition at Wellington’s Town Hall on August 19 and 20, with his Jazz Trons band, and a larger ensemble, In The Now. Jazz students came from all over New Zealand and attended workshops with visiting jazz musicians.
While Jazz Trons did not pick up any awards, Coghini won best pianist and most outstanding musician at the festival, across all age groups and musical instruments.
The Ranui Heights 14-year-old took out the best jazz piano/keyboard awards at both the Tauranga and Manawatu jazz festivals earlier this year.
He says he is fortunate and privileged to have excellent teachers and mentors, including David Lisik, Alex Nyman, Amy Rempel, Vaughn Roberts, Rodger Fox, Val Bean of Paremata school, and Linda McDonald at Mana Music School – where it all began – and Kapiti college principal Tony Kane.
He also paid tribute to his Jazz Trons bandmates: Shaan (tenor sax/voice) and Tyaan Singh ( alto sax), James Geluk ( bass), and Matt Beachen ( drums). Coghini attends Kapiti College with the Singh brothers. Tyaan was also honoured at the festival, with awards for best saxophone and best improvisation.
‘‘I can’t forget my mates: Tyaan and Shaan Singh . . . these guys are improvisational geniuses and saxophonist tanks in the making.’’
Tyaan took out the coveted Jazz Improvisational Award and best sax player at the the first ever NZSM Jazz festival.
Coghini says the only way to get better is to learn and work with the best – which is his ambition.
‘‘I’d love to write musical pieces for Peter Jackson’s films one day and further my academic learning at NZSM or else study jazz overseas.’’
New Zealand School of Music spokesman Stephen Gibbs said the three visiting judges at the festival, Alex Sipiagin, Bob Sheppard and Steve Houghton are among the very top level of jazz musicians in the world.
‘‘For them to recognise the tal- ent that Leo displayed in his performance is a testament to his ability, and there was no doubt in their mind that he deserved the award.’’
The Singh brothers hope to release 500 copies of a CD they are working on at the end of next month.
It features work from Coghini and other students.
The boys will also feature on television show NZ Stories, likely to air in November on TV One.
Shaan said they are working with a psychologist, who has a unique method of teaching musicians, as part of the television show.
The episode will feature footage from a September 2 gig they will play at Zeal in Wellington, as well as the boys doing normal things such as washing dishes, he said.
Right notes: Leonardo Coghini building a groove at the New Zealand School of Music Jazz Festival High Schools Competition, where he picked up two major awards.