Kapiti’s Funky Pigeons fly to gold in national youth jazz
Porirua jazz piano prodigy Leonardo Coghini won two major awards at the National Youth Jazz Competition in Tauranga last week.
Leonardo won the trophy for most outstanding pianist and most outstanding young musician, while his Kapiti College jazz band The Funky Pigeons received a gold grading.
The 15-year-old has been playing piano/keyboard for seven years. The group of five boys, aged 14 to 16, has been playing together since November, and contested in the combos section during the two days of competition.
Leonardo said the best part of the event was getting to the performance and playing in front of people. He was ‘‘ stoked’’ to win the awards but said the team had worked hard to get there.
‘‘It was pretty intense the last two weeks leading up to the competition. There was a lot of practice.’’
He also got to meet Grammy-award winning jazz singer Patti Austin on the final night of the competition. His bandmate Tyaan Singh, 15, won the trophy for best saxophonist. Tyaan said the pair started The Funky Pigeons to enter jazz competitions in Wellington, Tauranga and Manawatu.
‘‘Last year we did all the competitions, and we needed a band for this year,’’ he said.
They were joined by friends Coady Pfeiler, 14, on drums, Sam Sneyd, 15, on guitar, and Daniel Macdermaid, 16, on bass guitar.
Tyaan said the award was a result of lots of practice.
‘‘We practised once a week from December, and three to four days in the weeks leading up,’’ he said.
‘‘We spent months practising over and over and over again [ but] it’s easier to practise with a band from college.’’
The boys thanked their band leader, Hayden Hockley, for organising the practices.
More than 200 young musicians competed in the National Youth Jazz Competition, with 12 awards given out but only four gold awards. The next step for The Funky Pigeons will be the New Zealand School of Music Jazz Festival in August.
Leonardo and Tyaan were in college band the Jazz Tronz which won best combo at last year’s Manawatu jazz festival high school competition.