Haines pays homage to spir­its and sounds of jazz

South Waikato News - - ENTERTAINMENT -

A dis­ser­ta­tion, a hon­ey­moon and a bro­ken foot.

They are not the ob­vi­ous sources of in­spi­ra­tion for a jazz al­bum but it turned out to be the per­fect recipe for Nathan Haines.

It started in­no­cently enough.

Haines and his wife had a month- long hon­ey­moon in France in July last year. Nat­u­rally, the mu­si­cian wanted to make the most of this rare time off, tak­ing with him a dis­ser­ta­tion about ‘‘ the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the melodic vo­cab­u­lary of John Coltrane and a clas­si­cal com­poser from the 1940s who wrote a the­saurus of scales, which in­flu­enced a lot of jazz mu­si­cians in the 1950s’’.

Then he broke his foot, which meant be­ing on hol­i­day was not much fun.

So he came home to the re­al­i­sa­tion that all he could re­ally do was work on what he had learnt.

‘‘ I re­ally got to grips with some new melodic ma­te­rial. I couldn’t do any­thing ex­cept prac­tise this new melodic vo­cab­u­lary that I was in­ves­ti­gat­ing and then out of that came the seeds of the record,’’ he says.

The record is The Poet’s Em­brace, which is out this week, and it is all about Haines push­ing new boundaries, or more cor­rectly, redis­cov­er­ing old ones.

Though to many he might be a jazz mu­si­cian, Haines wanted to get back to those pure roots, with­out the sales- friendly ‘‘cross­over’’ tag that has been at­tached to him in re­cent years.

‘‘I guess I just went back to who I re­ally am, which is some­body who has in­vested my life and mu­sic into in­ves­ti­gat­ing melody and har­mony in the jazz tra­di­tion and I guess this is my­first record that re­ally show­cases that,’’ Haines says.

‘‘On my last al­bum I had col­lab­o­ra­tions with all sorts of peo­ple and this was sort of the op­po­site of that.

‘‘There are no other guests on there, I’m not play­ing any other in­stru­ments, I’m not singing, I’m not play­ing the flute.’’

Haines gets back to the way jazz used to be made.

The record­ing hap­pened over just two days and with pre­dom­i­nantly vin­tage gear and in­stru­ments.

The mu­sic was cap­tured on an ana­logue tape ma­chine, mean­ing there was no room for dig­i­tal tweaks and fix-up jobs.

‘‘It’s like a lost art. It adds mys­tery, I think. There are a lot of rock bands now who are record­ing in a very old way – jazz guys haven’t re­ally been do­ing it, so I thought it was time for me to.

‘‘ I grew up play­ing at the London Bar, back in the 80s and early 90s.

‘‘I went there ev­ery week­end and sat in with older mu­si­cians. It was such a great grow­ing-up process of learn­ing the mu­sic, so I wanted to pay homage in spirit and in sound to those records I grew up with.’’

The 40-year-old said mak­ing this record had changed him as a mu­si­cian and a per­former, no mean feat for some­one who has been in the busi­ness for 25 years.

‘‘It was a great, great chal­lenge. I feel like a dif­fer­ent mu­si­cian to six months ago.’’


PER­FECT RECIPE: Nathan Haines’ lat­est ef­fort is per­fec­tion.

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