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Gray Bartlett

Gray-Bartlett

New Zealand’s number one guitarist and iconic Kiwi is Gray Bartlett MBE. Gray has just recently released his latest album Private Conversations and this album is a MUST buy. Hank Marvin has reviewed the album and has given it his thumbs up. Gray is currently touring New Zealand with a raft of New Zealand talent and has concerts lined up in all of the main centers around the country.

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Hank Marvin on Gray Bartlett

Hank-Marvin

Hank says good things about Gray Bartlett’s latest recording

Gray Bartlett is an icon in New Zealand, he is probably our most well known guitarist and has had incredible success around the world, particularly in Japan. Gray has just completed his latest Album called Private Conversations and he is currently on tour in New Zealand. Here is what Hank Marvin has to say about Gray.
Hank’s Review: “Gray Bartlett is something of an institution in NZ, well that’s what he told me.
 Seriously folks I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Gray over the last couple of years and discovered that he’s a man of various talents. However it’s his musical talent that really stands out on his latest CD, “Private conversations” which allows him to display both his virtuosity and versatility as a guitarist, which reminds me I need to practice more.
The choice of material is diverse, engaging and he interprets the compositions with clarity and sensitivity; qualities that many guitarists lack. Gray’s command of different guitar techniques is also demonstrated as he switches easily from beautifully performed finger style acoustic, to slide guitar, to country rock and even to heavy blues rock; yes, our boy has serious chops.Check out Gray’s version of APACHE it’s almost as good as mine.
Congratulations to Gray on a FAB CD, buy it, you’ll love it.”
Hank B Marvin go buy Gray Bartlett’s album now.

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Glenn Campbell

Glenn Campbell

Glenn  Campbell was playing with the New Zealand group, “The Flaming Mudcats”

You can read all about them on their own website but I could not have written the blurb any better so I have taken parts of it and posted it here. This restaurant in Devonport has music every second Tuesday and last night the crowd were given a standard well above the norm. As far as I am concerned these guys were at a level that should be able to demand a following all over the world let a lone New Zealand. Glenn Campbell has been playing all of his life and his ability as a steel guitarist had virtually the whole attendance in awe. Now my take on this is interesting as live music in a restaurant can be rather intimidating to people who wish to go socialize talk and  be merry. In the past at Correllis some singers and performers have been drowned out by the high level of conversation going on. In the case of Glenn Campbell and this wonderful Group “The Flaming Mudcats” there was no way that would happen. Everyone was spellbound.
Whether you like your blues contemporary, traditional, low down or funky…., you’re gonna love “The Flaming Mudcats”.
As a matter of fact, you will be blown away by these guys even if blues don’t happen to be  your thing. The level of  sheer musicianship and energy  they bring to their live performances.
After being on the scene for six years, this Auckland based group has established themselves among the country’s premier blues acts.
With their signature brand of rocking rhythm and blues, “The Flaming Mudcats” have taken their show to festivals and clubs in the USA, Australia, The Pacific Islands and throughout New Zealand.
They have also appeared live on national radio and television.
The Flaming Mudcats are four dedicated musicians who share a common passion and love of the blues.
Whilst drawing inspiration from their eclectic influences, their music provides a refreshingly original take on the universal themes of love, loss, and cruel women.
The band is fronted by vocalist Craig Bracken, one of the country’s most accomplished harmonica players, with guitarist Doug Bygrave providing the six string raucousness.
 Anchoring these two, is the tight and true rhythm section comprising Ian Thomson on drums and Sean McCarthy on bass.
With a sound, raw, real, and gritty, these cats do it all – swing, shuffle and boogie.
The Flaming Mudcats have to date recorded two well received albums – 2011’s “Gave You What You Wanted” and 2013’s “Mistress”.
Apart from a lone cover on each, both albums comprise original material and present a wide spectrum of blues styles, whilst celebrating that unique Mudcat sound.

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Performing Live

Glyn Tucker

Tips from Glyn Tucker on Performing live

If so here are a few simple tips.
 If you are a singer performing live then it is important to get your voice warmed up and ready to perform. First you should consider what you are doing with your voice in 12 hours or more before the performance. The best thing you can do is REST your voice as much as possible.
This can  sometimes be tough call; you may be socialising with friends (or fans) at a function or music festival where you are waiting for your turn to perform. Whenever possible avoid these situations, or at least be aware of noisy environments and refrain from pushing your voice too hard. Prior to taking the stage you should do some vocal exercised to prime the voice for action. Just as an athlete will do some gentle stretches building slowly to moderate flexing of the muscles, you need to treat your vocal chords the same way. Start by doing some gentle   humming, either a tune with a limited range of notes, or up and down a half-octave scale. Extend it to a full octave but keep it gentle. Now extend again farther up the scale by starting a semi-tone higher, then another semi-tone.Believe me performing live can be a tough call for many people, not only with their confidence level but also being able to maintain their voice properly.
Repeat this but do not strain as you go higher. Now sing some aah’s and ooh’s and eeh’s in the same manner, never straining, but easing into a little more volume as your voice warms up. Then sing a phrase or two from one or two of your songs. Check any lyrics that might trip you up. If you are an instrumental musician the same analogy as the athlete warm-up applies to you. Play some medium paced scales and chord chord progressions in the middle of the range, and gradually speed up and extend to give your fingers (or embrouchure in the case of  brass and wind instruments) a chance to loosen up.

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Human Kindness Band

steve mitchell

The Human Kindness Band reside in Nelson New Zealand.
One sensational group comprising of:
Bruce McGregor, Drums; Glynn Olsen, Lead Guitar; Steve Mitchell, Vocals, Slide Guitar, Guitar; Danny Sugar, Bass.

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David Hasselhoff New Zealand Recording

David Hasselhoff

Article by Glyn Tucker on his recording of David Hasselhoff

In 1986, long before the term “Hoff” had been coined, I was asked to record an album with a popular TV star, with a view to doing an extensive TV advertising promotion in the USA.
The partners who were funding the project had contacts in the USA who would facilitate the promotion and sale of the finished LP’s and cassettes. (CD’s were not yet fully established as the major format for music sales) A similar project had been successful in the USA with actor David Soul, famous from the Starsky and Hutch TV series, and so the partners went off searching for suitable actor/singer of similar talents. David Hasselhoff was a superstar at the time through his portrayal of Michael Knight in the hit TV series, Knight Rider. Michael Knight and his talking Kit car was a hit in 64 countries, including New Zealand, but by 1986 that series had come to an end. (much to the disappointment of millions of fans around the world) He seemed to have all the credentials, so long as he could sing. A deal was worked out with his management and my record label, Reaction Records was contracted to produce a record. I became Executive producer.
I got in touch with David and talked through possible music genres and requested a cassette of some of his previous vocal work, which included a performance with Marie Osmond at Disneyland, and a previous LP he had made called, “ Knight Rocker”. From these listening s I made a decision that we should make an album of love songs and ballads rather than rock. David had a huge female fan-base from his earlier performances on the TV soap, “The Young and the Restless”, and I was planning to exploit that market. I considered his voice more suited to this style. From there we began trawling through various songs that might suit, culminating in a long list of possibles.
I chose Bruce Lynch as the front line producer, and he in turn suggested getting Dave McRae to work with him on arrangements and do the keyboard parts. David duly arrived in Auckland a few weeks later along with his minder, Buddy, and they were accommodated in a nice house in Epsom. (thanks to Gray and Trish Bartlett) We all got together at Bruce Lynch’s home studio where a few days of “auditioning” songs, keys, arrangements took place. Once the track list was reduced to a short list, Bruce and Dave wrote the arrangement charts and prepared for recording. I booked the studio for the following week, and David took some vocal coaching lessons with local teacher Robyn Hill, to get his voice into shape. Although David was not a seasoned singer, his approach to his craft was always very professional.
As fate would have it, Gray Bartlett was touring New Zealand with the “Kit car” from the Knight Rider TV series at the same time as we were making the record. They were doing shopping malls and such, so that kids (and other fans) could sit in the car and have it talk to them. (nice trick, that) Gray arranged for Kit to visit the Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, with David as well! He was so good with the kids, signing autographs and taking time to visit the sick children in the wards who were unable to make it down to the car park to see Kit. David was sporting an All Black jersey for the occasion; and in fact became a big fan of the AB’s.
David wanted to include two songs in Spanish, because the TV show had been so huge in South American countries. We hired a Spanish lecturer from Auckland University to sit in on the vocal sessions to check his pronunciation; it turned out to be a good move since some of his Spanish was a bit dodgy. Finally we completed the album four weeks from his time of arrival in Auckland, and masters were duly delivered to the American record company for them to ply their marketing expertise. The album was titled, “Lovin’ Feelings”.
Everybody liked David. I found him to be talented, with a great sense of humor, keen to get involved with Kiwi culture, and a pleasure to have around. He relied on Buddy to arrange his diary, book travel, and make sure he was on time for appointments. They were good “buddies”, working as a team.
The outcome of the USA promotion was disappointing to say the least. Before spending megabucks on a national campaign, it was usual to do a small test campaign on local TV to gauge the reaction. The chosen city for this test was Nashville, Tennessee, and the reaction was poor. This resulted in dumping the project in the USA. (which had been the whole focus of the recording)
I never understood why a sophisticated album of MORE love songs with two Spanish songs should be tested in Nashville, the home of country music. Regardless, we were left with a lemon, and the partners were not happy.
Although we had always targeted the USA as being our prime market, I took on the responsibility of pitching it to “the rest of the world”. I had been attending the MIDEM music festival in Cannes, France for several years (promoting NZ music) and saw this marketplace as the best opportunity to get interest from international record companies. January 1987 saw David Hasselhoff in Cannes with me, helping with the international pitch. It was an exciting week for me.
Business aside, trotting around Cannes with the Knight Rider (everybody knew David as his TV persona, Michael Knight) was akin to having Jesus as a buddy. No longer did I need to get in line at a restaurant. With Michael Knight at my side we would be ushered to the front of the line and got the best table. It was truly amazing how popular this man was in Europe. I managed to complete licensing deals with CBS Austria, and one with a Finland company, each with reasonable advances payable; and had several other interested countries that turned out to be not forthcoming with the up front money. So the Cannes trip gave us some hope of saving the project, at least in part.
On the way home I was invited to stay a few days at David’s home near Studio City LA. I met his lovely wife Catherine (since divorced), but she was mostly busy with very early-morning starts on the set of the “soap” series in which she starred. Their place had every luxury (as expected) and he was very hospitable; giving me his own Pontiac Trans Am (same as Kit) to get around LA. I took his housekeeper to Universal Studios in the Pontiac one day where they had the original Kit car on display, talking to the fans as we’d seen in Auckland. David also took me to a big-time boxing match; ringside seats at The Forum, where the place was jammed with celebrities who all knew David.
He introduced me to Sly and Frank Stallone, Floyd Patterson (ex Heavyweight World Champ), and I found myself sitting next to Michael Landon (Bonanza). It was a great night, although the local favorite, known as “Rocky” (very original) took a serious beating. David and I visited him in his dressing room after the fight. I overheard Sly Stallone telling the beaten fighter, “ You done good kid, just like Rocky!”
Over the ensuing weeks and months we continued to keep in touch whilst working on whatever promotions were currently happening in various places around the world. It was during these events that David made contact with a successful record producer in Germany. David consequently did some recordings in Germany culminating in a massive hit single in 1989, “Is Everybody Happy”. I must confess to being surprised that such a load of rubbish had made it to #1 on the German pop charts; but I was happy that David had a cracked it. Through this success, DH became an even bigger star in Germany than Michael Knight had been. And due to his popularity we managed to get few sales of our Lovin’ Feelings LP, imported from CBS, Austria.
In retrospect this was not a financially successful project for the partners, but it was a great experience for me, and my team who worked with David. And I can be proud that we made a pretty good record of it’s genre that still sounds good today.
Cheers to The Hoff.

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The Maidment Theatre Auckland

Maidment Theatre

It is with deep sadness I have to announce this very bad news. It appears as our wonderful Maidment Theatre in Auckland has been closed.

This is nothing short of a disaster and all I can say it I am so glad we were able to have the Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz group play there on November 20th 2015. It appears the theatre is an earthquake risk and at this stage we are not certain if it will reopen. There is no doubt this was one of the very best artistic theaters in this country and we are devastated about this news.

Below is a letter send out by Lester MaCrath general Manager.

 

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Hank Marvin in New Zealand

Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz

Hank Marvin and his Gypsy Jazz Quartet from Perth Western Australia, made a surprise visit to the Christchurch Jazz Festival in April 2015.
They performed at the Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College, 12 Winchester Street.
The group consisted of Hank Marvin (ex Shadows) on guitar, Gary Taylor (ex Herd) on Guitar, Nunzio Mondia on Accordion and Robbie Pisano on double bass.
They also made a visit nationwide in 2013 and their last visit was in November of 2015.
The cities visited in the last tour was Nelson, Wellington, Tauranga. and Auckland. Prior to the last visit they performed at the Fly By Night Club in Perth their home town.

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David Hasselhoff

David Hasselhoff

Mandrill Recording Studios and David Hasselhoff

I just came across photo from the 80’s with The Hoff.
This was a spoof shot taken in 1986, soon after The Hoff arrived in Auckland to record the album, “Lovin’ Feelings”.
Bruce Lynch was the producer and David H was taken to Bruce’s home for pre-production session with a handful of musicians.
David knew from earlier communications that we would be making the record at Mandrill Recording Studios, but Bruce and his muso friends set him up to believe that The Boatshed at the back of Bruce’s home was it! (A few years later “The Boatshed” became Bruce’s seriously good recording studio, but at that time was… just a boat shed.)
L to R, Bruce Lynch, Dave McRae, David Hasselhoff, Frank Gibson Jnr, and Glyn Tucker Jnr.
(see the story of the making of “Lovin’ Feelings” on our Blog of March 2015)
Glyn Tucker

The Ellington Jazz Club Perth

Ellington Club Perth

Another lucky break for me, the opportunity to attend the rehearsals and concerts in April 2015 for Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz Ensemble. The chance to take photos and video as well as enjoy the company with a bunch of great people.

I will post photos in the gallery.

 

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