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A continuum of community, Chris Bourke

New Zealand Jazz Life
Norman Meehan (Tony Whincup photographer)
Victoria University Press, $40.00,
ISBN  9781776560929

In the 1984 “mockumentary” This is Spinal Tap, the fictional rock band was positive about its declining fan base. “We are more selective about our audience,” reasoned one musician. As singer Malcolm McNeill points out in Norman Meehan’s stimulating examination of the contemporary jazz scene, in New Zealand the popularity of the genre is on a par with opera: it is supported by about three per cent of the population. McNeill also mentions that the funding it receives compared to classical music is disproportionately low, and a recent study quoted by Meehan confirms this.

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Outrageous fortune, Chris Bourke 

Gutter Black
Dave McArtney
HarperCollins
ISBN 9781775540397

Hello Sailor were New Zealand’s most convincing rock stars. They acted like pirates, and managed to look menacing and foppish at the same time. It wasn’t a pose; it was a lifestyle. They lifted standards in performance, songwriting, and recording – and they behaved extremely badly. Emulating the music and hedonism of their heroes – The Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed – they created their own genre of rock music in which Polynesian languor coexisted with the sinister possibilities of 1970s Ponsonby after hours.

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Smoke gets in our eyes, Colin Morris

Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music 1918-1964 Chris Bourke Auckland University Press, $59.99, ISBN 9781869404550   To anybody under the age of 25, it might come as a shock to read Chris Bourke’s book and discover

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Posted in History, Music, Non-fiction and Review
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