Articles

What does a ‘comper’ do in a jazz band?

By Chris Naughton For many years, while playing in various jazz bands, I have heard different expressions used by musicians to describe the work of the accompanist in a jazz ensemble. Some would say that as the pianist your role is to keep the rhythm, others that the pianist or guitarist plays the changes. Often…

Guess what? I sing in a jazz band, too

“Variety is the spice of life,” I think is how the saying goes. And, I certainly have plenty of spice in my musical life. You see, when I’m not performing as a singer and guitarist, I sing in a jazz band. Introducing Standard Deviation Jazz Band Standard Deviation is a four-piece band comprising vocals (me),…

The singer and guitarist who influenced me the most

The Beatles first turned me on to music. I was about 14 years of age when I discovered them. To me, their almost child-like harmonies were as moreish as shortbread fresh from the oven. As far as the way I sing and play, though, it was a Kiwi singer and guitarist who influenced me the…

How I ensure I’m ready to sing & play guitar for a wedding

I love playing at weddings. Because I am a solo singer and guitarist, I usually perform for the ceremony (as well as a bit before and after), so the whole gig is generally short and sweet. For me, however, there is a lot of responsibility to do a great job; after all, a couple’s wedding…

An afternoon in the life of a singer and guitarist

It’s a Sunday afternoon, and I’m driving on Auckland’s southern motorway. Kathy, my partner, sits beside me, and my car is packed: guitar, amplifier, microphone, a ‘bird’s nest’ of cables. Yes, I’m ready to perform an afternoon show at The Blacksmith in Takanini. For a singer and guitarist, The Blacksmith is a cool place to…

Talking to a wedding singer about music for your ceremony

Getting married? Well, congratulations! Do you play on hiring a wedding singer? If so, you’re probably wondering about how to organise the music for your ceremony. In this post, I explain. Talk your wedding singer The first step is to discuss what you want. Sometimes meet the bride and groom or, most often, talk to…

How to ensure a wedding singer doesn’t ruin your day

There is nothing like a wedding for reuniting long-lost relatives and friends from different parts of the planet. And, after a while apart, your guests will want to have a good time. So, choose your wedding singer carefully. What could possibly go wrong? Now, I don’t want to be a pessimist. However, it’s important that…

You have no power over me: Q & A with Benny Chang of Ten Second Pistol

El Paso, Texas. It’s a fair trek from New Zealand. Recently, though, I received a tip-off about a new guitar-based trio from this US state on the border of Mexico. The band is Ten Second Pistol, and they have just released their debut album, You have no power over me. To find out about the…

Eavesdropping on all-guitar ensemble Gitbox Rebellion

Cover photo by Sean Dominic Rundle It’s a drizzly Saturday morning in Auckland, and I’m driving toward Point Chevalier along the north-western motorway. I’m travelling to check out Gitbox Rebellion, a group of musicians that I’ve heard bits and pieces about over the years. A guitar-only group, Gitbox Rebellion is the creation of guitar maestro…

Talking with David Shanhun about life as a professional musician

Have you ever toyed with the idea of ditching your day job to play guitar for a living? I have and, for a brief time, strumming and singing were my primary means of earning an income. The life of a professional musician is lots of fun, that's for sure. However, trust me, there are plenty…

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