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Tuesday, June 08, 2021

2021 APRA Jazz Award Winners Lucien Johnson and The Jac

This evening we celebrate the winners of the APRA Best Jazz Composition and the Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Tautito Toa | Best Jazz Artist announced at the opening powhiri of the 2021 Wellington Jazz Festival.  

Diverse composer and saxophonist Lucien Johnson was recognised as the APRA Best Jazz Composition for his song ‘Blue Rain’ while Wellington-jazz octet The Jac received the Tūī for Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Tautito Toa | Best Jazz Artist for their album ‘A Gathering’. 
‘Blue Rain’ showcases Lucien’s mastery of jazz composition as a standout track from the album Wax//Wane.  

After a decade performing together, A Gathering showcases The Jac’s tight, intricate compositions and strong improvision. 

APRA AMCOS Head of New Zealand Operations Ant Healey says: “There’s a lot of experimentation and barrier-pushing in the compositions we’re seeing created by musicians like Lucien and the other finalists. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of Kiwi jazz.”  

Recorded Music NZ Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa Sarah Owen congratulates The Jac for a well-deserved win.  

“How lucky are we to live in a country that has a thriving jazz scene is made up of ringapuoro tautito | jazz musicians like The Jac who craft soulful compositions and albums of such a high calibre.”   

Other finalists for the  APRA Best Jazz Composition award were Anita Schwabe for ‘August Augmentation’, Callum Allardice for ‘Dark Love’ while the finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist were Lucien Johnson and Unwind.

Finalists for APRA Best Jazz Composition 
WINNER: Lucien Johnson – ‘Blue Rain’ 
Anita Schwabe – ‘August Augmentation’ 
Callum Allardice – ‘Dark Love’  

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Tautito Toa | Best Jazz Music Artist 
WINNER: 
The Jac – A Gathering 
Lucien Johnson - Wax//Wane 
Unwind – Saffron 


Renowned taonga pūoro musician Richard Nunns dies

Taonga pūoro master player and historian Richard Nunns has been described as one of New Zealand’s most remarkable instrumentalists, has died. He was 76.

Nunns, Māori musician Hirini Melbourne and artist Brian Flintoff were renowned for reviving interest in traditional Māori instruments or taonga pūoro.

Together they researched and recorded instruments held in museum collections, many of which had not been played for over a century, rediscovering their unique sounds and techniques to play them.

Groove listeners will know Nunns through his recordings with Rattle Records an collaboration with local jazz like Chris Mason-Battley Group. 
He has also performed with musicians as diverse as classical orchestras and drum and bass. He's composed and toured with Whiramako Black and Gareth Garr. He contributed to sound tracks for 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Whale Rider'. 

As a long term practitioner Nunns was pivotal to the restoration and education of taonga pūoro.

After Nunns was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2005, he rarely appeared in public but used music as a healing therapy.

He collected numerous awards for his work. He was an arts laureate and honorary life member of the New Zealand Flute Association; received an honorary doctorate of music from Victoria University and a Queens Service Medal for services to taonga pūoro.

A lifetime contribution to Māori music prize was awarded to Nunns at the Waiata Maori  Music Awards in 2012.