Graeme Cooper

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Full Name:  Graeme Cooper
Born:  January 14th, 1936
Died:  November 16th, 2005
Birthplace:  Bluff
Schools:  Invercargill, Shirley Intermediate, Christchurch Boys' High
Instruments Played:  Piano, Vibes, Guitar, Bass
Career Began:  1950s

  Award presented 2007

Graeme was born at Bluff.  He started learning piano at the age of five.  His musical career started when he use to slip into the Avon Rowing Club(in school uniform) at night to play piano doing the supper extras.  Played vibes on live radio broadcasts with various jazz musicians - i.e. Jim Langabeer, Ted Meager, Doug Caldwell, Chch Symphony Orchestra, Stu Buchanan and the NZ National Jazz Quartet.  Was the original keyboard player for Max Merritt. Spent 3 years in Sydney in the 1960's working seven nights a week at the club circuit.  Graeme was resident musician in the late 60's and 70's at the Avon Motor Lodge, Shoreline, and White Heron Hotel.  In the late 70's /early 80's Graeme's five piece group "Friends" played as the resident band at the Russley Hotel, Lancaster Hotel, Redwood Hotel.  Lineup included Brian Ringrose, Jim Shields, Gary Sammons, Mary Cooper and also Trevor Wright who replaced Gary.  In the mid 80's Graeme and Mary became the resident Duo at the Town Hall Restaurant under the name of Keytrax.  Eventually this duo became a trio when Jim Shields joined as a vocalist.