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Murray Wood

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Full Name:  Murray John Wood
Born:  July 29th, 1954
Died:  22nd February, 2011
Hometown:  Christchurch
Instruments Played:  Keyboards, Saxophone, Vocals
Career Began:  At age 11 with "Murray and the Puppets"
Groups:  The Group, Harvest
Recordings:  Many as performer and director
Residencies:  White Heron Travelodge (18 years)
Shows:  That's Country
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  Award presented 2007

Murray began learning the piano at age 5 and quickly showed his ability as a multi-instrumentalist by belting out a tune on every instrument available in the schools collection.  At age 11, while learning guitar from Tommy Kahi, he formed his first band called "Murray & the Puppets".  They played a lot of early rock and roll and were featured at the Horizon Restaurant and the Rendezvous Dance Hall.  This was a 7-piece guitar band and often featured Murray's sister Lynda on vocals.  He was the first employee at Holden Sound Industries and worked building the famous "Holden Wasp" amplifiers and assembling speaker boxes as an after school job from age 12.  It was while working there that he met many musicians and many future band members.  Murray switched back to keyboard at age 15 and joined "The Group" which had six night a week residencies at the Aranui Hotel and later Carlton Hotel.  This band also played at the Operation Deep Freeze Base from Friday to Sunday nights after the pubs closed.  In 1972 Murray was offered a 7 night-a-week residency at the White Heron Travelodge and this gig lasted 18 years.  On Sunday nights the band numbers were augmented with most of the well-known rock and roll musicians from around Christchurch and these nights became legendary.  During these years most of New Zealand's famous singers and entertainers performed in cabaret with "Murray Wood and Harvest".

 

Murray Wood and Harvest


At SSR Concerts 2006


That's Country Band

 

Murray spent 18 years as Musical Director for TVNZ from 1971 working on many successful programmes including "Popco", "That's Country", "McPhail and Gadsby", and "Playschool".  During his years with TVNZ he was instrumental in assisting the careers of many local artists and performers.  Murray's interest in technology led to him being an early adopter of computer music on the Apple Macintosh and he was the NZ demonstrator for Sequential Circuits and Emu Systems synthesizers.  Murray has produced albums for many artists and gained a Platinum Disc for a Suzanne Prentice record.  Murray has recorded many television themes and jingles.  Murray is in demand as a sympathetic accompanist and still performs, often with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra or Showbiz Canterbury and supplies musical accompaniment for many shows on CTV.  He was the Musical Director for ROCKONZ 2007 and a "new" member of "The Vigilantes".