Neketini Brass

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1969 - final Robbins EP (Christchurch only)



Neketini Brass - 1968
Tangi Williams, Gerald Marston, Nick Nicholson, Neale Stringer, Bruce McKendry, George Williams and Roger Whyte
Vocalists included Yolande Gibson and Noreen Welch



Tangi Williams, Gerald Marston, Bruce McKendry, George Williams, Nick Nicholson, Neale Stringer, Roger Whyte

In the Studio at NZBC, Christchurch 1967


In the late 1950s Nick Nicholson moved to Christchurch to live with his cousin, bandleader Martin Winiata (who was famous for his long residency at the Union Rowing Club cabaret, and his ability to play two saxophones at once).  Nick began playing guitar and saxophone with Winiata's band, and he immediately impressed saxophonist Stu Buchanan.  He was soon in demand for gigs with top-level players such as Doug Caldwell, George Campbell, Harry Voice and Stu Buchanan.  He formed The Neketini Brass in 1967 and mostly played bass, with players such as Gerald Marston and Bruce McKendry on trumpets, Roger Whyte on piano, Tangi Williams on guitar, Neale Stringer on drums, and George Williams on percussion.  The Neketini Brass was an application of Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass to Maori and New Zealand tunes.  They recorded two singles as well as two EPs (including a Christmas EP), and an album, using arrangements by Nicholson, with production by veteran bandleader Don Richardson.  The self-titled album was apparently one of the first stereo recording sessions at HMV's Wellington studio, although it was reissued on the budget Regal label with the Neketini Brass renamed Exciting Brass.  The album was dominated by Maori favourites such as "Po Atarau" (Now is the Hour), "Mehe Manurere", "Haere Mai", "Hine E Hine" and "Pokarekare Ana", but Nick also wrote a couple of stunning originals. "Tararua Tramp" and "Neketini Mambo".  In "Po Atarau" the tempo is doubled to turn the mournful farewell song into a cheerful party goodbye, with Marston and McKendry let loose for a trumpet break that swings.