March 15, 2007 – 9:40 am
A decade ago, I was running an independent jazz record label with Mark de Clive-Lowe. It was called Tap Records for reasons that will rightly remain a mystery for all time. Though not a very suspenseful one.
At the time, we all lived and worked in a massive 2-level, 5 bedroom apartment on the top floor of the Tony’s Restaurant building, across the courtyard from the New Gallery in Auckland’s City Centre. Round about here (actually, just above the letters ‘Khar’ on the map).
It was pretty big. We could send Jake off for a ride on his tricycle, and he would never leave the lounge.
The place had a history. It was once a real party hotspot in the Auckland nightlife. It was known as the Marae in the Sky, and was the home of some of the city’s most famous transvestites. I heard some good stories.
As an active jazz musician, Mark would organise tours and performances with musicians from all over the place. Generally, they would stay with us, sleeping on the floor in the lounge — up to five at a time.
Sometimes they were Canadians and Americans, usually they were Australian. Cameron Undy (bass) and Nick McBride (drums) were very welcome repeat visitors, and there were others who became longstanding friends-of-the-Dubbers.
At the time, Jake had a little plastic battery-operated keyboard, and on occasion he would make up little tunes that bore little or no resemblance to rhythm, harmony or melody. And sometimes that’s not such a bad thing in jazz.
He got into a groove on one repeated phrase one afternoon, and guitarist Carl Dewhurst picked up his instrument, reconstructed the phrase, and then built a song around it. Some years later, it ended up on this album of Nick’s. That’s Carl playing guitar on this track.
There’s a lot of stuff this good on the Jazzgroove label.
It was Nick’s birthday yesterday (happy birthday, Nick). He’s based in Shanghai these days, but we talk via Skype occasionally. I keep up with the comings and goings of some of the others via MySpace (its only real use to date).
It all seems like a lifetime ago.