Although the first day of winter is still three weeks away, at the Realm in Hataitai it felt as if it were already here. A fire crackled and spit in the corner fireplace. The stage was warm and ready for the night’s performers: Oscar Lovën on saxophone, Duncan Haynes on piano, Rory Macartney on bass, and Greg Crayford on drums (and emcee).
John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, oh, my! Dashing off virtuosic saxophone solos while misbehaving, Oscar dropped some famous quotes, such as the march from Carmen. The trades with the drums were colourful too. Meanwhile, the piano propelled the band to the stratosphere of sound by pumping up the dynamic range with smart and spirited solos. And all of this with no rehearsal!
Virtually every show hosted by Greg Crayford includes guest performers, and this night was no exception. Liam George, a student from Rongotai college, played a couple of tunes with the
band. Liam plays trombone and piano and is a frequent guest at the Realm, a suburban Wellington stage that provides up and coming musicians the opportunity to perform live in public.
Another guest was a nice surprise: Oscar’s mum, Marian Arts, was in Wellington and shared the stage with her son to give us a gift: the gorgeous 1958 jazz standard, Centerpiece.
Jazz nights at the Realm are the longest running jazz residence in Wellington, now in their eighteenth year. Located in Hataitai, a small suburb of Wellington overlooking Evans Bay, the event attracts not only locals but also people from both the coasts and the valleys. Every first and third Wednesday, patrons have a chance to discover jazz talent, listen to great music, and enjoy tasty food all in the same location.
During the closing tune Don’t Stop the Carnival, a basket of percussion instruments was passed through the audience and each got a chance to penetrate the invisible wall of the stage to join the performance: an action filled with community spirit, and so typical of a suburban Wellington pub.

By Charlie Queen