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The shape of melodic jazz

I usually don't like jazz, one John Mackill's Jazz Collective concertgoer told Mackill at the band's last concert, “but I really enjoyed your music”.

“It was so rewarding for me to hear that,” says Mackill. “That's the kind of listener we're after.”

Made up of Mackill on clarinet and tenor saxophone, Laura Gilding on flute, Ross Revington on bass, Bruce Cameron on drums, Coralie Hunter on piano and Kieran Irving on alto saxophone, the collective promises to present a concert of original music and jazz standards “like you've never heard them before”.

“Our music tends to be more melodic than a lot of the progressive jazz you might hear,” says Mackill.

“I like a strong melody. Also, we have been making an effort to play more music by female composers lately as they tend to be under-represented in jazz.”

Compositions by female jazz artists Carla Bley, Louise Goh and Nat Bartsch are included in the programme.

Various styles such as blues, funk, Latin jazz and ballads will also be represented in the band's music and, while John Mackill's Jazz Collective emphasises melody and harmony in its music, the band does not shy away from playing music that challenges the ears of its listeners at times.

“I feel many of our most recent tunes tend to convey a joyous spirit in keeping with my life philosophy,” says Mackill.

“And I tend to be using a lot more ethnic influences in my compositions lately as well.”

John Mackill's Jazz Collective thinks literally outside the square, as well as the rectangle.

A signature feature of the collective's concerts are its unusually shaped tickets. You can't take any of the band members home as souvenirs after the concert but you will have a rare collectible to remember the performance by.

“I get so tired of the typical rectangular ticket used for admission to events,” says Mackill.

“Our tickets reflect our artistic expression in the same way our music does. I like my tickets to be collector's items. Who knows what shape the tickets might be for this concert?”

John Mackill's Jazz Collective, Holy Trinity Church Hall, Saturday, 2pm. $20. Profits to SuperGrans Tairawhiti.

COLLECTIVE EFFORT: John Mackill (left), Bruce Cameron, Coralie Hunter (sitting), Laura Gilding, Kieran Irving and Ross Revington of John Mackill's Jazz Collective are about to perform live their accessible, tuneful jazz selections. Picture supplied