Justin Firefly Tropical Jazz
Explorations in jazz inspired by pivotal Jamaican jazz guitarist, Ernest Ranglin, who played in many of the original reggae sessions. The quartet blends various stylistic influences and a mix of progressive jazz harmonies and rootsy vibes.
Jazzfirefly is the vehicle of Justin Firefly Clarke. Justin is a guitarist and composer who has won awards at festivals in Europe and collaborated with world-class performers from all over the globe. Locally he is known for producing the Woolshed Sessions and Jess Chambers as well as featuring with Fly My Pretties, Fat Freddy’s Drop and with the NZSO. He is a masters graduate of the New Zealand School of Music and has degrees in jazz guitar and classical composition.
The band features the four fine talents of Pad Bleakley on Bass, James Illingworth on keys, and Reuben Bradley on drums.
Bassist Patrick Bleakley is a local bass legend known for playing with Blerta in the 1970s and 80s and being the rock to Jonathan Crayford's jazztrio as well as The Troubles.
Drummer Reuben Bradley is a native to Wellington and has travelled the world extensively. Drumming with international jazz performers has developed his creativity and passion for new music, whilst international cruise ship work has empowered him with the versatility of a first rate session musician. Reuben has performed with artists such as Mike Nock (Aus), Bernie McGann (Aus), James Muller (Aus), James Morrison (Aus), Roger Manins. Don McGlashan, NZSO & Wellington Vector Orchestra. Formal education at Massey University (NZSM) led in turn to further individual study with rhythmic masters Scott Tinkler (Aus) and Master Jazz Drummer Barry Altschul in NYC.
Pianist James Illingworth is known for his emotive improvisational jazz performances. He studied piano from an early age and it was apparent he would follow a career in music. James graduated with a BMus from the Wellington Conservatorium and has gone on to work with many artists and musicians at home and abroad. Recently, he has collaborated and toured with Australian hip hop group Bliss N Eso; has composed and produced eclectic Māori music on the album Āiotanga alongside his wife and singer Kirsten Te Rito; played and performed on Mantis: The Music of Drew Menzies - a fusion of jazz and string quartets and guested on the latest Trinity Roots album Citizen. James resides in Wellington, New Zealand.
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