Gilding with brass

Nadia Reid is booked for the Glenroy Auditorium with a full band, including a brass section....
Nadia Reid is booked for the Glenroy Auditorium with a full band, including a brass section. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Polished brass will lift Nadia Reid’s sound on her latest tour, Tom McKinlay writes.

The swell and ring of brass, sound rolled and shaped to wash across the senses.

Or to punch and punctuate, rouse and alert, the clamour of the host.

It gets noticed.

And it was noticed when Nadia Reid scored it on her last album, Out of My Province.

"The brass remains stately and discreet," wrote the Guardian. Uncut noted the "gentle brass accents". Another reviewer enjoyed the "low blur of brass" that "recurs later in the song at a higher register".

Perhaps the warmest was UK mag The Skinny, which said "brass is a very welcome addition to High & Lonely".

And now, Reid is heading out on tour with a horn section in tow, part of an expanded band that’s grown to match their amokura’s confidence and the breadth of her vision.

"It’s just a humble two piece," Reid says, after all that.

But it’s quality, made up of Christchurch jazz school teachers Gwyn Reynolds (sax) and Cameron Pearce (trumpet).

They played on Reid’s album release shows last year, standing in for the four-strong brass section used in the US recordings for Out of My Province, and will again gild the honey of her vocal around the country’s concert halls.

"We’ve slowly over the years been adding members to the band ... it fluctuates been six and seven members now, with the two horn players.

"They add a really beautiful element and, yeah, very very clever players and arrangers themselves."

On this tour they’ll be playing the brass licks from Province but have also devised arrangements for back catalogue numbers.

"So, it’s a real treat."

Reid grew up listening to a lot of jazz, so the brass vibe’s family.

"Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, I always put that on just as a comfort really," she says.

"I always want to be experimenting with different instruments."

It means the guitar and vocals folkie is in the rear mirror now, receding, not gone.

"It does take a while to get to that point to be able to experiment with that and to tour with additional instruments," Reid says.

Next, woodwind.

"For this fourth album we are currently in the middle of I really want there to be a lot of clarinet, so I have to find a clarinet player."

The process of putting album number four together has been under way for some months but there’s no hurry, Province is barely a year old and the prospects for touring new music are little improved.

"I think I have a year or two up my sleeve to tinker away on it."

It’s hard to say, Reid says, from in the middle of the process whether these portentous times are weighing heavily on its content.

"I am sure in years to come this time will have an impact on all of us and all creative people."

Last year ended up being, somewhat counterintuitively, a time for gratitude, identifying what was really important, she says.

It also allowed Reid to give a little more thought to her record label, Slow Time Records, launched to carry Province into the world, which will now release Anthonie Tonnon’s new songs.

"The more control artists can have over their own careers the better. So putting Anthonie Tonnon’s album out is a perfect first record and gives me a lot of purpose and joy to be working on. Especially other people’s records that I really dig. That gets me outside of my own head a bit."

The show

Nadia Reid and her band, the Opera House and Theatre Tour.

Saturday, May 29 Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin, 8pm.

Support: The Broken Heartbreakers.

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