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Artist: The Dreamers
Studying: Bachelor of Music, Majoring in Jazz Performance
Not for fans of: Thrash Metal, Non-Disney Animation, Monotony
Age: Five months
A youthful band jumping out of the woodwork of the School of Music’s Jazz Department, The Dreamers’ generic name does not do them justice for the amount of creativity they possess. Just shy of six months together, they are already playing around Wellington and making an impact. I had a coffee and a yarn with guitarist Jacqui Nyman and lead singer Conor McCabe, who were fresh from playing a set at Ramsey House on 18 February.
Energetic and passionate, the group met and formed through their classes at Victoria. While singer Conor no longer attends uni, the others all study Jazz Performance for their respective instruments. Having this base in jazz gives their music an extra level of depth. “Being exposed to jazz, the music still flows, and people who aren’t into music don’t notice, but the people who are aware will appreciate it in a different way.”
Their approach to music matches their attitudes as people, carefree and peaceful. Jacqui sums it up as “good music with a good message.” They frequently joke about their origins and how they got started: “Singing Disney and Michael Jackson,” Conor grins as he reminisces about his musical genesis. “The Lion King especially.” Could perhaps their interest in jazz, which originates from African-American culture collisions, be linked back to the Savanna and Elton John?
The importance experimentation plays is encoded in the spirit and lifeblood of jazz, and improvisation influences both the dynamic of the band and the music they write. There is no question of their technical abilities, and the way they work together is mostly pleasing to the ear. However, like in any new relationship, they need to learn to bring out their individual strengths and merge them into something unique. At times (especially when they launched in to the second set, this time of covers), they fell into familiar grooves and the charm and unique tones of Conor’s voice were not enough to make them stand out. Luckily, those moments are small and few between. and for the large part, they soar with style and bubble with confidence.
With both time and smarts on their side, the Dreamers have a great set up that is something not to miss, if jazz is your cup of tea. A word of warning, though – this isn’t a group to sit around and sip tea while listening in on your wireless radio. This is upbeat, funky jazz that you need to get up and (I cannot believe I’m writing these words) shake your tailfeather to. Don’t try find them online and listen to tracks at home – go to one of their gigs and see them live.
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