NZ Musicians Unite For Bob Marley Tribute Album
Northland fans to celebrate the legend, Bob Marley
When Andrew Smit from muzic.net.nz talked with Jason Kerrison about his upcoming Bob Marley Tribute shows and album, there was no doubting the level of his interest in the music and the man that was Bob Marley. Jason was relishing learning more about Bob, watching documentaries and checking out online material with delight, “did you know he was shot, and that he loved soccer and that he died from a melanoma he got in his foot?”
What are your first memories of Bob Marley and his music?
Jason answered energetically "I was about 9 or 10 years old with the family playing pool in the garage and I was taken by the wonderful music that had the beat in the wrong place!” and then the warm memories of the family singing along to Could You Be Loved.
That's a similar story for many in New Zealand I think?
"Yes, no doubt. Outside of Jamaica, NZ has the highest album uptake, his music is well and truly entrenched into NZ music identity."
You seem to be enjoying learning about Bob?
"Man I am getting into finding out who he is to me". he quipped with genuine sincerity. Jason admitted he is not a religious man but the impact of Bob and his music is "deep and spiritual even".
It’s this passion that he brings to his role as musical director of the 'Marley - NZ All Stars, celebrate the Legend' shows on Dec 9 at Tauranga, Dec 10 at Hawkes Bay and Feb 17 at KeriKeri. Jason spoke excitedly about his role as musical director, he confessed to being nervous and even intimidated about working with such a large group talented musicians, saying jokingly “to think I have to tell them what to do”. The vocals will be shared by no less than 9 singers from all over the NZ music landscape, with Tiki Taane, Boh Runga, Logan Bell, Ria Hall, Laughton Kora,Anna Coddington, Fran Kora and P Digsss, all joining Jason behind the mic. They are backed by the NZ All-Stars band, featuring Grenville Bell on guitar and Leon Davy; percussion, Fran Kora; bass and vocals, Lucien Johnson; sax, Barrett Hocking; trumpet, Paul Russell on drums; Joel Shadbolt; guitar; Shelton Woolright; on guest drums and we have Godfrey de Grut with our very own I-Threes on backing vocals, Boh, Ria and Anna.
You have mobilised a supreme pedigree of talent?
“Oh yes, everyone we wanted has come on board”, Jason proudly confirmed, “and they all complement each other so well” he added.
Tell me about the set list?
"We have chosen about 26 songs, with all the popular hits and some not so obvious ones too", declaring “there may be a few key changes and small tweaks here and there, but all are true to the originals”. Jason announced that from his studious research that he realised they needed a second keyboard to provide “the bubble” thus making sure that when they play crowd favourites like; Get Up Stand Up, 3 Little Birds, Stir It Up, Buffalo Soldier, No Woman No Cry, and more they will have that genuine Roots Reggae sound that Peter Tosh and Bob Marley created all those years ago. But with this crop of talent he professed “they will sound fresh and alive with a Kiwi flavour, while still sounding like they do from our collective memories of the man and music that is Bob Marley”.
Photos courtesy of Steve Bone Photography
Jason Kerrison is the lead vocalist/guitarist for popular NZ band OpShop.