27 Sep 2022
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CL-Bob

Bio

CL-Bob is a musical group based in Wellington. The band combines jazz, folk, rock, and avant-garde elements into an original and cohesive sound that can be expressive, challenging, or just plain fun.

Formed in 1994 to play a surrealist party in Wellington, CL-Bob quickly began developing their compositional skills and unique improvisational approaches. In its early days the band had a largely acoustic sound. This was captured on the early release 600 and the tracks contributed to Yelloweye's Wellington Jazz Sampler Trees.

The original band line-up featured Simon Bowden (guitar) Nils Olsen (saxophones, flute, clarinet), John Bell (vibraphone), David Leahy (double bass) and Steve Cournane (drums).

Touring was more common for the quintet than performances in their hometown, and led to an ongoing affair with the South Island. The band has pulled great audiences from Nelson to Stewart Island, with special support in Dunedin and Christchurch as well as the smaller but equally enthusiastic Greymouth, Onekaka and Wanaka.

The quintet's engaging performances are reflected in the success of their self-titled CD (rec. 1997). The departure of David Leahy to London, where he currently performs with leading avant-garde musicians, brought Tim Jaray into CL-Bob. Chris Williamson was added in early '99 making two guitars in the front line - a sound seldom heard in jazz. Toby Laing's trumpet and keyboards replaced John Bell after he moved to Melbourne, and the sextet's sound has continued to develop through more touring and increased performances in Wellington.

2001 was a busy year for the band, beginning with a tour through the south in January before heading to Melbourne to perform in the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. "An inventive ensemble whose music ranged from Afro-Caribbean shuffles to Hendrix-style mayhem." Melbourne Age Jan 30 2001

CL-Bob then played several concerts in New Zealand Music Week in association with Radio Active and Massey University. Auckland, Whangarei and the Bay of Islands got a rare taste of the band halfway through the year. The reception of this short tour, especially at Auckland's Odeon Lounge inspired the band to head North again in February 2002.

Stereoscope, the band's second album, was released in August 2001. The courtyard of Wellington's favourite establishment, The Matterhorn, was packed with an appreciative audience who heard CL-Bob in one of their very best performances. In September the band flew to Dunedin to play the Dunedin Art Gallery as part of the Magnum Photographic Exhibition and celebrations.

With extra horns added for the occasion CL-Bob crammed on to stage of the Wellington International Jazz Festival in front of a crowd of 700 to open for American genre twisters Tortoise. This extended line-up also featured in a live-to-air broadcast on Radio Active in October.

CL-Bob performed Scratch as part of the Wellington Fringe Festival in March 2002. This show combined the abstract films of Len Lye with the band's original music. The innovative use of layered multiple screen boxes and the strong presence of the music were enthusiastically received by the large audiences.

Band Members:
Nils Olsen (saxophone, clarinet, flute, vocals)
Steve Cournane (drums)
Simon Bowden (guitar)
Chris Williamson (guitar)
Toby Laing (trumpet, keyboards)
Tim Jaray (bass)

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