25 May 2024

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Hailing from the sunny Bay of Plenty, blues 'n' roots band Kokomo (originally 'Kokomo Blues') has been together now since the 1990's, and has become renowned for dynamic live shows and smart distinctive song-writing, as well as the band’s unique harmonica-trumpet horn section. During this time the band has toured extensively throughout New Zealand, performing at the country’s major rock, blues, jazz and folk festivals.

Between touring the band has released thirteen albums, a live concert DVD and several singles. The first two albums were collections of traditional blues, while subsequent releases predominantly feature the band’s own songs while occasionally dipping back into the blues world.

Along the way Radio New Zealand has recorded five programmes focusing on Kokomo’s music, and they have appeared on various TV channels. Kokomo’s music has also been used as the soundtrack for projects as diverse as TV gardening shows and surfing videos. It has also featured on such popular programmes as Shortland Street.

They have also played with and supported a number of overseas blues and jazz acts, including Georgie Fame, Richard O'Brien, Doug McLeod, Keb Mo, Buddy Guy, Mississippi Willie Foster, The LeRoi Brothers, Hans Theessink, New Orleans singer Lillian Boutte, Hawaiian steel wizard Ken Emerson, and legendary guitarist Amos Garrett (Butterfield Blues Band).

On the local front they have performed and toured with the likes of Roy Phillips (ex-Peddlers), Hammond Gamble, Dragon, Jan Preston, Midge Marsden, Shona Laing, Barry Saunders, Mike Cooper and many others.


The band was formed in 1991 after a chance performance at the National Jazz Festival. Derek Jacombs had been invited to present a set of solo blues and brought Grant Bullot to join him. The concert turned into a runaway success and they decided to form a full-time band to spread their love of acoustic blues.

Later that year the band set out on the road with a “we play anywhere” policy, which saw them playing around 200 shows a year, everywhere from Great Barrier Island and the smallest country towns to Auckland’s Aotea Centre. And they started recording. That set the scene for following years.

Skipping ahead...

The band celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016 with the release of three singles followed by the 2-CD collection Batten Down The Hatches, a 33 song selection drawn from two decades of music making. It was launched as the band headlined the opening concert at the National Jazz Festival in front of a sold-out 600 person audience.

Kokomo's latest album Sunset Claws was released on June 17th 2019, complete with several videos and a new tour. In 2020 with touring plans disrupted by Covid the band started releasing a series of singles which continued into 2021.

In November 2021, after delays throughout the year caused by Covid, Kokomo finally abandoned plans to tour in support of a 30th anniversary retrospective, A Little Something From The Attic, and released the album. A new album is almost ready for release and will be launched at Easter 2022.

Band Members:
Nigel Masters (bass)
Derek Jacombs (vocals, guitar)
Grant Bullot (harmonica)
Sonia Bullot (trumpet) (on sabbatical)
Ian "Beano Gilpin (drums)
Santi Rebagliati (guitar)


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  • Tauranga

Media Downloads

  • Born To Bad Luck

    A little country blues from the 2022 album, Workhorse
    Download Now [Size: 8.14MB | 3:33 | 320kbps]

  • GB Boogie (alt mix 1996)

    The earliest track on Kokomo's new 30 year retrospective of alternative mixes, rarities and demos. This particular mix features a Hammond organ not on the "official" track from 1996's Little heroes album.
    Download Now [Size: 8.73MB | 3:49 | 320kbps]

  • Holed Up In Karamea (Bushband demo 2017)

    The final track from Kokomo's 30 year retrospective album of rarities, alternative mixes and demos, this is the stripped-back acoustic demo for the song which eventually appeared (very differently) on 2019's Sunset Claws album.
    Download Now [Size: 9.1MB | 3:59 | 320kbps]

  • Workhorse Blues

    Title track from the 2022 Workhorse album, written by Derek Jacombs, featuring guitar from Kokomo's newest member, Santiago Rabagliati.
    Download Now [Size: 9.17MB | 4:00 | 320kbps]

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