Chris Mason-Battley Group
The Chris Mason-Battley Group has a well-established reputation for pushing the borders of the jazz genre, both in their appetite for cross-genre collaboration and in their pursuit of new approaches to creating improvised jazz.
Formed in 1998, the band has recorded four albums and performed at numerous Jazz and Arts Festivals. Their first two albums, Karakia and Unspoken achieved considerable success on the pioneer international music download site, MP3.com. CMB Group were the most downloaded NZ artist on the site and ranked #2 in the jazz genre for the whole of the site.
They made their Rattle debut in 2006 with Two Tides, an improvised collaboration with taonga puoro master Richard Nunns. The focus of the album, and many of their subsequent performances, was to explore the similarities and differences between taonga puoro and European jazz through a collaborative, improvisational approach to composition. The album was well received both critically and commercially, and remains a highly regarded addition to the Rattle catalogue.
Conceptually, and in its delivery, Dialogos is the strongest work that the CMB Group has undertaken to date. The project continues the collaborative approach undertaken on Two Tides, this time interpreting the exceptional music of John Psathas through group improvisation. The Group spent two years developing this work, a demanding process that compelled them to find effective ways to engage deeply with John's music in a way that both honoured his skilful composition and created the space for genuine creative freedom.