KR: Latin music was quite popular in New Zealand in the 1990’s. In 1992, we played the opening of a large Latin venue. A lot of our dance repertoire is Latin and it has worked well for us in terms of crowd acceptance and appreciation all the way through. It gets people dancing around the tables, or at least under them. There were many Chilean immigrants to New Zealand in the 1980’s and 90’s and this certainly provided some of the impetus for the practice and popularity of the music.
AAJ: Any comments on the live musical scene in New Zealand?
KR: I think like many places in the world, live performance is on the way down. Like music itself, however, it will cycle back. Just now, I think we're in the middle of this gigantic polyrhythmic reverberation. I feel that participating in a live performance, whether as a performer or part of the audience, is the most human thing we can do. Therefore, it might be down, but it will never be out. I moved to Australia last year for a change. With gambling and all the home entertainment options, the live musical scene is getting the squeeze. However, as long as there are people who love to do it and put their music out there it will never die.
AAJ: Would you please relay any comments about famous people met, special occasions, or highlights of your career in New Zealand?
KR: Playing during the America’s Cup was exciting. There were so many people, you couldn't move! Since I like wine, doing the wine festivals was always a favorite one and there are some good jazz festivals there like Waiheke Island of Jazz –started by New Orleans pianist David Paquette– and the National Jazz Festival. We really made an impact at these events. In addition, I’d have to say there was a reasonably good market for jazz during most of the time I was in New Zealand. For this I am Thankful.
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