Kiwijahzz is honoured and proud to present an album by the outstanding and remarkable musician Neill Duncan (March 9, 1957 - December 28, 2021).
Neill Duncan was a legend of New Zealand and Australian music. A founding member of the Braille Collective, Neill first came to prominence in the 1980’s with the pioneering Wellington exploratory jazz ensemble ‘Primitive Art Group’ which remains hugely influential to subsequent generations of adventurous musicians in Aotearoa.
Neill’s time in Wellington was prolific and cemented him as one of the most creative musicians in the country – appearing in a huge number of groups such as The Four Volts, The Six Volts, Rabbitlock, The Front Lawn, The Spines and many more.
In 2020, after many years spent in AK and Australia, Neill travelled back to Wellington to reunite with his compatriots from the 1980s and record an album of original tunes he had developed with John Stuart.
The Devils Gate Outfit was formed to rehearse, perform and record Neill and John’s compositions and featured his close friends and Six Volts alumni Anthony Donaldson, David Donaldson and Steve Roche, with next-generation Wellington sonic adventurers Daniel Beban, Tom Callwood and Cory Champion completing the lineup.
DGO has subsequently become the most dynamic and creative instrumental group in Wellington, and continues to perform many of Neill’s compositions.
Over two days and nights the group worked on the music for ‘Phantom Tones’.
The album centres Neill’s gorgeous, colourful and charismatic saxophone playing – his remarkable tone, his beautiful phrasing, his breadth of expression, his generosity, his joy, his romanticism – all propelled by a band which supports, pushes and transforms the compositions into worlds of surprising and unpredictable textures.
18 months after recording ‘Phantom Tones’ Neill was diagnosed with a virulent lymphoma that took his life in December 2021.
The release of ‘Phantom Tones’ is made possible through the generosity of Neill’s wife Naomi, after whom the ballad ‘Naomi’s Window’ is named, and his friend David Harvey.
All compositions by Neill Duncan & DGO Except Lonely Swinger, Naomi's Window & Handiwork by Neill Duncan & John Stuart + DGO
Recorded at the Pyramid Club, Pōneke, Aotearoa – New Zealand by Daniel Beban on 27/28 February 2020
Released February 26, 2023
Collectors edition of 200 12" Vinyl record of Neill Duncan with the Devils Gate Outfit, recorded at the Pyramid Club, mixed by Plan 9 and mastered by Anne Taegert at D&M.
1.Loosening the Screws 09:19
2.Learning to Suffer 02:47
3.Pickpocket Rag 07:26
4.Lonely Swinger 02:50
5.Naomi's Window 08:18
6.Ghost Beats 02:04
8.Phantom Tones 01:07