NATHAN HAINES is A saxophonist, producer composer and DJ who's been making music and doing what he loves for over two decades
From 100-piece orchestral albums to analog straight to tape quartet jazz to electronic dance music based projects, Nathan's musical life has been defined by his many collaborations. His albums "Squire For Hire" and "Sound Travels" both produced in London with DJ/producer Phil Asher in the early 2000's featured a vast array of collaborators and musicians. Nathan has recently delved into the world of all analog acoustic production with his "The Poet's Embrace" and follow-up "Vermillion Skies" albums released in his native New Zealand, the UK and Germany on the Warner Classics and Jazz label. Nathan is a musician who blends his love of jazz harmony and melody with modern production styles and a dancefloor sensibility - his very first album "Shift Left" released in New Zealand in 1994 (and later in the UK on Verve Records) set the benchmark for a new style of production and music in New Zealand which went on to influence a whole generation of producers and musicians.
Based between London and Auckland for over two decades, Nathan is a headline artist at London’s Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club, and he's performed at many international festivals and clubs as both a solo artist and also as a DJ. He has written, recorded and toured with US soul/jazz legend Marlena Shaw on his 2003 album “Squire For Hire” and she also guested on his 2007 album “Right Now” (released in the UK on Freestyle Records) as well as performing live with her regularly in the UK and Europe since 2001. He has also recorded and toured with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra – the resultant album “Life Time” features Nathan singing on three tracks with arrangements by the Grammy Award winning arranger and pianist Alan Broadbent.
Nathan is passionate about vinyl and as well as manufacturing his own album titles, he is an avid collector of original pressing albums which often find their way into his regular DJ sets.
Nathan has won New Zealand's Tui Jazz Album of the Year award three times, most recently in 2014 for his small big band/ensemble/vocal album "Vermillion Skies", as well as appearing in international publications Straight No Chaser, UK Time Out, and UK's Music Tech magazine which ran a six page special on the making of his analog straight to tape album "The Poet's Embrace".
Other collaborators include drum and bass producer A-Sides (collectively the pair are known as Sci-Clone), New Zealand based producer Chris Cox aka FRank Booker, Jamiroquai, Damon Albarn (who appeared on Squire For Hire), Marc Mac from 4 Hero, Da Lata, Mark de Clive Lowe, UK rapper Ty, DJ/Poet Rich Medina, Italian pianist Marco Di Marco, Level 42 keyboardist Mike Lindup, US drumming legend Billy Cobham and many prominent DJ’s, producers and beatmakers including Masters at Work and Louie Vega (Elements of Life).
The eldest son of jazz bassist Kevin Haines, Nathan was born into a very musical home on the North Shore of Auckland in New Zealand. Along with guitarist brother Joel, the pair alongside their father were playing major international Jazz Festivals in New Zealand by the mid 80’s.
Nathan left for studies in New York in 1991 which immersed him in the worlds of jazz, hip-hop and latin musics, all of which were to become a big part in the bands he went on to later form, and influence the records he would make.
In 1993 UK based DJ Gilles Peterson spotted Nathan playing at Auckland's legendary Cause Celebre nightclub, and suggested to the then MD of Polygram records in New Zealand that he should be signed – which he duly was. 1994 saw the release of the ground breaking “Shift Left” album by Nathan – his first as a solo artist – which blended live rhythms with analog synthesisers, strings, vocals, and turntable scratching. This album won New Zealand Jazz Record of the Year, and was certified Gold, though the final sales figure was double that. It was also released in the UK on the Verve label in 1995, the same year that saw Nathan move to London.
In 1997 Nathan and drum and bass producer A-Sides (Jason Cambridge) formed the experimental cross-over production duo Sci-clone which made jazz inflected dance music for successful independent labels such as Metalheadz and Reinforced – as well as gaining an international reputation for unique, beautifully crafted drum and bass that was musical as well as hard hitting on the dancefloor.
Through the late 90’s Nathan eventually teamed up with West London based producer and DJ Phil Asher and their two albums “Sound Travels” and “Squire for Hire” for dance label Chillifunk remain classics.
Nathan also started regularly gigging with US soul legend Marlena Shaw who sung the title track from “Squire For Hire” – propelling the tune into the record boxes of DJ’s the world over.
Other collaborators on the album included UK soul diva Vanessa Freeman, Damon Albarn in his D-2 Gorrilaz guise, US poet Rich Medina, and the best of the UK’s musicians and singers.
After the success of this album Nathan guested on hundreds of records including Jamiroquai (2005’s Dynamite), 4 Hero, Mark de Clive Lowe, Reel People and with Italian pianist Marco di Marco. He also recorded a jazz album with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with arrangements by the Grammy Award winning Alan Broadbent, and successfully did a sell-out concert theatre tour in New Zealand which saw tens of thousands experiencing Nathan’s music alongside the magnificent ninety plus Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hamish McKeich.
Nathan also played many of the worlds jazz festivals and clubs including the North Sea Jazz Festival, London’s Jazz Cafe and Ronnie Scotts, and the Tokyo Blue Note.
Long term collaborator and keyboardist/producer Mike Patto teamed up with Nathan in the mid 2000’s and the pair made several records together, culminating in the analog straight to tape album “The Poet’s Embrace” released in New Zealand in 2012, and in the UK on Warner Classics and Jazz in early 2013. Nathan and his band played two sell out nights at Ronnie Scotts in late 2012, which also saw New Zealand pianist Kevin Field join the band – a first for the pair performing together outside New Zealand even though they had shared the stage since the late 1980’s.
“The Poet’s Embrace” saw Nathan return to his jazz roots and as well as Nathan’s finest releases showcasing his tenor saxophone playing which is very much to the fore on this album.
Mike Patto’s production and recording skills also shine brightly on the release – originally intended for vinyl but available digitally as well – and the record was recorded straight to a late 1950’s two-track Ampex tape machine with no mixing or overdubs.
The pair collaborated again for “Vermillion Skies” which debuted at number five in the New Zealand national charts in March 2013 and was also released in Australia. Also released on limited edition vinyl, the record features Nathan singing on two vocal tracks, plus the addition of a six-piece horn section.
2014 saw Nathan release "5 A Day" co-produced with Mike Patto and featuring beats from Marc Mac (one half of UK duo 4-Hero) and New Zealand based hip-hop producer P-Money as well as the vocal talents of Vanessa Freeman and Kevin Mark Trail.
Nathan is currently recording his 11th solo album in Auckland, New Zealand, due for release in 2018.