Carlos Navae

Born in Acapulco, Mexico. Carlos comes from a musical family. Since a young age he has had an interest in percussion, guitar, singing and dancing. He learnt his skills from his father who is a music professor/musician in Mexico.
Carlos specializes in Mexican Mariachi music, Latin Percussion, Guitar Playing and Singing.
Carlos started performing at Bars and Resorts in Acapulco, Mexico City and Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. In 2004 he moved to Wellington NZ. Carlos is a professional Composer/Singer/Guitarist & Percussionist.
In the beginning of 2005 he formed a Salsa band called "Clave Latina" and now known as "Carlos Navae & Son Clave" which is known as the best Salsa Band in New Zealand. Carlos is also leader of the Cuban Trio “Son Asere” and member of Several Bands including Brazilian band: Samba Funk, Latin Jazz Band: Grupo Salson, Reggae band: Rainbow Country, and Hip Hop/Reggaeton Band: The Jineteros. Carlos has been a special Guest with members of the Wellington Vector Orchestra and The Black Seeds with the Vaughn Roberts' Big Band.
Carlos has performed around Wellington in well known venues, bars, and major events around New Zealand such as the Festival Of The Elements, the Nelson Jazz Festival , Summer Hummer in Masterton with Frankie Stevens 2006, Jambalaya Rotorua 2006, Summer City Botanical Gardens 2007-2008, NZ Pacific Salsa Congress 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010, Cuba St Carnival 2009 and the Jackson St Fiesta 2009.

Rafael Ferrer

Rafael Ferrer was born on the eve of Carnival in Cuba in 1976 and has been dancing ever since.
He first participated in the Carnaval de Habana when he was just nine and won the prize for "best male performer" at his first international dance festival at age ten. Over the years he has competed and performed in a number of festivals in Cuba, including the renowned Festival del Caribe in Santiago.
Before immigrating to New Zealand in 2005, Rafael worked as a professional dancer and choreographer in Havana, specialising in Afro-Cuban and Afro-Haitian dance.
He has worked with various dance troupes and performed in many top and hot spots around Cuba. He has also performed at the Teatro Nacional de Habana and appeared on both Cuban and Spanish television. He has also guested with the award winning Vaughn Roberts Big Band. Rafael is now based in Wellington where he teaches Cuban Salsa with Cuban Fusion.

Vaughn Roberts

Vaughn Roberts has performed with many of New Zealand’s top artists including Kiri Te Kanawa, Che Fu, Frankie Stevens, Jackie Clarke, Annie Crummer, Goldenhorse, Midge Marsden, Rob Guest, Tina Cross, the Beat Girls and Jon Stevens. Educated at the University of North Texas, Dallas, Vaughn spent 7 years teaching and gigging as a freelance musician in one of the America’s most challenging musical environments. It was here that he taught the up-and-coming Norah Jones and encouraged her to sing with a jazz big band for the first time. Other artists he performed with in the United States include Gerry Mulligan, Allen Vizutti, Jim McNeeley, Tim Hagans, and Gloria Gaynor. He has performed with pop icons such as Paul Potts and Ronan Keating. Upon completion of his Master’s degree Vaughn became Musical Director on board the Norwegian Cruise Line, which allowed him to compose his own music while travelling the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, South America, the Middle East, Asia and the Hawaiian Islands. Since his return to New Zealand in 2003, Vaughn has been in demand as a backing musician for such projects as TVNZ’s “Dancing with the Stars”, the 2004 national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita”, TV3’s Coca Cola Christmas in the Park, and backing Glenn Sharrock; lead singer of “The Little River Band”. His most significant project to date is the recent release of “Grreat Stuff!”; an entire album of original music for 18 piece Big Band featuring New Zealand’s finest jazz artists, and overseas guest musicians. The project was generously supported by Creative New Zealand, and is available through Rata Records. It won the New Zealand Music Award for “Jazz Album of the Year” in 2006. Vaughn is currently lecturing full-time at the New Zealand School of Music.

Matt Hitti

Matt is a multi-faceted trumpet player originally from Colorado, USA. In addition to holding a Master’s Degree in Jazz from the University of North Texas, where he was a member of the world famous One O’Clock Lab Band, Matt has wide-ranging international experience. His work includes recording and live performances in the Jazz, Latin, Rock, R&B and Classical idioms.

Miles Crayford

Miles completed his Bachelor of Music (Honours) in 2007, and since then has been working as a pianist and teacher around the Wellington area. He is a member of a few different salsa groups which regularly perform and music festivals.

Mostyn Cole

Mostyn has been a student of music from the early age of 6; studying the piano, picking up the Bass guitar at 14, and then Double bass at 18, and taking all three instruments to a tertiary education level at Massey University. After gaining a Bmus in Jazz Music, Mostyn has been a bassist in demand in his local city of Wellington and outside: performing around the country and internationally since 1993. Having a background in classical and Jazz music, Mostyn has researched and performed with the very best Salsa and Samba Groups NZ has on offer, Contributing to the 'Cuba St' cultural heart of Wellington with regular performances at the many bars and cafes along the street. His influences of Jazz, Classical, Salsa, Samba, Bossa-nova, and Electronic music provide a unique musical approach to music encompassing the whole gambit of improvising genres from around the world.

Lance Philip

Lance has been involved full time in the music industry for the last 25yrs both as a drummer, percussionist and educator. After graduating from (at the time), the only tertiary institution offering a qualification in Jazz performance, the Wellington Polytechnic Conservatorium of music, Lance travelled to Los Angeles USA to attend the Grove School of Music for 1 yr of full time study. After that inspiring and educational experience Lance returned to New Zealand ready to immerse himself into playing and teaching drums and percussion full time both privately and in high schools. Not long after, Lance was asked to join the faculty of the Wellington Polytechnic which has transitioned into the NZSM and now has led to Lance becoming a full time Senior Tutor at the New Zealand School of Music where he is teaching students majoring in Jazz Performance. When Lance isn’t teaching, he’s performing in a wide range of musical situations, ranging from Jazz trios and Big Bands, to Classic Rock/Pop/R&B covers bands to Brazilian and Afro/Cuban Salsa Jazz. The successful award winning TV show “Dancing With The Stars”, which has had five seasons to date, has been the most recent work Lance has been involved in playing percussion, but, Lance is also the percussionist for the Joe Cocker tribute band, “Hitchcock Railway”, that plays at big events such as the Martinborough Wine and food festival and Blues Brews and BBQ, and has also played percussion on Tui award winning CDs by Kevin Clark and Vaughn Roberts and Son Clave.

James Illingworth

James Illingworth has known music all his life. He began piano lessons at the tender age of 6yrs, studying predominantly classical music. After many years of tuition, James attended the Conservatorium of Music, in Wellington, New Zealand, where he discovered his passion for the Jazz idiom. Majoring in Jazz Piano performance, James excelled, gaining a Bachelor of Music, and winning a composition award for his efforts. Today James is recognized as one of New Zealand’s leading pianists, not only in the jazz arena but as an accompanist, a composer, session player, arranger, and performer who effortlessly crosses many genres, from playing musical theatre with the Wellington Symphonia to composing R&B tunes. As a performer, James’ speed, skill and melodic expression and intuition has been likened to pianists Oscar Peterson, Kenny Kirkland and at times Keith Jarret. He is a consummate professional on the bandstand, and his boundless energy and spontaneity are apparent, making James a pleasure to play with, watch and listen to.
Some recent performance credits include…
Wellington International Jazz Festival – “James Illingworth Trio”
Recloose Live Band Tours – Australia & New Zealand
Sydney Festival with American dj/producer “Recloose”, (USA)
Cabaret residency – “James Illingworth Trio”
Cabaret recording sessions – “James Illingworth Trio”
Trinity Roots
Southside of Bombay
The Holidaymakers
Patrick Artero (France)
Jens Bunge (Germany)
Todd Londagin (UK)
George Washingmachine (Aus)
Rob Lee (Canada)