Murray McNabb Profile

Graham Reid
10 Dec 2020

The life of keyboard player, composer and innovative jazz musician Murray McNabb was full of ironies. He was a jazz (and beyond) player who was initially inspired by Thelonious Monk but mostly earned his living anonymously writing advertising jingles.

He co-wrote the music for one of New Zealand’s most successful feature films but his is not the name most people would remember from it. And, not the least of the ironies, there have been more of his albums released since his death than in the previous decade.

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Dr Tree: Bob Jackson, Frank Gibson Jr. and Murray McNabb.
Photo credit: Gianmarco Liguori collection
Murray McNabb with Gianmarco Liguori in Salon Kingsadore
Photo credit: Gianmarco Liguori collection
Murray McNabb at the organ.
Photo credit: Gianmarco Liguori collection
Kim Paterson onstage at Your Father's Mustache, Auckland, with Space Case: Frank Gibson Jr (drums), Bruce Lynch (bass), Murray McNabb (keyboards).
Photo credit: Kim Paterson collection
Space Case, from left: Andy Brown, Frank Gibson Jr, Brian Smith, Kim Paterson, Murray McNabb.
Photo credit: Kim Paterson collection
Murray McNabb
Photo credit: Gianmarco Liguori collection
Gianmarco Liguori and Murray McNabb, 2012
Unknown, Murray McNabb, Paul Hewitt and Frank Gibson Jr in the 1980s.
Photo credit: Gianmarco Liguori collection
Gianmarco Liguori with Kim Paterson and Murray McNabb - Ancient Flight Text (2009, Sarang Bang)
Murray McNabb
Apra Silver Scroll, 1988 (from left): Murray McNabb. Edwina Thorne, Margaret and Eldred Stebbing
A rare Murray Grindlay live performance, Sale St, Auckland, October 2011. Left to right: Murray McNabb, Bruce Lynch, Grindlay, Frank Gibson Jr. 
Photo credit: Richard Morris collection
Nathan Haines & The Enforcers, Cause Celebre, Auckland circa 1994. Murray McNabb is to the left.
Photo credit: Karl Pierard
Gianmarco Liguori with Murray McNabb and Kim Paterson - Duga-3 (2012, Sarang Bang Records)
Murray McNabb and Frank Gibson Jr. head overseas in 1974
Photo credit: Frank Gibson Jr. collection
Salon Kingsadore - 'Anti Borneo Music' with Murray McNabb/Gianmarco Liguori
New Zealand jazz funk fusion band Space Case, active in the early 1980s. Clockwise from top left: Kim Paterson, Brian Smith, Murray McNabb, Andy Brown, Frank Gibson Jr.
Photo credit: Kim Paterson collection
Murray McNabb with Salon Kingsadore
Photo credit: Gianmarco Liguori collection
The Murray McNabb Group's Every Day Is A Beautiful Day. Issued in January 2014, it was Murray's final recording session.
Murray McNabb
Photo credit: Gianmarco Liguori collection
The Way In Is The Way Out - The Music Of Murray McNabb (Sarang Bang 2LP compilation, 2016)
Gianmarco Liguori's 2007 solo album Stolen Paintings featured a stellar line-up of supporting musicians including Kim Paterson and Murray McNabb, and received reviews to match.
Murray McNabb
Photo credit: Gianmarco Liguori collection