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Avant Garage


Bizarre and theatrical jazz / art-rock performance group. Released an album and a self-titled EP in 1983 after receiving a Council Creative grant. Made up of an impressive assortment of well-known performers and composers (Ivan Zagni, Wayne Laird of From Scratch, Benny Staples of the Newmatics and Tim Mahon of Blam Blam Blam).

A jazzy-cum-classical nine-person ensemble with clarinets, cello, tuba and bassoon (in addition to guitar, bass and drums), New Zealand’s determinedly oddball Avant Garage sounds like something Zappa might have done in his Dada orchestral phase.

The music is generally pleasant (despite occasional skewed digressions, as on the instrumental “Funky Cockroach”); it’s the lyrics and vocals on songs like “Garage Sale” and “Mr Granite” that give this its modern, boundary-breaking character. Intelligent, esoteric and fascinating.

Ira Robbins: Taken from



  • Music (1983, Unsung Music, UN11)
  • Avant Garage (1983, Jayrem, JAY733)


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