Whanganui band rejuvenates local music scene

By Zaryd Wilson

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Chris Dann, Ken Chernoff, Matt Mills and Phil Ponga of new band River Reign play at Angora Restaurant every Thursday night starting this week.  PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
Chris Dann, Ken Chernoff, Matt Mills and Phil Ponga of new band River Reign play at Angora Restaurant every Thursday night starting this week. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

A new local band is experimenting with a fresh spot on the Whanganui music scene.

River Reign are taking up a residency at Angora Restaurant on Thursday nights, starting this week.

The jazz blues band is led by Whanganui man Matt Mills (flugelhorn) and Ken Chernoff (soprano saxophonist) who have been working together for about a year.

"It's an idea that I've had for a while - to create a music scene that's not a one-off," Chernoff said.

"Something that's regular ... it's about creating a scene where people can come and hear the music."

River Reign will play each Thursday at the restaurant on the corner of Victoria Ave and Ingestre St, and will be joined by guests from time to time.

Keyboardist Chris Dann and bassist Phil Ponga complete the line-up.

River Reign describe themselves as "four men with a wealth of musical experience playing diverse idioms" and say listeners can expect "melodies, harmonies, polyrhythms and daring improvisations".

Mills said they were unsure how the idea might develop - "Nobody else is doing it, not the style or the level we are doing it.

"I want people to listen - we are a band to listen to."

River Reign will play at Angora between 8.30pm and 11pm. Restaurant customers can stay on for the music, while there is a $5 door charge for those who come for the music with a listener's menu at the bar.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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