Calder Prescott Profile

Nick Bollinger
27 Feb 2020

“I’ve always loved jazz,” Calder Prescott said in 2006, more than 60 years after he began playing professionally, having been a passionate listener for even longer. “I could never understand why everyone else didn’t.”

At the time he was still making music on a daily basis: touring, rehearsing and arranging with the Dunedin City Jazz Orchestra, tutoring the Logan Park High School Jazz Band and fronting every Thursday at the Robbie Burns Bar in Dunedin’s CBD with his own Calder Prescott Jazz Quartet, and he would remain musically active up until his death at age 88 in January 2020.

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Mosgiel promoter and entrepreneur Joe Brown nurtured many musicians' careers over five deades. This portrait was taken by the Evening Post in 1959. Alexander Turnbull Library, EP/1959/0216-F
Four hands, 10 fingers: jazz pianists Doug Caldwell (left) and Calder Prescott at the Nelson jazz festival in January 2014.
Photo credit: Colette Jansen
Jazz (For Listening) Wellington: a Philips compilation of New Zealand groups recorded by the NZBC at a concert held by the Wellington Musicians Club on 13 June 1966. Calder Prescott played with the Keith Evans Group. 
Julian Lee, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and mentor
Calder Prescott, centre, at a tribute evening in his honour at Logan Park High School, 25 March 2015. He was retiring after teaching jazz to Logan Park pupils for 33 years. With him is Netta Wylie, former head of music at Logan Park, and John Dodd, in that role in 2015 and a former bass player for Midge Marsden and many others. 
Photo credit: Kristan Mouat
Calder Prescott, centre, at the Logan Park High School tribute evening in his honour, 25 March 2015. With him is (left) Netta Wylie, former head of music at LPHS, and Jane Johnson, at the time the the school's principal. 
Photo credit: Kristan Mouat
Watch: Calder Prescott Jazz Quartet - a documentary by Jonathan Fox, 2008.
Logan Park High School jazz band with Calder Prescott at right.
Photo credit: Kristan Mouat
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