Originally from Faenza - Italy, Raff gained his musical training at the Conservatory of Music Fratelli Malerbi in Lugo, Italy and at the Northwestern University of Chicago, USA.

Upon his return to Italy, he began playing with, amongst others, the dance orchestra CASTELLINA PASI - winner of 3 RCA gold records. He recorded several LPs and has appeared in numerous videos, music and television broadcasts. Performing extensively throughout Italy and Europe - at the Frentana Music Festival and with various chamber music ensembles and orchestras, including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and has funked it up at festivals such as the Porretta Soul Festival. Since 2012 he has called Nelson his home, where he now collaborates with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra, and with Nelson City Brass as a guest soloist, the Nelson Jazz Festival, as well as a founding member of Sun City Soul.


Playing in Sun City Soul is a kind of homecoming for Annabel, harking back to her student days in Dunedin where she played alto and baritone in the horn section of a soul band. She still gets a kick out of the energy and groove of it and being part of a band that makes you want to drop everything and hit the dance floor. For many years she played in Christchurch under the influence of Stu Buchanan with the Garden City Band and started playing in smaller jazz groups after moving to Nelson in 2008. These days you’ll find her in the horn section of diverse bands in the top of the south, and from time to time leading her own small jazz group.



At the age of 4, Tessa’s musical journey began with learning the violin. After gaining grade 8 she turned to her passion of vocal jazz and studied at the Christchurch Jazz School graduating in 2001.

After another year of studying and gaining her Diploma in Teaching, she found herself head of music at a secondary school in Wellington. Two years later Europe was calling so she headed off on her OE basing herself in London.

While in London, Tessa performed, taught, and continued her learning with some of the UKs best jazz singers and musicians.

On returning to NZ Tessa recorded an album which was nominated for ‘Best Jazz Album’ 2010, taught at the Massey University Jazz school, sang in many jazz festivals across the country, and have appeared in two other NZ jazz albums.

Now based in Nelson, Tessa is immersing into the scene here and is involved in performing, teaching and as the musical director of the Nelson Jazz and Blues Festival.


When asked to contribute to his own bio, his response was: “Jak, plays Bass, been playin’ for 100 years – should be better” Jak prefers not to waste words on such things as this. Instead he puts his energy and drive into the solid groove and overall sound of Sun City Soul. If it’s not right – he will definitely let you know, and If it’s not broken – then why change it…just play the damn thing! Supporting and playing in all kinds of ensembles since his youth in Christchurch, Jak has done and played more than most…..and survived to tell the tale.


Taking over the role of commander in chief of all things guitar in 2020 is Don Manunui. Sun City Soul are honoured to have him on board, as we said farewell to our very own soul brother Steve Mitchell in 2019.

Not only has Don stepped up and  kept the soul engine humming - he has added his signature funk element to the mix.