Press Release – Rodger Fox Big Band
Big Band leader Rodger Fox has brought Capitol Sessions to the capital city. He launched his landmark 36th CD at a special tribute to him hosted by the Wellington Jazz Club early this evening.
Entitled Capitol Sessions with the Rodger Fox Wellington Jazz Orchestra, the CD was recorded at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, last year. The 18 piece big band raised over $100,000 in 2012 and flew to Los Angeles in July for two memorable days of recording in the studios.
There they could sense the ethereal presence of jazz greats Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole who recorded at Capitol regularly in the 1940s and ‘50s.
At tonight’s tribute to Rodger Fox on the 40th anniversary of his big band, the Wellington Jazz Orchestra played many of the tracks from the Capitol Sessions CD. They range from the Count Basie/Woody Herman era to contemporary music, all receiving the distinctive Rodger Fox arrangement and sound.
“This is my 36th CD and a very special one. It was born and nurtured in New Zealand, recorded in the US and has the hallmark and heritage of the Capitol sound,” Rodger says.
“I saw a strong connection between Capitol Sessions and Wellington, the capital city, where I live and perform so much of my music and was determined to release my CD here.”
The tribute to Rodger Fox was hosted at Westpac Stadium by former senior Labour MP and High Commissioner to Canada, Graham Kelly, himself a band leader for 25 years.
Graham, a member of the Wellington Jazz Club, said the club makes an annual award “to those people who’ve made an outstanding contribution to jazz in New Zealand.”
“Rodger as player, lecturer, orchestrator and conductor, has gone that extra mile in taking his big band overseas, giving them the experience of playing there and recording in one of the great studios in the world, bringing world class musicians to New Zealand and promoting jazz throughout this country,” Graham says.
“His legacy is holding master classes for young musicians and then developing their potential at secondary level and the New Zealand School of Music.”
The Wellington Jazz Club fully supports Rodger’s aim of presenting a documented case to the government for a full-time professional jazz orchestra for New Zealand.
“Hundreds of young musicians are studying jazz at high school and university but, when they finish, there’s nowhere for them to go. There has to be that full-time big band for them to aspire to and keep them in New Zealand,” Graham Kelly says
“What’s required is a commitment from all political parties to include a professional jazz orchestra in their manifesto and then someone to champion Rodger’s cause.”
To celebrate the 40th anniversary, Rodger has organised two national tours in September and October and has engaged six top jazz musicians from the United States as guest artists.
The CD, Capitol Sessions with the Rodger Fox Jazz Orchestra, goes on sale throughout New Zealand this week.