Video of the Day: The Rodger Fox Big Band

  • Video of the Day: The Rodger Fox Big Band
Video of the Day: The Rodger Fox Big Band

Video of the Day: The Rodger Fox Big Band

Today’s Video of the Day is from a true tōtara of our music hapori: Dr. Rodger Fox. Many of us within our music hapori and beyond have been able to witness Rodger’s brilliance, dedication and love for Aotearoa music.

Rodger’s musical haerenga began in childhood, learning violin through the church. The nuns found that Rodger had a calling to a different sound and he began to explore different jazzier, brassier sounds, playing the cornet, then trumpet and eventually landing on the mighty trombone. Rodger would grow this talent for the rest of the lifetime, bringing a whole community of music lovers along with him.

Rodger Fox leaves behind an astounding legacy including the famous Rodger Fox Big Band which he founded in 1973. Rodger Fox Big Band established a home in our cultural landscape here and internationally, playing prestigious international jazz festivals. In 1980, Rodger Fox Big Band propelled Aotearoa jazz to new heights by becoming the first New Zealand band to receive an invitation to perform at Europe’s iconic Montreux Jazz Festival.

Rodger Fox’s career was imbued with the spirit of this week’s theme of “amplifying local and independent music community champions”. During his time as a teacher at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, Fox used his talents to encourage the next generation of musicians. Rodger Fox was always passionate about young people being introduced to jazz, with his Young Jazz Band-it competition providing a space for young players to hone their skills and find their musical community.

Fox’s reputation as a jazz legend permeated overseas and led to international performances playing at jazz festivals including Montreux, Monterey and New Orleans. In 2022 Rodger Fox was recognised as he Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2022, a fitting tribute to a true Kiwi icon.

You can see a glimpse of Rodger Fox and his impact in today’s Video of the Day highlight which was taken during a RNZ live session in 2018.

Rodger Fox was a mentor, supporter and advocate for many across the music industry in Aotearoa and will be truly missed. Moe mai rā e matua. Ngā mihi nunui mō tō puoro, tō hautūtanga me tō aroha. 🕊️