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New Zealand Jazz Icon Rodger Fox Dies Aged 71

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The jazz legend founded the Rodger Fox Big Band in 1973 and toured extensively here and overseas, playing at international jazz festivals including Montreaux, Monterey, and New Orleans.

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He also taught at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington. The trombonist was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2022 for his services to music.

Photo credit: (Source: rnz.co.nz)

Fox was only 18 when he began playing with a dance band in the Wellington / Porirua area.

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He told RNZ in 2022 that two of the biggest highlights were playing at Europe’s legendary Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1980 – the first-ever New Zealand band invited to play at an international jazz festival – and hosting American jazz saxophonist Michael Brecker’s visit to New Zealand to celebrate the Rodger Fox Big Band’s 30th anniversary.

David Bremner has been the principal trombonist in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years. He told RNZ’s Morning Report it was a “sorrowful time for the music industry” in New Zealand.

“So many rock bands, jazz musicians, classical artists have all had inspiration from Rog in the early part of their lives.” Bremner said Fox was a “driving force” in music with boundless energy, particularly when educating and inspiring the next generation of musicians.





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