The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra teams up with the Rodger Fox Big Band for its most extensive tour of the 2016 NZSO Season - Swing into Spring.
For the first time in the NZSO’s history, the Rodger Fox Big Band will join them for 12 action-packed concerts which merge the worlds of Classical, Jazz, Latin and Big Band. Within 16 days, 82 NZSO and Big Band musicians, and their instruments, will be transported all around New Zealand, from Kerikeri to Invercargill.
Fresh arrangements of famous New Zealand pop songs Royals (made famous by Grammy Award winner Lorde) and Wandering Eye (Fat Freddy’s Drop) will be performed alongside jazz standards A Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie) and Take the A Train (Billy Strayhorn) as well as the Suite from Bernstein’s West Side Story and Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.
This is a tour de force for the jazz and classical music worlds and we are delighted to share this exciting concert series with one of New Zealand’s most popular jazz ensembles, the Rodger Fox Big Band. Founded by charismatic trombone player Rodger Fox in 1973, this acclaimed ensemble has been keeping audiences swinging and dancing for more than 40 years.
Rodger Fox says audiences can expect an exciting and spontaneous mix of music.
“It’s more like a jazz gig than a traditional classical concert,” says Rodger. “The order of works will be decided spontaneously on the night depending on the mood in the concert hall. It’s definitely going to keep you on the edge of your seat.”
Staying true to the Big Band tradition, Rodger Fox has taken two New Zealand classics and put a Big Band spin on them.
“Big Bands have always taken music that’s current and put their own spin on it. They used to play The Beatles for instance… Performing Royals and Wandering Eye is our way of keeping that legacy going, as well as giving this great music another lease of life,” Rodger says.
“This is a ground-breaking concert series. There are new arrangements of popular songs plus a brand new work and we’re taking them all around New Zealand. This has never been done to this level before.”
In March, a new commission by internationally acclaimed composer and arranger Matt Harris arrived in New Zealand. Incorporating the contemporary sounds of bands like Snarky Puppy with the classic swinging big band sound of the Rodger Fox Big Band, The Red Zone was named after the area in Christchurch most affected by the February 2011 earthquake.
“This exciting new work takes the germ of an idea used in a Suite for Big Band and Orchestra composed some 40 years ago and puts it back into something contemporary, much like the rebuilding of the Red Zone area in Christchurch,” says Rodger.
Joining the Band, is the ‘real-deal’ Allen Vizzutti, a US trumpet virtuoso who is lauded internationally for his superb musicianship, easy control and lyrical playing. In keeping with the Big Band’s tradition, he will have a starring role. His performance of Firedance (Jeff Tyzik and Allen Vizzutti) will show off his extraordinary ability as the solos run the gamut of virtuoso technique, including double-tonguing octaves and circular breathing.
New Zealander Hamish McKeich will conduct all 12 concerts. McKeich has forged an impressive international conducting career alongside a passionate loyalty for developing the repertoire of contemporary and experimental music. He served as the NZSO’s Associate Conductor from 2002-2006 and he has given more than 100 world premieres of new works. In 2012, he was awarded a Douglas Lilburn Trust citation for services to New Zealand music.
Enjoy this exciting mix of music in Swing Into Spring, in association with NZSO Principal Partner Ryman Healthcare.
It’s a great night out with The Rodger Fox Band, Allen Vizzutti and your national orchestra, the NZSO.
A Night in Tunisia - Dizzy Gillespie, arr. Jeff Tyzik Fanfare for the Common Man - Aaron Copland, arr. Paul McDonald Firedance - Allen Vizzutti & Jeff Tyzik Glide - Allen Vizzutti Matakana - Nick Granville North of the Apricots - John Rae Oblivion - Astor Piazzolla, arr. Allen Vizzutti Royals - Joel Little & Ella Yelich-O’Connor, arr. Jesper Riis Take the A Train - Billy Strayhorn, arr. Allen Vizzutti The Meaning of the Blues - Bobby Troup, arr. Bill Stapleton & Jeff Driskill The Red Zone - Matt Harris Touch - Allen Vizzutti Wandering Eye - Fat Freddy’s Drop, arr. Jesper Riis West Side Story Suite - Leonard Bernstein, arr. Paul McDonald
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