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Saturday, January 01, 2022

Roger Fox made Companion of New Zealand Order Of Merit

Jazz stalwart promoter and band leader Rodger Fox for nearly half a century has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Fox, as we all well know is a a trombonist, leader of his big band leader, a musical director and educator. He  was recognised for his services to music in this year's New Year honours.

It came as 'a bit of a surprise', but he said in the Press, that it was a good chance to showcase Jazz.

He told “I think it’s good for the arts really, it’s given them this sort of prominence, anything which can foster the arts and show there’s stuff happening in New Zealand in the arts, it’s all good, especially when it comes to jazz and big band music.”

The Rodger Fox Big Band had been a permanent fixture of New Zealand jazz music, and Jazz Festivals around the motu for nearly 50 years. They not only tour but also touring make contributions delivering workshops and promoting jazz music.

The band will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the end of 2023.

“When I first started it," he told RNZ,  "I wasn’t thinking 50 years down the track, you know, I probably wasn’t thinking 12 months down the track.”

He's had many highlights, including the Montreux Jazz Festival in the 1980s, At a time when no other Kiwi had performed there. He was a tutor at Massey University School of Music in the 2000s, becoming an Honorary Doctor of Music in 2005. And is currently senior lecturer at Victoria University (where he's been since 2011).

Fox came from a musical family. Both parents played, he said. So, it was inevitable that he'd go into music, too.

Congratulations, Roger. From all of us at Groove!