Rodger Fox Big Band

Get the Rodger Fox Big Band to the 2017 Monterey Jazz Festival

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The Rodger Fox Big Band has received a once-in-a-lifetime invitation - this is an opportunity to join us in making history!

The Band has been asked to perform at the 60th Monterey Jazz Festival in the US in September.

Festival organisers have recognised the pre-eminent status of our big band and invited us to join the line-up in its milestone anniversary year. Musical Director Rodger Fox is delighted with the unexpected invitation - it reflects the overseas reputation he and his players have achieved over the 40 years the band has been running.

In rolling out the red carpet, CEO of the festival, Tim Jackson, says "It's a great honour to invite New Zealand's acclaimed big band" to join the line-up in a milestone year. This festival is renowned as one of the world's pre-eminent longest consecutively running jazz festivals, which makes the invitation to Rodger Fox particularly special.

Our programmes for the festival will include performances with US blues guitar master Chris Cain and a featured programme of New Zealand music. In addition to the Monterey Jazz Festival invitation, Rodger has arranged performances on the West Coast of America and a recording session at the acclaimed United Studios in Los Angeles. United is where top artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Harry Connick and Diana Krall recorded many of their celebrated albums.

Rodger's 20-musician big band is comprised of Wellington's leading young talent, including Lauren Ellis - drums, Ben Hunt - Trumpet, Eilish Wilson - saxophone and Oscar Laven - Saxophone are all seem around Wellington in bands such as the Richter City Rebels and the Mingus Ensemble.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime for Rodger and all of the musicians. However with these opportunities come significant financial challenges. The Rodger Fox big band is a not-for-profit society, and the total tour budget is set at a minimum of $128,000, which the big band has four months to raise.The society, run by a small committee, doesn't remunerate any of the band members nor Rodger Fox. At best it covers costs which can be very difficult at times.

Here's your opportunity to join us in making history!

The band has set a baseline target of $25,000 to get to Monterey. We're throwing everything at this, including a national tour across New Zealand to get over the line. We'll be dedicating all funds from the Jazz Gala national tour, which starts 1 June. The tour features four top USA jazz musicians including drummer Dave Weckl and Santana vocalist Tony Lindsay.

Ideally the band would LOVE to raise $50,000, to balance the total project budget with their tour fundraising.

Our focus is to promote the big band genre, and to produce an opportunity for up and coming young talented musicians to play in a top-level jazz band. The band is not a funded entity like other New Zealand large ensembles, and so donations make the difference between this happening or not.

We need your help! The opportunity to perform alongside some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world only happens once in a lifetime. It will provide impetus to our players and encourage them to reach even greater heights than they are achieving already.

Thank you!

Rodger and the band.


  • Grateful!


    Thanks again everybody. To raise an extra $5,000 is a real blessing. We're very grateful for your support.

    Our fundraising efforts continue with an upcoming concert in Palmerston North on the 14th of August. We're also working on putting a show together in Wellington...

    Rehearsals of the repertoire we will take to the US start Tuesday night!

    We'll keep you posted on our preparation over the next 10 weeks... and of course once we get to to Monterey!


    Rodger and the band



  • We did it!



    $25,677 raised with a day to spare!

    The Rodger Fox big band is going to Monterey!

    From the bottom of our hearts we thank all 169 of you wonderful people for your generous donations.

    We still have till midnight Friday before the fantastic folks at Boosted close off our crowdfunding campaign.

    That means we have 30 hours left in which we can still receive donations. Anything extra we raise in this time will help pay for our recording session at United Studios in Los Angeles. That's where Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presly and many other greats recorded; so the opportunity to make an album there is an honour in itself!

    So keep spreading the word if you can and many, many thanks again.

    Yours gratefully,

    Rodger and the band

    We did it!
  • So close!


    Well, we're 85% percent funded with only three days to go. Thank you so much for getting us so far!

    Another part of our fundraising effort was to tour the country earlier this month wth the legendary fusion drummer Dave Weckl. He really put us through our paces but we think we were up to the task.

    Here's what Richard Mays had to say about it in the Manawatu Standard:

    "The band, off to the Monterey Jazz Festival in September, had their best compliment paid by Weckl in his first New Zealand appearance in 21 years, who said he thought he'd have to slow the tempo of his playing, but no." 

    However, if we don't reach our funding target by midnight this Friday our trip to Monterey will be in jeopardy. Unless we reach our target we won't get a cent of what you wonderful people have pledged.

    We'd appreciate it greatly if you could keep spreading the word so together we can get this project over the line.

    Many thanks,

    Rodger and the band

    So close!
  • We're nearly there!


    Thank you all so much for your generous donations and support so far. We're 60% funded with 6 days to go, and are close to representing New Zealand at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival.

    Please share the band's mission with friends and famlly if you can, it's greatly appreciated. See the link below to Radio New Zealand National's recent interview with us. More updates coming soon!

    Rodger and the band

    We're nearly there!