It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing on 27 May 2024 of Dr Rodger Fox, Aotearoa New Zealand’s foremost jazz trombonist, big band maestro, jazz educator, arranger and producer. Rodger Fox performed in concert with some of the biggest names in the business from the jazz and entertainment world, promoted live concerts with his Big Band in the Global Festival arena and worked tirelessly over many years promoting jazz in New Zealand.

Rodger Fox was a Life Member of Tauranga Jazz Society, he performed regularly at the Tauranga Jazz Festival and was an integral part of the National Youth Jazz Competition both as Head Judge and sponsor.

Rodger Fox first performed at the Tauranga Jazz Festival in 1974 as a member of Quincy Conserve (a seven piece band). Then in 1976 he brought his Golden Horn Big Band to the Festival. This band was later renamed as the Rodger Fox Big Band. Over the years Rodger brought many international artists to the Festival, names like Michael Brecker, Steve Gadd, Joey DeFrancesco, Diane Shure, Jon Papenbrook, Arturo Sandoval, Kurt Elling, Randy Crawford, Peter Erskine, Dennis Chambers to name a few. In 2023 the Rodger Fox Big Band celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a concert at the Festival and in his usual style, Rodger planned an ambitious year of concerts concluding with a USA tour in January 2024.

Rodger was there at the very first Youth Jazz Competition in 1978 as the band leader of the Mana College Stage band who won the New Orleans Best Big Band Trophy. In 1985 Rodger donated the Rodger Fox Trophy for the Best Trombone player. At the 30th Tauranga Jazz Festival he was the Musical Director of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Over the years Rodger lead many weekend workshops. In 2015 Rodger took up the Head Judge role and initiated on stage workshops.

In the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM), for services to music, and he was conferred with an honorary doctorate (DMus) by Massey University in 2005. In the 2022 New Year Honours list, Rodger was promoted to Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM), for services to music.

We will miss Rodger Fox’s leadership, energy and enthusiasm for jazz. His contribution to jazz was huge.

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PAST EVENTS FROM 2024

Port of Tauranga 61st
National Jazz Festival

Join us from the 23rd of March to the 1st of April 2024 to experience another great week of jazz and fun in Tauranga.

Port of Tauranga 61st National
Jazz Festival

Join us from the 23rd of March to the 1st of April 2024 to experience another great week of jazz and fun in Tauranga.

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