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Top Trombonists Have a Blast

Top Trombonists Have a Blast

Two top American trombonists caught up with a Kiwi legend this week.

Jim Pugh and Dr Irv Wagner have joined forces with Rodger Fox to hold trombone masterclasses in Wellington and give three outstanding concerts in Wellington and Palmerston North.

The Wellington gigs, entitled Bone Bonanza, are at Rogue And Vagabond on Thursday, August 2 at 9pm and Victoria University Studio, 310 Student Union Building, on Saturday, August 4 at 6pm.

The musicians, accompanied by a three piece from the New Zealand School of Music, will showcase both their jazz and classical repertoire and demonstrate why they’re among the elite trombone exponents in the world.

Jim Pugh, as well as being the lead trombonist with Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd and Chick Corea’s Return To Forever Band, is also a composer and educator. For 25 years he’s worked as a freelance trombonist in New York and toured and recorded with the rock group, Steely Dan.

Jim, a faculty member at the University of Illinois, is Distinguished Professor of Jazz Trombone.

Irv Wagner is a David Ross Boyd Professor and a founding member of the Oklahoma Brass Quintet. He features in the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and conducts many of the orchestra’s pops concerts. His compositions and arrangements for trombones and orchestras are in demand throughout the United States.

Rodger Fox is New Zealand’s foremost jazz trombonist, big band leader, jazz educator and producer. He’s head of the jazz brass, large ensemble and fusion ensemble at the New Zealand School of Music.

Rodger says to get Jim and Irv to New Zealand is an incredible opportunity. “They’re both at the top of their game as classical and jazz musicians and are keen to impart their knowledge to musicians here,” he says.

“I’m delighted to be playing alongside these two stellar performers.”

Rodger explains the trombone is the most versatile of brass instruments and goes across all genres. It’s the one brass instrument that can be sonorous and brilliant at the same time he says.

The concerts will include trombone pieces from jazz impresarios J.J. Johnson and Kai Binding as well as classical works written for the trombone.

A highlight of the visit will be a two day Trombone Blast masterclass at the School of Music on August 4/5 led by all three soloists.

“It’s an opportunity to bring people, who play the instrument, together for two solid days in one place,” Rodger says. “The workshops will range from how to play the trombone through to what you need to be to become a professional trombonist and everything in between.”

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