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An Album Unique in Time, Place And Sound


There’s funk, Latin, jazz and blues but what happens when you meld them together?

Jazz legend, Rodger Fox, knows and, in blending those genres together to create a distinctive sound, he’s produced one of the most creative and memorable CDs this year.

Last October to rekindle jazz fusion, as it’s called, he brought together five pre-eminent musicians who are masters of their craft. Three road gigs later, they entered the studio to record the Rodger Fox FuNkbone Experience, a CD unique in time, place and sound.

Now the musicians are returning to hit the road again and celebrate the release of the first small group CD Rodger’s produced for eight years. The North Island tour takes in Wellington (April 9), Palmerston North (April 11), Tauranga Jazz Festival (April 14) and Devonport (April 16).

The programme launches their sizzling CD singles and the quintet are available during and afterwards to sell and sign their album.

Two of the musicians, bass player Dewayne Pate and Matt Harris on keyboard, are direct from the United States and revel in creating the jazz fusion sound.

Dewayne Pate has worked with a wide array of artists including Huey Lewis and The News, Boz Scaggs, Maria Muldaur, Pat Benatar, Chris Cain and Charlie Musselwhite. He’s been a columnist for Bassics Magazine and recently toured with Grammy winning trumpet virtuoso, Arturo Sandoval.

Matt Harris is co-director of jazz studies at California State University and has toured, written and recorded with such jazz legends as Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, Diane Shure and Tim Ries (saxophonist for The Rolling Stones).

The other three performers are guitarist Nick Granville, one of New Zealand’s fusion/jazz players and guitar tutor at the NZ School of Music, Lance Philips, jazz programme leader at the NZ School of Music and percussionist with the Dancing With the Stars band and jazz legend, Rodger Fox himself.

Rodger Fox explains that jazz fusion was popular in New Zealand from the 1960s to ‘80s but then gave way to other expressions of jazz however “it’s time to reinvent its vibrant sound for New Zealand audiences.”

He’s looking forward to once again play with a smaller group as it allows greater versatility and a chance for him to lead with the melody. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase the trombone and for the other players to improvise around the numbers,” Rodger says.

“For me, it means meeting the demands of playing a full concert and practising hard a return to what I did as a younger player.”

The programme, based on the CD, features original material and tributes to music by jazz greats Fred Wesley, Sonny Still, Grant Green and Jazz Crusaders.

The Rodger Fox FuNkbone Experience opens its tour at the Bristol Hotel, Cuba Mall, in Wellington, at 8pm on April 9. Entry is free. CDs will be on sale.

© Scoop Media

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