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US jazz legends come together for NZ gigs

Monday, August 15, 2011

US jazz legends come together for NZ gigs

Three international jazz stars, who have backed the likes of Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Gary Burton and Toots Thielemans between them, will star in the Massey University Albany campus’ Jazz Concert of the Year this Sunday.

In the second of their two New Zealand concerts, visiting United States musicians Alex Sipiagin (trumpet), Bob Sheppard (saxophone) and Steve Houghton (drums) will join the legendary New Zealand trombonist Rodger Fox for an extraordinary performance with Auckland-based jazz pianist Phil Broadhurst, bassist Thomas Boting and special guests the Alan Brown Trio.

In the capital they will be backed by the award-winning New Zealand School of Music Big Band and Wellington Jazz Orchestra in a Gala Jazz Concert, on Friday, 19 August, at the Wellington Town Hall. They will run workshops for jazz students in Wellington on Thursday.

“All three guest artists are vastly experienced musicians with an extensive performance and recording pedigree,” says the School’s events coordinator Stephen Gibbs.

Alex Sipiagin began learning trumpet in Russia and at 16 entered the Moscow Music Institute combining his classical studies with explorations into jazz. Following a 1990 visit to the United States performing with a Russian student jazz band, Mr Sipiagin decided to take his jazz studies to the next level and moved to New York City. He became a member of the Mingus Big Band in 1995 and in 2003 he recorded with Michael Brecker’s Quindectet. With more than 11 recordings to his credit, he tours extensively throughout Europe, Japan and Russia.

Both Steve Houghton and Bob Sheppard have been to New Zealand before and impressed audiences with their virtuosity, technical fluency and outstanding musicianship. “They are also excellent communicators and teachers,” Mr Gibbs says.

Mr Sheppard has been a studio musician on a wide range of studio, film and television projects, and has also recorded his own albums. Among the many artists he has collaborated with are Steely Dan, Rickie Lee Jones, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, Chick Corea and Michael Franks.

The concerts are organised by the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) – a joint venture between Massey and Victoria Universities, based in Wellington and Auckland.

Jazz Concert of the Year: 8pm, Sunday 21 August, The Round Room, Atrium Building, Massey University Albany. Bookings: or
Adults $35, concessions $15 or table for six - $180.


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