Jazz gala bor­rows some blue


Big band leader Rodger Fox, is tak­ing the old English cus­tom of ‘‘some­thing old, some­thing new, some­thing bor­rowed, some­thing blue’’ quite lit­er­ally.

The say­ing pro­vides in­spi­ra­tion for a unique jazz gala con­cert on June 4, 2016 dur­ing the Manawatu In­ter­na­tional Jazz & Blues Fes­ti­val, with a pro­gramme that fuses jazz, blues and pop.

A re­cent tri­umph has been Rodger’s con­cert se­ries with New Zealand pi­anist, Michael Hous­toun which fused clas­si­cal and jazz.

Now he is re­cast­ing some clas­sic New Zealand pop songs as jazz stan­dards for next year’s Jazz Gala con­cert, and has en­gaged three top artists to per­form the newly ar­ranged num­bers.

Mark Wil­liams, now lead vo­cal­ist for the re­formed New Zealand/Aus­tralian band Dragon, burst onto the New Zealand mu­sic scene in 1975 with hit sin­gle Yes­ter­day Was Just The Be­gin­ning Of My Life.

Rodger is re­ar­rang­ing the song for big band while giv­ing a Latin salsa treat­ment to Dragon’s April Sun In Cuba for Mark to per­form.

Deb­bie Har­wood cre­ated Kiwi group When The Cat’s Away be­fore launch­ing her own solo ca­reer.

Grow­ing up with her fa­ther’s col­lec­tion of Stan Ken­ton albums, Deb­bie also has fond mem­o­ries of sul­try June Christy stan­dards. For the Jazz Gala, the singer will also cover one of her orig­i­nal com­po­si­tions.

Iconic jazz and blues artist Erna Ferry will be per­form­ing her ver­sions of Sharon O’Neill’s Max­ine and Dave Dobbin’s Slice Of Heaven along with some clas­sic blues.

An­other artist is to be added to the line-up soon.

Rodger be­lieves the Queen’s Birth­day week­end Old, New, Bor­rowed and Blue Jazz Gala in the Re­gent On Broad­way – a cel­e­bra­tion to mark the Manawatu Jazz Club’s 50th an­niver­sary – will have spe­cial ap­peal to those who re­call the decades when bands such as Hello Sailor, Spilt Enz, Quincy Con­serve and Dragon first strut­ted their stuff.

This re­call as­pect of the con­cert takes on added res­o­nance with a por­tion of the pro­ceeds be­ing do­nated to Alzheimer’s Manawatu.

So, get ready now to croon in June – book­ings for the Jazz Gala are open now through Tick­etDirect.


New Zealand Mu­sic Hall of Famer Mark Wil­liams head­lines next year’s Jazz Gala con­cert at Queen’s Birth­day week­end.

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