The Rodger Fox Big Band is looking to raise $25,000 to go to Monterey Jazz Festival

The Rodger Fox Big Band is looking to raise $25,000 to go to Monterey Jazz Festival

The Rodger Fox Band has been asked to perform at the 60th Monterey Jazz Festival in the US in September, and is running a crowd-funding campaign on boosted to help.

Festival organisers have recognised the pre-eminent status of our big band and invited us to join the line-up in its milestone anniversary year. Musical Director Rodger Fox is delighted with the unexpected invitation - it reflects the overseas reputation he and his players have achieved over the 40 years the band has been running.

In rolling out the red carpet, CEO of the festival, Tim Jackson, says "It's a great honour to invite New Zealand's acclaimed big band" to join the line-up in a milestone year. This festival is renowned as one of the world's pre-eminent longest consecutively running jazz festivals, which makes the invitation to Rodger Fox particularly special.

Our programmes for the festival will include performances with US blues guitar master Chris Cain and a featured programme of New Zealand music. In addition to the Monterey Jazz Festival invitation, Rodger has arranged performances on the West Coast of America and a recording session at the acclaimed United Studios in Los Angeles. United is where top artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Harry Connick and Diana Krall recorded many of their celebrated albums.

Rodger's 20-musician big band is comprised of Wellington's leading young talent, including Lauren Ellis - drums, Ben Hunt - Trumpet, Eilish Wilson - saxophone and Oscar Laven - Saxophone are all seem around Wellington in bands such as the Richter City Rebels and the Mingus Ensemble.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime for Rodger and all of the musicians. However with these opportunities come significant financial challenges. The Rodger Fox big band is a not-for-profit society, and the total tour budget is set at a minimum of $128,000, which the big band has four months to raise.The society, run by a small committee, doesn't remunerate any of the band members nor Rodger Fox. At best it covers costs which can be very difficult at times.

Here's your opportunity to join us in making history!

The band has set a baseline target of $25,000 to get to Monterey. We're throwing everything at this, including a national tour across New Zealand to get over the line. We'll be dedicating all funds from the Jazz Gala national tour, which starts 1 June. The tour features four top USA jazz musicians including drummer Dave Weckl and Santana vocalist Tony Lindsay.

Ideally the band would LOVE to raise $50,000, to balance the total project budget with their tour fundraising.

Our focus is to promote the big band genre, and to produce an opportunity for up and coming young talented musicians to play in a top-level jazz band. The band is not a funded entity like other New Zealand large ensembles, and so donations make the difference between this happening or not.

We need your help! The opportunity to perform alongside some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world only happens once in a lifetime. It will provide impetus to our players and encourage them to reach even greater heights than they are achieving already.

Thank you!

Rodger and the band.