All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

172

The Rodger Fox Big Band: A Rare Connection

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Last year was the thirtieth for trombonist Rodger Fox's world-class big band from faraway New Zealand, and the celebration was marked by the release of yet another mouth-watering banquet of swinging, straight-ahead jazz from Down Under. This is either the band's sixteenth or seventeenth album, depending on whether one includes Devil May Care, a session from four years ago on which the ensemble backs vocalist Erna Ferry. I've missed all but the last five but don't aim to make that mistake again.

As he has before, Jon Papenbrook braved the long trip from Los Angeles to Auckland to reclaim a seat in the trumpet section, playing lead on every track and soloing thrice (more about that anon). Pianist Bill Cunliffe, a guest on the band's previous album, Warriors, sits in for Brian Henderson on the last four numbers, all of which he wrote and arranged—"A Rare Connection" and the colorful three-part London Suite.

The Fox is a bit more cagey this time, tacking on some funk and blues to complement such classic comestibles as Nat Pierce's "Mr. Wong's Bag" and Richard Carpenter's "Walkin'." The blues were tempered by a pair of masters, Frank Foster ("Tomorrow's Blues Today") and the late Bobby Troup ("The Meaning of the Blues"), while the funk comes to us courtesy of Alan Baylock ("Two Seconds to Midnight"), James Ellis ("The Chicken") and Cunliffe ("Queensway," the last movement of the London Suite ). The suite's opening section, "Oxford Street," is a carefree prancer that sounds much like something Bob Mintzer might have written, while the second, "Kensington Garden," frames a peaceful backdrop for Cunliffe's pensive solo.

Fox's growling, wah-wah trombone is especially persuasive on the shuffling "Two Seconds to Midnight," and he solos astutely on four other numbers including his feature, "The Meaning of the Blues." Papenbook's gossamer flugel is showcased on "A Rare Connection," and he adds incisive trumpet solos on "Tomorrow's Blues" (muted) and "Queensway." Also weighing in with absorbing commentary are alto saxophonists Godfrey De Grut and Jonathan Franklin, tenors Pete France and Cameron Allen, trombonist Haydn Godrey, guitarist Neil Watson, and drummer Graham Cope, whose vigilant timekeeping helps guard against any rhythmic lapses.

Best wishes to Rodger and the band on reaching the ripe old age of thirty; I hope they can at least double that number. While waiting for that to happen, lend an ear to their latest album, as beautiful and breathtaking as New Zealand itself.


Track Listing: Walkin

Personnel: Rodger Fox, leader, trombone; Jo Spiers, Scott Whineray, John Mawdsley, Paul Norman (1, 3-5), Greg McCallum (2, 6-10), trumpet; Godfrey de Grut, alto, soprano sax; Jonathan Franklin, alto sax; Pete France, Cameron Allen, tenor sax; Andrew Baker, baritone sax; Ben Sheat, Hadyn Godfrey, trombone; Riwai Hina (1, 3-5), Steve Packer (2, 6-10), bass trombone; Brian Henderson (1-6), piano; Jeremy Toy (1, 3-5), Neil Watson (2, 5-10), guitar; Vanessa McGowan, bass; Grahame Cope, drums. Special guests

Title: A Rare Connection | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: TBone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Plays New Zealand

Plays New Zealand

Rattle Records (New Zealand)
2016

buy
Too Cool

Too Cool

Nzsm Jazz
2015

buy
The Capitol Sessions

The Capitol Sessions

Ia (independent Artists)
2013

buy
No Exit

No Exit

TBone Records
2007

buy
Rodger Fox Presents Ray Woolf

Rodger Fox Presents...

Tbone / Ode Records
2007

buy
A Rare Connection

A Rare Connection

TBone Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Light Of Love CD/LP/Track Review
Light Of Love
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Heaven Steps To Seven CD/LP/Track Review
Heaven Steps To Seven
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 23, 2018
Read In The Blue Light CD/LP/Track Review
In The Blue Light
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read "In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording" CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "Pelagos" CD/LP/Track Review Pelagos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 3, 2017
Read "Oblique (trio)" CD/LP/Track Review Oblique (trio)
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "Gleb Kolyadin" CD/LP/Track Review Gleb Kolyadin
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 22, 2018
Read "Modern Lore" CD/LP/Track Review Modern Lore
by Doug Collette
Published: February 11, 2018
Read "4" CD/LP/Track Review 4
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 27, 2018