Saxophonist Bob Sheppard Saxophonist Bob Sheppard CREDIT: Massey University
Trumpet player Alex Sipiagin Trumpet player Alex Sipiagin CREDIT: Massey University

US jazz legends come together for NZ gigs

Tuesday 16 August 2011, 3:28PM
By Massey University

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 two New Zealand concerts this weekend.

The visiting United States musicians, Alex Sipiagin (trumpet), Bob Sheppard (saxophone) and Steve Houghton (drums), will join legendary New Zealand trombonist Rodger Fox In the capital where they will be backed by the award-winning New Zealand School of Music Big Band and Wellington Jazz Orchestra at the Wellington Town Hall on Friday. They will run workshops for jazz students in Wellington on Thursday.

They go north for the second of their two New Zealand concerts to play with Auckland-based jazz pianist Phil Broadhurst, bassist Thomas Boting and special guests the Alan Brown Trio at Massey’s Albany campus on Sunday night.

“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.

The NZSM Gala Jazz Concert: 7:30pm, Friday 19 August, Wellington Town Hall. Bookings through Ticketek (www.ticketek.co.nz or 0800 842 538) Adults $39, Students / Seniors $20

NZSM Jazz Festival: 9:00am–5:00pm Friday 19, Saturday 20 August, Wellington Town Hall
Observers welcome: Adults $10 per day, Students free

Jazz Concert of the Year: 8pm, Sunday 21 August, The Round Room, Atrium Building, Massey University Albany. Bookings: www.eventfinder.co.nz or trudy.lile@nzsm.ac.nz.
Adults $35, concessions $15 or table for six - $180.