Journey Home, the CD recorded by Rodger Fox's Wellington Jazz Orchestra, has won the Tui for Best Jazz Album of the Year for 2012 in the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.
As one of New Zealand's foremost jazz trombonists and big band leaders, Dr Fox is no stranger when it comes to winning Tuis – he was a winner in 1981,2000, 2004 and – with the NZSM Big Band – in 2010.
Other finalist albums were Seven from Wellingtonian saxophonist Tim Hopkins and Delayed Reaction from Aucklander Phil Broadhurst.
The 2012 Tui was always going to be a cause for celebration at the Te Koki, New Zealand School of Music. Tim Hopkins recorded his album as part of his postgraduate study at NZSM and both Mr Broadhurst and Dr Fox are NZSM lecturers – at the Albany and Mt Cook campuses respectively.
In addition, the members of Dr Fox's Wellington Jazz Orchestra are largely current and former NZSM staff and alumni including Colin Hemmingsen (tenor sax), Dave Lisik (trumpet), Alex Nyman (alto sax), Nick Granville (guitar), Lance Philip (drums), Nick Tipping (bass) and Anita Schwabe (piano).
The Jazz Tui is announced and presented annually at the National Jazz Festival, hosted in the city of Tauranga during Easter weekend, and followed showcase performances by all three finalists. The National Jazz Festival in Tauranga was in its 50th year in 2012 and attracted more than 60,000 jazz enthusiasts over the four days of Easter.
The album Journey Home is the first CD from the Kiwi jazz legend's new band and was released in June 2011 by Jayrem Records. The album compositions are by acclaimed jazz pianist, arranger and composer Alan Broadbent and were produced by Rodger Fox and the band. The judging panel felt such a wealth of experience resulted in a thoroughly mature and accomplished first release.
New Zealand Music Awards spokesperson and RIANZ managing director Chris Caddick says, "It's fitting that a real icon of New Zealand music has won the Tui for Best Jazz Album in the 50th year of the National Jazz Festival in Tauranga. Sincere congratulations to Rodger Fox for a much deserved win."
The Wellington Jazz Orchestra has performed and honed its craft with some of the biggest names in jazz including Michael Brecker, Bill Cunliffe, Joe Williams, Louie Bellson, Bob Sheppard, Bruce Forman, Bill Reichenbach and Jim Pugh. Each side of the National Jazz Festival this Easter they performed with Grammy award-winning USA Jazz vocalists Kurt Elling and Patti Austin and saxophonist Eric Marienthal in concerts held in Wellington, Auckland and Tauranga. Proceeds from these concerts are going towards their next project: to travel to the USA in July to record an album at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles.