Michael Houstoun (piano)
Rodger Fox (trombone, musical director)
It may seem an incongruous pairing on the face of it, but Michael
Houstoun and Rodger Fox have something vital in common –– they
love music, and it shows.
Their first recording together, Concerti is comprised of four
substantial arrangements for jazz orchestra and concert piano that
straddles two worlds to celebrate a common musical language. The
music is dynamic, passionate, and extraordinarily rich in terms of its
compositional and performance qualities. Simply put, this band kicks!
And riding the wave like a seasoned jazz veteran is the fearless
Michael Houstoun, matching the ensemble note for note. If Michael's
contribution stopped at the remarkable arrangement of the first
movement of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3, that would have been
satisfying enough, but on Concerti goes head to head with Rodger
and his kick-ass ensemble for the full 12 rounds.
What happens when two maestros meet each other head on; two
musical worlds collide, neither gives way but somehow each reveals
something about the other that’s new!
The combination of Michael Houstoun at the Steinway piano and
Rodger Fox’s suave trombone, with special guests and his Big Band
in fine form, is a rare treat for listeners. Both musicians have a
lifetime’s experience and craftsmanship to bring to this project yet this
is the first time they have been onstage and in the studio together.
A movement of Prokofiev’s famous third Piano Concerto bristles in
this arrangement by Grammy award-winning Bill Cunliffe (USA) for an
18-piece Big Band. Two other arrangements by Cunliffe, Fox’s long-
time friend and masterful collaborator, will be new to listeners but not
for long. David Lisik, Rodger’s colleague and a composer at Te Kōkī
New Zealand School of Music, has arranged a Mike Nock work for
this album. Mike and Michael, Nock plays Houstoun plays Nock, have
already worked together at festivals around New Zealand and
Houstoun recorded works by Nock on his award-winning album
The Rodger Fox Big Band needs little or no introduction. Under
Rodger’s leadership, they’ve been at the cutting edge of jazz in
Aotearoa for decades and their most recent album The Capitol
Sessions (IA-1005), recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los
Angeles, is testament to their place amongst the best big bands in
this part of the world right now.
So the stage is set. Let these brilliant, multi award-winning musicians
take you on a journey somewhere new. You may begin as a lover of
jazz or a classical music buff; however, you will emerge as a music-
Sit back and enjoy!