Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music has three Big Bands rehearsing throughout the university year with players regularly auditioning for their position. All three bands have regular performance opportunities including Jazz Festivals around the country: Tauranga, Manawatu, Napier, Southern Jam and Queenstown.
The Bands come under the musical direction of Dr Rodger Fox, New Zealand’s foremost jazz trombonist and big band leader. Big Band One features the country’s best up and coming jazz talent drawn from the cream of the New Zealand School of Music jazz majors.
The NZSM Big Band performs a cross-section of material made famous by bands and artists such as Woody Herman, Bob Mintzer, Buddy Rich, Bill Holman, Count Basie and Maynard Ferguson. The band has appeared in concert with major international artists such as Mike Nock, trumpeters Jon Papenbrook, Clay Jenkins and Alex Sipiagin, trombonist Jim Pugh and Bill Reichenbach, Mr Georgie Fame, saxophonists Bob Sheppard, Dick Oates, Eric Marienthal. Ray Woolf and Chris Cain
In March 2007 the New Zealand School of Music Big Band was the featured band for iconic New Zealand performer Ray Woolf’s CD release which received rave reviews.
July 2008 saw the band undertake one of their most challenging musical projects: to re-create the music of award winning composer/arranger Gil Evans which featured American trumpeter Clay Jenkins and Internationally acclaimed classical guitarist Matthew Marshall. The music was sourced from the Gil Evans trust and it was the first time these arrangements had been performed in New Zealand.
In 2010 the band was the Tui Award winner for Best Jazz Recording of the Year in the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards for their album ‘Run for Cover’. 2011 saw the release of their album ‘Funk City Ola’, in 2012 its fourth CD ‘Midnight Journey’, in 2013 its fifth CD, ‘I Wish’ 2014 sixth recording ‘Awright Awright’, 2015 seventh recording “Too Cool", 2016 eighth recording “Dr Feelgood” 2017 ninth recording “Slingshot”, 2018 tenth recording “Funk Tank”.