At first glance it seems like an unusual collaboration - Whanganui reggae band Roots Provider jamming with jazz legend Rodger Fox.

But it all makes sense because they're rehearsing for International Jazz Day this coming Tuesday, April 30.

Every year, thousands of jazz events are organised around the world. This year one of our oldest institutions, Whanganui Collegiate, will be the place to celebrate International Jazz Day.

"There's a serious part of 'Whanganui celebrates International Jazz Day'," said organiser Ken Chernoff. "That is 'International Jazz Day', and then there's the fun part, which is 'Whanganui celebrates'."


Jazz Day is an initiative from UNESCO, an organisation tasked with creating world peace, and music is one of the most powerful tools at its disposal.

"Jazz music has always been about improvisation, about change, about cutting edge, about finding solutions to problems," said Chernoff. "It's about creating harmony.

"These ideals go so well with what is actually needed in the world - in the world of science, in the world of culture, and economics. There is a need for intercultural dialogue world-wide.

"If you look at NZ history, there's been the Māori culture and the colonial culture living side by side since before the Treaty of Waitangi. There's been misunderstanding, there's been negotiation, there's been war."

With music spanning cultures, religions and languages, it's recognised as a way to get different groups of people talking and working together.

In the spirit of bringing people together, Chernoff has organised a workshop for students, lead by Rodger Fox, best known for his legendary Big Band and more recently teaching at the Jazz Department at Victoria University.

The show will feature Whanganui reggae legends Roots Provider and some of NZ's most experienced musicians hand-picked by Fox.

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