Sorry but I’m going to be offline for a while. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Watch this space.

Duffee and Schumm are here again

jazz alliance flying

ON Thursday the 3rd of April at The Flying Saucer Club, 4 St Georges Road, Elsternwick, Michael McQuaid’s Red Hot Rhythmakers will embark on a musical journey through the life of pianist, composer and bandleader Jelly Roll Morton, from the bordellos of New Orleans to the height of his fame in Chicago and New York. American artists Andy Schumm (famed cornet and piano star) and Josh Duffee (ace jazz drummer and world renowned jazz historian) will join the Rhythmakers in what’s certain to be a rhythmic feast for dancers and listeners alike. Bassist Leigh Barker will also be guesting with the ensemble on Sousaphone and Double Bass.

The Rhythmakers are one of Australia’s finest groups performing authentic 1920′s hot music, blues and Jazz. In June 2013 they double billed with Leigh Barker’s New Sheiks to sell out the Melbourne Town Hall as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

This will be the ONLY formal, ticketed event in Melbourne to hear Josh Duffee and Andy Schumm during their 2014 tour – although there will be a Jazz Australia function at Queencliff, and a couple of informal jamming sessions which I’ll tell you about in my next post – so get cracking and book for this very special occasion before all the tickets are sold!
Reserved Seating: $30+booking fee
General Admission: $23+booking fee (no reserved seats)
Door (General Admission): $25
Doors Open: 6.30pm (Seats/Dining), 8pm (General Admission)
Showtime: 8.30pm
Click here for tickets

Take The Blues Express to Jamieson on March 22

ROB Thurley from up Jamieson way, sends news of the Jamieson Jazz Club’s annual Autumn Jazz Cabaret. (See flyer below)

jamieson copy

The Jazz Cabaret Gala Night will be right on the Autumn Equinox ( 22nd March), and this year, Peter Gaudion’s legendary Blues Express is performing the concert.

The iconic Jamieson Memorial Hall will be transformed into an authentic Ol’ New Orleans Jazz venue for the night. The Jamieson Community Group is also putting on a host of other free activities over the weekend.

jamieson hall

One idea would be to get a group of friends together, come up on the comfortable scheduled VicRail bus from Southern Cross station to Mansfield and share a hire car/mini bus for the short trip to Jamieson, return on the VicRail bus on Sunday.

For information on the event, bookings, accommodation options or other activities in the region, contact Rob Thurley on robert.thurley@gmail.com

The Hall only seats 100 so if you’re interested don’t delay. A weekend in the High Country – particularly glorious at this time of year – plus great music and fine dining. Sounds all good to me!

jamieson view

Port Phillip Mussel Festival: molluscs and music!

port phillip poster

THE INAUGURAL PORT PHILLIP MUSSEL FESTIVAL will be held at the South Melbourne Market, Cecil Street, South Melbourne over the weekend Saturday and Sunday, 8 and 9 March from 12 noon to 11.00 pm.

The reason for listing this festival on Jazz Ramble is that, not only will it be a seafood extravaganza with special emphasis on our luscious local mussels, but there will be music played throughout both days – much of it jazz. Gil Askey, Margie Lou Dyer, The Shuffle Club and the Paul Williamson Hammond combo are only a few of the musos who will be on offer during the Festival.

port phillip musselSouth Melbourne restauranteur Renan Goksin and his seafood venue Claypots Evening Star (corner of York and Cecil Streets where Peter Baylor’s Ultrafox plays on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm – 10.00pm), and The South Melbourne Market, along with other South Melbourne Market restaurants, are hosting the Festival as part of this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Iain Hewitson will be doing free mussel cooking demonstrations at 3 pm each day at the Market’s LG Kitchen.    Paco y Lola,  Koy,  Simply Spanish and Salvatore Malatesta’s Clement Café are also part of the Festival and will remain open across its hours, plus there will be many pop-up food stalls and wine bars.

If you love mussels – as I do, since those uncomplicated teenage summers when mussels came fresh-plucked from the pier, and then cooked on a piece of tin over a driftwood fire on the beach – then this sounds like heaven. If you don’t, there’ll be plenty of other gastronomic treats and free non-stop music.

‘It’s going to be a two-day party of non-stop live music and buckets and buckets of mussels from our local waters,’ says Goksin, who is ordering in thousands of Australian blue mussels for the event from Bay Sea Farms Mt Martha.

‘The idea is to come and dance, with the family and friends, and eat and drink. I am hoping thousands of people come each day to enjoy the market and our feast of mussels.’


Australian Jazz Convention 2014: Swan Hill

THE 2014 Australian Jazz Convention has set up its website at http://www.2014jazzconvention.org.au/. This will keep you up to the minute as plans unfold.

In the meantime, here are some historic pictures of earlier Conventions from the website. You know who you are, where and when it happened!


Obviously Sydney: 1958? 1962? OMG, how young they all are!
convention 20142

This one gives a whole new slant on the venerable Nick Polites!


Jazz on Thursdays @ The Rising Sun

rising sun hotelLOOKING for somewhere to go to hear jazz on Thursday nights? Well, here’s a place to check out…

The Rising Sun Hotel, 2 Raglan Street, South Melbourne.

The Joe Ruberto Trio has this new residency, with different guests each week. Like most groups, the membership of the Trio varies, depending on who’s available, but usually comprises drums and bass, with Joe on piano of course. Andy Swann and Michael Tortoni are frequent members.

The Program for the next couple of months is:
February 6: Ruby Page (vocals) and Gianni Marinucci (trumpet)
February 13: Miriam Waks (Sydney/New York)
February 20: Julie O’Hara
February 27: Tamara Kuldin

March 6: Rebecca Mendoza with a special “Billie Holiday Tribute Show”
March 13 : Ruby Page (vocals) and Bob Venier (trumpet)
March 20: Margaret Morrison
March 27 : Fem Belling (welcome back gig)

This historic South Melbourne Hotel has had a long association with jazz, with the Down Beat Big Band performing from 8.00pm to 11.00pm every Tuesday which will continue. Now with new owners, a new menu and freshly opened upstairs lounge, this grand old pub is expanding its connection with jazz by adding a second regular residency on Thursdays.

The Joe Ruberto Trio performances will begin at 6.30 pm and end at 9.30 pm and are free to the public. Reservations are advised to ensure that you get a table. Phone: 9696 2411


Juliarna Cleal-Clark CD launch

clealcropSINGER Juliarna Cleal will launch her latest CD, SUGAR BLUES at The Paris Cat, 6 Goldie Place, CBD on Friday 7 February at 7.30 pm. Tickets are $15, from www.pariscat.com.au, and CDs will be available at launch.

Juliarna’s collaborators on the disc and at the launch are The Heartjazz Statesmen. You may not know the band, but you’ve certainly heard of the musicians in it: Stephen Grant (trumpet), Richard Miller (clarinet), Michael Harding (piano), Peter Hooper (banjo), James Clark (bass), and Rod Gilbert (drums). As the poster says, “A group of masterful players.”

Feb 7 Poster.pdf-page-001

The album is the result of Juliarna’s love affair with fun and quirky jazz tunes. “Heartjazz to me means things that make your heart sing; these songs and these musicians really do,” says Juliarna. “This album will appeal to a large portion of music lovers. Jazz traditionalists will appreciate some of the fabulous old tunes such as Clarence William’s Sugar Blues, Louis Jordan’s Barnyard Boogie, and Fats Waller’s That Ain’t Right. Devotees will love Stephen Grant’s outstanding trumpet contributions, and anyone who loves music and has a pulse will enjoy the band’s handling of such groovy greats as Comes Love and Once Too Often.”
Listen to a grab of Comes Love by clicking on the picture below.

clark paris car

The CD is a labour of love and a family affair. James Clark, well known bass player and sound engineer of this album, is Juliarna’s husband. They met in 2009, when James mastered her debut solo jazz CD ESPRESSO, still a favourite on local radio’s jazz programs.

clark james juliarna

SUGAR BLUES is the result of dogged determination as well as creative inspiration. The last few tunes were recorded whilst the birth of their second child was overdue last November.

James and Jules with baby Montgomery in December 2013

James and Jules with baby Montgomery in December 2013

Juliarna is a singer who is comfortable in a number of styles: her voice has been variously described as “luscious”, “lyrical” and “joyous”. The warmth of her personality and presence make an instant connection with her audience. They shine through on this CD.

She is a regular at The Paris Cat, may be heard doing live spots with her band on local radio, particularly 3MBS FM and Highlands FM, and at other gigs around town. She recently sang for a conference of Loreto nuns at the Amora Riverwalk Hotel in Richmond.

Here she sings with Rebecca Harris Mason as the duo Kingsville.

And finally, we may be seeing the continuation of the Clark musical dynasty: James’s dad is Ollie Clark, Fred is his uncle, and by the look of it, Amelia Clark (aged 2) is already making her mark at the microphone.

clark amelia

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The Wombats bite the dust – hopefully to rise again

wombat sad
THE much beloved Wombat Jazz Band has been a fixture at the Elsternwick Hotel on the third Monday of the month since 1997, with a passing parade of regular personnel and visiting sit-ins, and a repertoire heavily weighted on the side of Australian compositions.

Very sadly we have to announce that this residency is no more as of January 2014. But knowing the energy and resilience of Judy Taylor’s and Bill Kerr’s group we can only hope that some clever publican will recognise the special place the Wombats occupy in the hearts of their existing loyal followers, and their potential to create new audiences for the lucky pub/venue which provides a new home for them.

While we keep up our spirits waiting for the happy return of The Wombats, here’s a sample of one of their boisterous tracks – BACK TO BALLARAT – from their CD Are You Having Any Fun?. Click on the CD cover to hear it.

wombat fun

Forty degrees, and the remote control won’t work

THIS has nothing to do with jazz, except that it may save the sanity/health of some jazz musicians and fans who are suffering through the current record heatwave in parts of Australia.

Our Panasonic airconditioner’s remote control died during the night and replacing the batteries has been a long and frustrating ordeal. In desperation I turned to our friend Google which led me to a superb and simple video by a former fellow sufferer named Paul, who cracked the code and then videoed it for others. The Good Samaritan Medal of the year to Paul!

If by chance you have, or may have in the future, the same problem, here’s the solution:

Coolly yours

A Little Night Music @ The Queen Vic Market

THE Queen Victoria Night Market will run every Wednesday night from 5.00pm to 10.00pm until 26 February 2014.

In addition to the joys of food shopping, eating, and treasure hunting, there’ll be a little night music supplied by a variety of musicians sprinkled about in various strategic locations. Some you’ll recognise as well known jazz groups:


The Syncopators will be performing on the Queen Street Stage on 5 February.

The Irwell Street Swing (sometimes String) Band will be playing on the E Shed Stage on 12 February.
Usual lineup is Andy Baylor, Leigh Barker, Hetty Kate, and Sam Lemann

La Mauvaise Reputation will be performing on the Peel Street Stage on 26 February.
This gypsy swing trio is made up of Jon Delaney, solo guitar; Paul Gillett, rhythm guitar and vocals; and Enzo Ruberto on bass. They have a fairly regular residency at the Espresso Cafe/Bar in Sydney Road, Brunswick.

Click here for the full program, and for stage locations.