Wombats again!!

wombat funWHOOPEE!! After trying to retire at the end of their Elsternwick Hotel residency, the Wombat Jazz Band was inveigled into a final fling at the Rosstown Hotel some weeks ago.

This venture was so successful with an almost full house of 90 fans, that the Rosstown has managed to lure the Wombats out of their burrow for another daytime appearance.

So on this coming Sunday, 19 October, you have another chance to hear this legendary band playing their own special brand of mainly Australian jazz music.

The lineup on this occasion will be the usuals – Bill Kerr, Judy Taylor, Ken Collins, Jacqui O’Neill and Tony Orr – except that Simon VanCam who played with the band for years will be on bass instead of Smithy who is otherwise engaged on Sundays.

Music starts at 2pm and runs until 5pm. The door charge is $10 unless you choose, as many do, to lunch downstairs in the Bistro, in which case the discounted cover charge is $5 on presentation of your lunch receipt.

Bookings are essential on 9571 1033. The Rosstown Hotel is on the corner of Dandenong and Koornang Roads, Carnegie, just a stone’s throw from the Carnegie Station.


Tuba Skinny back in Australia in September/October!

GREAT news for local lovers of Tuba Skinny, the young New Orleans street band who play jazz with artistry, authenticity and a passion which have earned them world-wide recognition: the Skinnies will make their fourth tour to Australia in September and October this year with gigs in 12 locations.

Here’s their Australian schedule, starting on Wednesday 24 September in Perth, and ending at the Melbourne Festival over the weekend 17 – 19 October. In Melbourne they will be performing in the Festival Hub on the banks of the Yarra opposite Federation Square.

24/9, Wednesday. Fly By Night, Perth
25/9, Thursday. Jazz Cellar, Mt. Hawthorn, WA
26-27/9, Friday & Saturday. Wave Rock Weekender, Hyden, WA
28/9, Sunday. Clancys Fish Pub, Dunsborough, WA
2/10, Thursday, at Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Adelaide.
3/10, Friday, at Mullimbimby Civic Hall, NSW
4/10, Saturday at The Zoo, Brisbane
5-6/10, Sunday and Monday, Caloundra Music Festival, Queensland
9/10, Thursday, The Heritage Hotel, Bulli, Wollongong, NSW
10/10, Friday, at Hotel Gearin, Katoomba, NSW
11-12/10, Saturday and Sunday, at The Basement, Sydney
16/10, Thursday, Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, Vic.
17-19/10, Friday to Sunday, at Melbourne Festival, Vic.

They will be bringing with them their latest album, “OWL CALL BLUES” which you can buy in hard copy at any of their gigs, or from The Louisiana Music Factory. Digital copies are downloadable from the Tuba Skinny blog. You can also keep up to date on their news and doings at the same spot.

tuba skinny legs

The Maple Leaf forever: legendary favourites together again at Williamstown

Bob Whetstone

Bob Whetstone

LOOKING ahead to October, here’s a date to put on your calendar!

On Sunday 26 October the Williamstown Jazz Club will present a rare return to the platform of the Maple Leaf Jazz Band.

Kim Rushworth, the sole surviving member of the original 1974 band, and Bob Whetstone, a very early Maple Leaf luminary(1981) will be joined by some more recent additions to present that special brand of musical delight and mayhem which earned this band the adoration of the hundreds of fans who, during the ’70s and 80s, regularly crammed into pubs like the Canada Hotel,  the Stockade in Nicholson Street Carlton, the Spreadeagle, the Anchor and Hope, the Victoria (Pink Vic) and the Portsea Hotel to see and hear them.

Kim Rushworth

Kim Rushworth

Not only does the Maple Leaf play great jazz, they also entertain, with Bob and Kim doing a highly professional two-man act, leading each other on to taller and taller, and gutsier and gutsier tales.

The line-up on this occasion will be Bob Whetstone, trumpet/vocals; Kim Rushworth, reeds/vocals; Les Fithall, trombone/vocals; John Cox, banjo/guitar; Dan Gordon, bass/ possibly tuba; and Ben Rushworth, drums.

John Cox and Les Fithall

John Cox and Les Fithall

The Williamstown Jazz Club’s venue is the Williamstown RSL, 128 Ferguson St, Williamstown. The band will play from 4pm to 7pm.

Book early so as not to miss out on this special event. Bookings 9397 1885.    $15 entry.

Ben Rushworth

Ben Rushworth

Big Bob and Dan Gordon

“Big Bob” and Dan Gordon

The Wombats re-unite at the Rosstown

The Wombats' final night at the Elsternwick Hotel on 16 December 2013 Bill Kerr, Tony Orr, Ken Collins, Judy Taylor, Ian Smith (obscured), Simon Stribling, Jacqui O'Neill

The Wombats’ final night at the Elsternwick Hotel on 16 December 2013
Bill Kerr, Tony Orr, Ken Collins, Judy Taylor, Ian Smith (obscured), Simon Stribling, Jacqui O’Neill

THERE was much sorrow in the ranks when the beloved Wombats Jazz Band played their final gig at the Elsternwick Hotel at the end of last year, so it is with pleasure that I remind you that The Wombats will come together again to play at The Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie on Sunday 24 August from 2pm to 5pm.

The lineup will be most of the usual suspects: Bill Kerr – reeds, Ken Collins – trumpet, Judy Taylor – piano, Alan Stott – sousaphone, Jacqui O’Neill – washboard and Tony Orr on banjo. Ian “Smithy” Smith has a regular commitment on Sundays so his place will be taken in the rhythm section by Alan Stott who incidentally was an original member of the band and wrote the words for the group’s theme song, The Wombat.

The program will be all the usual Australian jazz compositions for which the band was established: Ade Monsbourgh, Graeme and Roger Bell, Dave Dallwitz, Jack O’Hagan etc.

For all you Wombat fans, this is a rare chance to enjoy your favourite band again, and to revel in their lively and engaging personality and stage presence.

As previously announced, jazz will be located upstairs in the function room with a door charge of $10, or $5 on presentation of a Bistro lunch receipt. Coffee/Tea can be ordered at the bar upstairs as well as other beverages. Doors open at 1.30pm.

Bookings are still essential, however there are no reserved seats. On the other hand, there are none of the obscuring pillars which made the downstairs room so unfriendly for good sightlines to the band.

New Trad Jazz Gig at the Rising Sun

rising sun hotel
A NEW Trad Jazz Gig is always welcome news, so it’s great to hear that The Rising Sun Hotel at 2 Raglan Street, South Melbourne is adding to its existing very successful JAZZ ON THURSDAYS, and BIG BAND on Tuesdays with a TRAD JAZZ RESIDENCY on Sunday afternoons from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

Bands have been booked up to the end of December 2014, and include Michael McQuaid’s Mike’s Retro 5, The Syncopators, Shirazz, Virus, The Sugarfoot Ramblers, and The Four Scoops (Ben Gillespie, trombone/vocals; Lynn Wallis, drums; Craig Fermanis, guitar; Mark Elton, string bass). Check out The Ramble’s Coming Gigs page for monthly details.

Here are The Sugarfoot Ramblers if you haven’t caught up with them yet.

Daniel Berry, James Macaulay, Jason Downes, Travis Wood, Marty Holubek, Brett Thompson

Daniel Berry, James Macaulay, Jason Downes, Travis Wood, Marty Holubek, Brett Thompson

Changes afoot at The Rosstown

rosstown1SOME changes have been mooted for some time at that good old jazz pub The Rosstown in Carnegie. Well now they are definitely afoot, or should we say “aloft”, because Sunday afternoon jazz sessions will, from the beginning of August, move upstairs to the Function Room. One advantage will be the lack of pillars in this space – always a challenge to get a good view of the band in the Bistro!

Bookings will still be essential, but there will be no allocated seats The music will run from 2.00pm to 5.00pm – doors open at 1.30pm. Bookings 9571 1033

Entry for the jazz will be $15 per head, or $10 if you have had a meal in the downstairs bistro. Tea, coffee and other drinks may be ordered at the bar upstairs.

The bands for August will be:
3 August: to be advised
10 August: Moonee Valley Hot 5
17 August: The Syncopators
24 August: The Wombat Jazz Band
31 August: Shirazz

Another Doyen from the other side of the globe: John Defferary

Lew Green

Lew Green

YESTERDAY’S post inspired Lew Green of The Original Salty Dogs to nominate his own doyen of jazz: clarinetist John Defferary.

(Local jazz fans had the pleasure of meeting Lew and Mary Green during their whirlwind visit to Melbourne in 2011.)

To illustrate his point, Lew drew attention to the following film clip on YouTube which shows John playing with the Trans Atlantic Trio somewhere in Germany.

The Trio is made up of Jeff Green on soprano and bass saxophones (and yes, that’s Lew’s boy), John Defferary on clarinet, and Eric Webster on banjo.

John Defferary was born in London in 1941 where his father ran a pub. Defferary Sr. encouraged musicians to play there, so John was brought up with music all around. By the age of 16 he had started playing along (on the clarinet) to musicians like Fats Waller, Albert Nichols, and Kid Ory.

Barry Martyn (band leader and drummer) asked John to play clarinet in his band, as his reed man had left, and by the time he was 20. John was touring the United States. He spent a month in New Orleans and became influenced by what he heard there, playing with many well-known musicians. In Europe he became a protégé of Albert Nicholas, and they recorded an album together. Later he also took lessons from Barney Bigard whilst in the States in the 1970s.

Before joining Keith Smith’s Climax Jazz Band in 1962, (where he stayed for three years), John had played in the New Teao Brass Band and “Uncle” John Renshaw’s Band. He led his own Creole Jazz Band (1966-1967) and played in John Keen’s New Orleans Band (1968). By now John had also taken up the tenor sax, and often played with Mike Casimir’s Paragon Brass Band in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During the early 1970s he played with Barry Martyn, Pat Hawes, John Chilton, and others. He also depped with Ken Colyer.

In March 1973 he joined drummer Trevor Richards’s New Orleans Trio (the pianist was Bob Barton). The group toured internationally, and played for long periods in the United States. In January 1977 the three members were involved in a car crash while touring Poland, but were able to recommence touring a year later, and carried on for a further four years. From 1981 to 1984, Bob Barton and John co-led “Super Jazz”. They did various tours with American musicians, including Louis Nelson, Alton Purnell, and Freddy Kohlman.

In the mid-1980s John was asked to join Danish trombonist Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Band. He learned to speak Danish, and stayed for some twelve years until replacing Ian Wheeler in the Chris Barber Band in 1998. In addition to his solo and ensemble work with the Big Chris Barber Band, John was also the featured clarinettist in the re-creation of the original six-piece Chris Barber’s Jazz Band, being heard to advantage in the Monty Sunshine role on such numbers as “Precious Lord” and “Wild Cat Blues”.

John Defferary

John Defferary

Doyens of Australian jazz: the VJC honours elders of the tribe

Victorian Jazz Club LogoTHE Victorian Jazz Club will hold its inaugural “Tribute to the Doyens of Jazz” starting at 2pm on Sunday 27 July 2014 at the Clayton RSL, 163 Carinish Road, Clayton when the Club pays tribute to six venerable stars of the local jazz scene. Invitations were sent out to about 100 family and friends of the “doyens”. Now the VJC Committee is opening up the invitation to any VJC members who may wish to attend.

The title of “doyen” as defined by Websters Dictionary:

(doyen: the senior member of a body or group; a person considered to be knowledgeable or uniquely skilled as a result of long experience in some field of endeavor.)

certainly fits comfortably with this half dozen musicians who were beginning their musical careers around the time of Melbourne’s traditional jazz revival of the 1940s and 1950s – and some are still making music.

The group, which is expected to be only the first of many to be recognised in this way, comprises Wes Brown (drums); Tony Newstead (trumpet); Alf Hurst (trombone); Harry Price (trombone); Kenn Jones (reeds); and Fred Stephenson (string bass).

Wes Brown at the Maple Leaf Reunion, 2010

Wes Brown at the Maple Leaf Reunion, 2010 (photo: Ron Jobe)

Harry Price at te Maple Leaf Reunion 2010

Harry Price at the Maple Leaf Reunion 2010 (photo: Ron Jobe)

Tony Newstead and Fred Parkes, 1962

Tony Newstead and Fred Parkes, 1962. (from Norm Linehan’s Australian Jazz Picture Book)

Alf Hurst with John Murray and John Withers.  (Ron Jobe photo)

Alf Hurst with John Murray and John Withers. (photo: Ron Jobe))

Fred Stephenson with the Merry Men (photo9: Ron Jobe)

Fred Stephenson with the Merry Men (photo: Ron Jobe)

Kenn Jones with Gavin Gow 1963. (from Norm Linehan’s Picture Book of Australian Jazz)

This is a completely FREE DAY provided by the VJC. The festivities will begin at 2.00pm with a “core band” put together by Ian Smith (trumpet) with Graeme Pender (clarinet), Bruce Kemp (trombone), John Cox (banjo), Allan Stott (tuba) and Ben Rushworth on drums, with “the doyens” sitting in.

No bookings are necessary, but my guess is that there will be a mighty crowd of musician colleagues, fans, family and friends so you might want to arrive early.

This is a marvellous opportunity to show these great musicians how much we have enjoyed their jazz over the years, and to remininisce about the wild and woolly days when there was jazz in every pub! Congratulations to the Victorian Jazz Club for this initiative.

At the other end of the age and experience scale, the VJC is subsidising the Under 25 Jazz Workshop Band to attend the Australian Jazz Convention in Swan Hill in December this year.

Victorian Jazz Workshop members with Brian Abrhams, drums tutor

2012 Victorian Jazz Workshop members with Brian Abrahams, drums tutor

Ultrafox second CD : Le Bruit des Cabarets (The Noise of Bars)

ultrafxHAVING enjoyed enormously Ultrafox’s debut album (Chasing Shadows), I looked forward with great anticipation to hearing their second CD,Le Bruit des Cabarets. And I haven’t been disappointed!

On this recording the core members of this gypsy style jazz band – one of Melbourne’s busiest and most widely appreciated groups – again demonstrate the level of musicianship that comes from countless hours of playing, and of playing together.

Peter Baylor and Jon Delaney are superb on guitar, sharing the rhythm and solo roles, with Kain Borlase augmenting and driving the rhythm on string bass. They are joined by the amazing Michael McQuaid on tenor saxophone and clarinet, and the ever-eloquent Julie O’Hara on vocals. And as an added bonus, visiting French violinist, Gerard Vandenbroucque brings his elegant and joyous playing to the ensemble. Vandenbroucque is based in Nantes where he leads a quartet, Bleu West.

Gerard Vandenbroucque

Gerard Vandenbroucque

Le Bruit des Cabarets features 16 tracks which range over the many different flavours of the “Hot Club du France” sound. Eight tracks are original compositions by Peter Baylor or John Delaney: the rest are a variety of popular swing tunes by composers ranging from Saranne Ferret to George Gershwin. The original compositions fit very comfortably into the whole, contributing significantly to the overall “mood” of the album. I particularly liked “Pickpocket” and “Brunton
Avenue” by Baylor, and “Sad Song” by Delaney.

The title track refers to a poem by the nineteenth century French poet, Paul Verlaine. On the CD the poem is read, in French, by Christophe Genoux with background music and accompanying “bar ambience”. One English translation of the poem (below) has a Melbourne-in-winter feel about it I think!!

noise of bars

Ultrafox will be launching this new album over the next few months in Melbourne before setting out on a regional Arts Victoria funded tour in August 2014.

To purchase the CD or download, visit the Ultrafox website www.ultrafoxswing.com. (I know that downloading is quick and easy, but the physical CD is a thing of beauty in itself, with cover art by Peter Baylor. Who could resist it!)

Before setting off on tour, the band will be playing at the Ballarat Jazz Club, the Paris Cat, Bennett’s Lane and the Spotted Mallard in Brunswick where I am sure the CD will be available. Peter Baylor can be contacted on 0430 484 373 or Email: for further information.

Finally, as a taste of the whole, here is the first track from the album “Pickpocket” composed by Peter Baylor. Click on the playlist below to enjoy it.


Juliarna Clark at Dizzy’s on Friday 20 June

Juliarna and James Clark

Juliarna and James Clark

Juliarna Cleal & the Heartjazz Statesmen are taking their musical wares to the Dizzy’s Jazz Club (381 Burnley St, Richmond, www.dizzys.com.au ) this Friday, 20 June 2014. They invite you to come and join them for some swinging tunes.

Music starts at 9.00pm, but the venue is open for drinks and tasty meals from 5:30pm. Phone 9428 1233 for reservations or enquiries.


Musicians are

Stephen Grant (cornet),
Doug DeVries (guitar),
Rory Clarke (piano),
James Clark (double bass) and
Rod Gilbert (drums). What a smoking lineup. Juliarna is one happy singer!

Follow Juliarna on her website: http://www.juliarna.com

ps- James, Michael Harding and Juliarna have a residency singing great jazz on Fridays from 12-2pm at Seasons Bar and Deli in the main street in Riddells Creek. Please feel welcome to come on any Friday and enjoy the music, or indeed request some of your favourite tunes.
4 Station Street Riddells Creek. Phone: 5428 7501
Email: enquiries@seasonsbistro.com.au