Monthly Archives: February 2012

Frilly Knickers Jazz Band seeks female clarinettist!

Frilly Knickers Jazz Band


Melbourne based female clarinettist, competent in improvisation, sought by all-female, active, exciting, “Frilly Knickers Jazz Band”, to play Traditional Jazz at Jazz Clubs, Jazz Festivals and Jazz Conventions. Other back-up musicians welcome to make contact. Please ring Jacqui on 9380 6992, or email

You wouldn’t read about it: delving into our jazz past

ONE of my more innocent pastimes is reading back issues of jazz magazines. A recent piece of bedside reading was from the Sydney Jazz Club’s incomparable Quarterly Rag, the Pre-Convention Issue for 1962.

Cover photo: Ian Cuthbertson
leader of the Paramount Jazz Band

In those days the SJC had regular gigs every Friday and Saturday night at the Ironworkers Building, 188 George Street, Sydney. The Saturday night gig was on two floors with two bands, all for the price of one entry fee.

On Page 15 there was an extract from the Melbourne Sun reporting on the 25th Anniversary of the Melbourne University Rhythm Club:

The Melbourne University Rhythm Club, probably the oldest jazz club in Australia, will celebrate its 25th anniversary at a concert in Wilson Hall tomorrow [date?] night. And playing in Tony Newstead’s group will be nine men who have between them 21 university degrees: Tony (trumpet) with four degrees; George Tack (clarinet), one; Ken Ingram (trombone), three; Ade Monsbourgh (alto sax), two; Willie McIntyre (piano), two; Russ Murphy (drums), three; Bill Tope (banjo), three; Keith Cox (bass), one; and Bill Miller (wash-board) two degrees.

The Melbourne University Rhythm Club was established by Ade Monsbourgh and others in 1937, so the silver anniversary would have been in 1962. Here’s a photo of Tony Newstead’s Southside Gang from Bruce Johnson’s Oxford Companion to Australian Jazz which includes several of the musos mentioned in the Sun article.

Tony Newstead's Southside Gang c. 1950

Lineup: David Ward (tbn), Tony Newstead (tpt), Don Reid (dms), Ray Simpson (gtr), Will McIntyre (p), George Tack (clt), Keith Cox (bs).

THEN there was an announcement that THE NAT OLIVER JAZZ CLUB was moving to new quarters.

It is just over 5 months since “Nat Oliver Jazz Club” opened at 408 Kent Street. Having gained just on 1,750 members in that time, the club is now moving on to better premises in a far more central position in the city.
THURSDAY 1ST NOVEMBER 1962 “The Nat Oliver Jazz Club” opens at The Suzie Wong Restaurant in the Boulevarde Arcade – between King, Pitt and Rowe Streets.
The club will be run basically as it is at present. Nat Oliver’s New Orleans Jazzmen playing the four nights Thursday to Sunday, with vocalist Mary Lane, Friday and Saturday nights.
The club will be open at 7.30pm each night and there will be an admission fee of 6/-.
Espresso coffee, iced drinks, meals etc. will be available, but members are not under any obligation to go the further expense of buying a meal.
It will be the Nat Oliver Jazz Club on these four nights, and the aim of the band and the club will continue to be “to further the interest and appreciation of traditional New Orleans Jazz.”

Here’s a picture of the band from p. 30 of the magazine, all in their 20’s. How many jazz clubs nowadays have a membership of over 1,000 I wonder?

Nat Oliver's New Orleans Jazzmen

Lineup: Oliver Hetherington, Dave Hetherington, Des Bader (bj), Don McCormack (drms), John Bates (tbn), Ray Dermody (bs), Mary Lane (vocals).

New album launch for Shirazz

I FIRST heard Shirazz when they played for the Victorian Jazz Club at the Oakleigh/Carnegie RSL in October 2010. They were impressive then as an up and coming band with a great future. Well by 2012 they’ve definitely up and come!

In constant demand on the festival circuit and at jazz clubs throughout Australia – check out their website for details of their busy schedule – Shirazz is about to launch their second album, Enjoy Responsibly.

Listen to a sample from the album by clicking on Dapper Dan , a standard with a local flavour.

The Album Launch will be held at Red Bennies, 373 Chapel Street, South Yarra starting at 9pm on Saturday 25 February 2012. Phone: 9826 2689 for information and bookings.

In addition to the Launch, Shirazz is headlining a night of riotous 1920s-style entertainment, with burlesque, vaudeville and circus acts bringing the 20s to life. The gig starts at 9pm, and entry is $10, or $20 including the album (normally $20 on its own). Be sure to say you’re there to see Shirazz, otherwise you’ll pay a lot more to get in.

Here’s a further taste of the Shirazz pizazz: at the 2012 Grampians Jazz Festival.  The lineup is Matt Dixon (trombone/vocals), Adrian De Fanti (clarinet), Travis Woods (trumpet), Michael Hanley (banjo), Alistair Robertson (bass), Mike Di Cecco (drums). Filmed by Lois Stephenson.

And for the record, here’s a picture of Shirazz two years ago when they played at the Victorian Jazz Club.   With the exception of Alistair Robertson replacing Eli  Firestone on bass, the lineup is the same

Shirazz (from the Victorian Jazz Club Calendar 2011. Photo: Ron Jobe)

This is a band which is making all the right moves,  musically and as entertainers.   Apart from their great sound, they have one of the best publicity machines in the business which many others could learn from.   Come and enjoy Matt Dixon and his gang, and buy their CD for future  listening  pleasure.

Details again:
What: Enjoy Responsibly Album Launch
When: Saturday 25 February, 9pm
Where: Red Bennies, 373 Chapel Street, South Yarra
How much: $10 entry (or $20 incl. the album), as long as you say you’re there to see Shirazz

What else?
For Shirazz’s  Geelong/Bellarine Peninsula/etc fans, the band is heading down to beautiful Queenscliff the very next day (this Sunday) for a afternoon picnic concert in the Citizens Park Rotunda (1-4pm). Yes, you can buy their new album there.

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The Maple Leaf Allstars at Williamstown

Canada Hotel

Hotel Canada, Carlton

THE Maple Leaf Jazz Band was one of the most popular Melbourne jazz bands in the ’80s with long-running residencies at The Spread Eagle, The Anchor and Hope, The Victoria and The Portsea Hotels, amongst others.

The band had its birth at the old Hotel Canada in Lygon Street, Carlton (which has now gone up in the world in more ways than one), hence the band name.

In 2010 Bob Whetstone and Kim Rushworth organised a fittingly riotous reunion of the band at the Whitehorse Club, Burwood which was attended by as many of the extant ex-bandmembers as could make the trip, and by hordes of loyal fans from all-over.

Bob Whetstone at the Reunion

Since then the Band has played on various occasions with varying lineups – always quality musicians – and with the sounds we love to hear.

On Sunday 25 March the Williamstown Jazz Club will present yet another Maple Leaf combination – The Maple Leaf Allstars – who will play from 4pm to 7pm for your listening and dancing pleasure.

The Williamstown Jazz Club holds its gigs at the Williamstown RSL, corner of Ferguson Street and Melbourne Road, Williamstown. Phone 9311 3349 for bookings.

The Allstars at Williamstown will be:

Bob Whetstone, trumpet
Hugh de Rosayro, trombone
Barry Wratten, clarinet
Tony Orr, banjo/guitar
Richard Mander, bass
Dean Cooper, drums

And here’s an archival clip of the Maple Leaf playing at Caulfield RSL in 2011 before the RSL closed down its Friday Night Jazz. sigh!!!

Marina Pollard: last fundraising fling for the Queen of Fundraisers

Marina Pollard

Marina at the 64th Australian Jazz Convention 2009,
La Trobe University, Melbourne

MARINA Pollard (fondly known as “The Duchess”) is one of those active “second-liners” who not only love their jazz, but throw themselves whole-heartedly into supporting and promoting it.

Only one of the ways in which Marina has supported jazz has been through her fundraising activities for that splendid institution, The Victorian Jazz Archive.

In her role as Visitor Services manager, Marina has organized close to 90 guided tours of the Archive, which have not only introduced many new members/subscribers to the Archive, but have raised almost $40,000 in entry fees, CD sales from the Archive Shop, and new memberships.

If this wasn’t enough, Marina over the years has organised fundraising events at the Rosstown Hotel and at The Archive itself (for example, last year’s “Jazz on Cup Day”). Here’s a clip of one of the blackboard (well whiteboard really) bands which played on that occasion. Bob Whetstone, trumpet; Gavan Gow, clarinet; John Roberts, trombone; Tony Feehan, keyboard; and Peter Grey on bass.

These activities have raised a further $10,000 annually from entry fees and raffles (If you’ve ever been approached by Marina with her winning smile and raffle books you will know how impossible it is not to open your wallet, not just once but again and again!)

All this is leading up to the fact Marina is giving up her fundraising activities to allow others the opportunity to try their wings at this rewarding but exhausting task.

Her final fundraiser will be on Tuesday 14 February (yes, Valentine’s Day) at the Archive, Koomba Park, 15 Mountain Highway, Wantirna from 10.30am to 1.30pm. It will take the form of a tour of the Archive, a light lunch, and music from one of Australia’s legendary bands – Ross Anderson’s New Melbourne Jazz Band. For all this, the entry fee is a measly $15.00!.

There are still some places left, so do yourself a favour and call Marina on 9781 4972 to grab one or two. For catering purposes this needs to be by Friday 10 February, so pick up the phone and call right now. This is the chance to have a great day’s jazz, and to acknowledge the work that Marina has done for the cause.

Marina Pollard

Hail Marina, Queen of Fundraisers!

Salvation Street Shout!

Julian McGuinness

Julian McGuiness

MY TALENT scout, Graeme, this morning (Saturday 4 February) alerted me to a fascinating item on Radio National’s Music Show: an interview with Sydney trombonist, Lucian McGuiness, the creator of Salvation Street Shout, a trombone shout band which owes much to the traditional pentecostal church bands of the eastern US.

Led by McGuiness and featuring some of Sydney’s finest trombone players and sousaphonists, Salvation Street Shout is inspired by jazz, blues, Dixileand, gospel and old-time spirituals.


The shout bands were one of three elements which influenced McGuiness to form Salvation Street Shout. On his website,, McGuiness explains the origins of his “brass choir”:

My concept behind this project is a mix of a few loves: North Carolina shout bands, Sam Cooke’s work with the Soul Stirrers (which is analagous to a vocal shout band -joyous upbeat gospel), and other non-gospel vocal works that transpose well to a brass choir; in particular Brian Wilson’s accapella arrangements for The Beach Boys, and a few late-19th century tin-pan-alley “coon-songs” which are equally beautiful.

Salvation Street Shout

Salvation Street Shout

Here are some of the well-known musicians who play with The Shout:
Grant Arthur trombone/sousaphone, Dan Barnett trombone, Jamie Cameron drums. Sam Golding trombone/sousaphone, John Hibbard trombone, Daev Panichi trombone, Mike Raper trombone and Alex Silver trombone.
And here’s a video taken by Joanne Kee of the group playing Walkin’ in the Water

To learn more about trombone shout bands, I took McGuiness’s advice and turned to an article by Craig Kridel titled Kenny Carr and the Tigers: An Introduction to Pentecostal Brass Shout Bands. This is on the Berlioz Historical Brass website which is a mine of fascinating information on brass musical instruments.
Quoting from this article:

With its sousaphone and baritone, the trombone shout band is representative of the worship services of the United House of Prayer, a Pentecostal denomination common on the east coast of the United States and quite active in the Greensboro, Winston Salem, and Charlotte areas of North Carolina.

“Shout” describes the singing style and form of worship in many African American religious denominations….

The shout band style is up tempo, duple meter, bright, responsive to the congregation, and incorporates a chordal wall of sound as players form a semi circle with the leader playing and directing in front.
The musical form consists of three sections:
The recitative, played by the lead trombone in a slow improvisatory manner, constituting a “call” for which the row tenor trombones play a fundamental chord progression.
The second section, described by Damon (1999) as the aria, establishes tempo and sets the melody through repeated and then ornamented verses.
The third section is “the shout,” with a call response pattern and a rhythmic cadence called “backtimin” or “polin” where the sousaphone, plays a walking bass line..

The Tigers Shout Band is one of the leading exponents of this style of music and is now inter-denominational. Here they play at the University of South Carolina in 2001.

And finally, a church service with a shout band in one of the many places of worship of the United House of Prayer for All People.

Ali Mills Postscript

LENNY and Graham Eames of Adelaide wrote in response to my recent Ali Mills post:

Hi Jane,

Thanks again for your most informative web site, we enjoy it immensely

Re: Ali Mills. Do you realise that the squeeze box player is Graham’s son in law, Stephen Teakle who now resides with the family in Melbourne.  He also has an  act called “Barry Morgan’s  World of Organs”.
The bass player is Michael Hohnen, who is friend and manager of singer Gurrumul Yunupingu, and Artistic Director behind the  “Skinny Fish Music” label.

Stephen Teakle

Stephen Teakle

Stephen Teakle is a talented pianist, organist, musical director, tour manager and producer. He has played with many well known music names, including Melbourne’s own Andy Baylor and the Dancehall Racketeers.

Barry Morgan

"Barry Morgan"

And here’s his alter ego, Barry Morgan, as Spicks and Specks fans will recognise him – he of the glittering smile and nimble fingers and toes.

Barry’s World of Organs theatre show is a musical comedy act that exploits the many features of his beloved Aurora. Barry’s hilarious performance is utterly charming: a visual and aural experience that’s hard to resist. Plucked from relative obscurity to perform on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks, Barry Morgan became an instant audience favourite. Barry was invited back to perform on “A Very Specky Christmas”, and on the final episode of the show.

Steve will be performing for 4 weeks in the Adelaide Fringe from 24 February to 18 March.

Gurrumul and Hohnen

Gurrumul Yunupingu and Michael Hohnen

Michael Hohnen’s name has become a familiar one in Northern Territory contemporary music…
Perhaps not quite as familiar as his friend’s, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, the musician with whom he spends much of his time collaborating, but certainly a name that means much when it comes to producing, creativity and being an ‘ambassador’ for Indigenous music in the Top End and wider Territory.

A long-term NT resident since he ‘shed’ city life and a successful pop career with Melbourne band The Killjoys in the late 1980s, Hohnen is the Artistic Director (or “Creative Manager” as he prefers), behind Skinnyfish Music, the NT’s most successful music label and perhaps the country’s most well-known distributor, promoter and publisher of contemporary indigenous music.

And as a closer, here’s Gurrumul singing the achingly beautiful Wiyathul from his album Gurrumul. Note his unique guitar playing style – upside down and back to front.