Monthly Archives: March 2012

Geelong RSL Gigs

Geoff and Sandy

HAVE just received advice of the Geelong RSL gigs for April-May 2012 from my good friends Sandy and Geoff Leaman.
Geelong RSL, 50 Barwon Heads Road, Belmont, 3216
$10 cover charge (includes a $5 voucher for food or drinks). Music from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.
Bookings – Ph: 5241-1766

Sunday 1 April – Bazza Jazz
Sunday 8 April – Hughie’s Nite Owls
Sunday 15 April – Des Camm Jazz Band
Sunday 22 April – Royal Garden Jazz Band
Sunday 29 April – TBA
Sunday 6 May – Maryborough Traditional Jazz Ensemble
Sunday 13 May – Moonee Valley Jazz Band
Sunday 20 May – Des Camm Jazz Band
Sunday 27 May – Royal Garden Jazz Band

Jazz Piano Lunches @ The Rosstown

ON the last Thursday of every second month, starting in January, the Rosstown Hotel in Koornang Road, Carnegie holds its famous PIANO LUNCHES.   From midday until about 4.00pm a pantheon of some of Melbourne’s best jazz pianists play tunes of their choice, with occasional informed chat about the music.

The next session will be held on THURSDAY 29 MARCH.    Pianists will be the usual suspects (who may include Rex Green, Kim Harris, Graham Coyle, Keith Stevens, Michael Llewellyn, Jeff Bartrum, Neville Turner, Kathy Connor, John Adams, Ken Cowan or Jo Abbott). This month’s special guest will be Alan Lee, the renowned vibraphonist. For bookings ring 9571 1033.

The piano lunches have been held at the Rosstown Hotel since 1994 – for the first 5 years in the Dining Room, but since 1999 in the Bistro, which is better for all concerned, particularly the security guards who used to have to carry the baby grand down from the Bistro for each session.

But the history of the lunches goes back much further than this. (and for the following I am indebted to an article by Tom Wanliss in the Victorian Jazz Club journal Jazzline vol. 32 no. 4, Summer 1999).

In 1987 a group of jazz lovers, which included Bill Bunnett, Tom Wanliss and Ian MacKenzie, organised an informal party at Bunnett’s home to hear Rex Green play. Over the next 3 years, these functions continued on an irregular basis, with further pianists and listeners being added.

In 1992 the lunches moved to the Palace Hotel in Burke Road, Camberwell where they stayed for the next two years. Neville Turner made his appearance during this period. When The Palace moved its piano to another hotel, yet another venue was required. With an interlude of one or more sessions at the Elsternwick Hotel in Brighton Road, the piano lunches came to The Rosstown in 1994 which has been home ever since – 18 years of free music from the cream of the jazz keyboard over a pleasant lunch! How sweet it is.

Here are a couple of clips from the September 2011 lunch:
First John Adams, with special guest Barrie Boyes on tenor saxophone.

Now Graham Coyle plays that classic Bessie Smith song Oh Daddy Blues with Bob Whetstone singing the lyrics appreciatively in the background.

New Melbourne Jazz Band: 31 Years On

The New Melbourne Jazz Band

ROSS Anderson’s New Melbourne Jazz Band is a band of legends. Formed 31 years ago, it has been a continuous landmark on the local jazz scene in Melbourne, has travelled the world, played with international stars (most recently the Dutch Swing College Band), made many wonderful recordings, attracted an enormous fan club, and been the subject of a major exhibition at the Victorian Jazz Archive. And that’s just for starters.

This Thursday, 15 March, is a very special celebration for Ross and his band. They will be playing at the Limerick Arms Hotel at 364 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, and it was at this very same historic pub that the band had its first gig 31 years ago! In fact the band was formed for the gig.

The Limerick Arms today

This fine old pub has an even longer history than The New Melbourne. It was established in 1855 by two Irish brothers, John and James Toohey, only 20 years after the founding of Melbourne. The Tooheys possibly came in the rush for gold, but were canny enough to realise that there was more to be made out of the amber fluid than in following the diggers north to the goldfields. They went on to found Tooheys Brewery, and the rest is you know what.

The Limerick Arms way back when

The music will be on from 7.00-10.00 pm and dinner is available from 6.00 to 9.30pm. For bookings phone (03) 9810 0052.

To remind you what’s in store, here is the New Melbourne playing in 2011 .

Lineup: Peter Uppman, trumpet; Ron Trigg, reeds; Charlie Farley, banjo; Ross Anderson, bass; Peter Whitford, drums.

Ultrafox CD Launch: the Baylors’ Gypsy Swing band

THE Baylor brothers, Peter and Andy, are consummate musicians who move effortlessly between different styles – traditional and mainstream jazz, western swing, rockabilly, bebop, cajun, and gypsy swing….

The trad jazz fraternity is probably most familiar with their western swing band, The Dancehall Racketeers which performed at the Victorian Jazz Club last Saturday, 10 March.

But another superb “string to their bow” (pardon the awful pun) is ULTRAFOX, the outstanding gypsy swing band which is about to launch its debut album, Chasing Shadows, named for Alby Silver’s lovely romantic ballad from the 1920s, and which Peter sings so melodiously on the disc.

Ultrafox CD: Chasing shadows

Featuring some of Australia’s finest jazz musicians, the CD is a beautifully crafted selection of 15 tracks ranging from elegant swing, through smoky mood pieces, tender ballads to Le Jazz Hot. All are firmly rooted in the traditions of French jazz – of course Reinhardt, but also other lesser known but equally gifted musicians.

Up front are the sparkling guitars of Peter Baylor and Jon Delaney. On violin is Andy Baylor whose command of all things swinging is legendary. Michael McQuaid adds clarinet and tenor saxophone to the mix. Two different bass players were used on the CD: up and coming player Kain Borlase and, on a fleeting visit from Paris where he has been living and playing for more than a decade, Sebastien Girardot. Sebastien was one of Melbourne’s precocious “jazz babies” of the 1990s who have gone on to great things in their music. (Stephen Grant, Jo Stevenson, Simon Stribling, Mark Elton, Michael McQuaid, Simon Vancam, James Clark, Ashley Gaudion, Emelia Wilmot, Eugene Ball, Lindsay Flint – I’ve probably missed some).

Julie O'HaraAnd if that weren’t enough to whet your appetites, Julie O’Hara adds her effortless vocals and her own lyrics to some Django standards and lesser known tunes.


THE LAUNCH of this beautiful CD will be held on Thursday 29 March at the Paris Cat Jazz Club, 6 Goldie Place, Melbourne CBD. Show time: 9.00pm Bookings on line or 9642 4711.

But if you can’t make it to the launch, Julie O’Hara will be singing with Ultrafox at the Famous Spiegeltent in the Arts Centre forecourt on Sunday March 18 at 3pm in the Jazz High Tea series. I’m sure the CD will be available then also.

As a teaser, here’s one of my favourite tracks from the CD. Royal Blue composed by Etienne “Sarane” Ferret, one of several astonishing gypsy guitarist brothers who worked with Reinhardt during the 1940s. In this track Michael McQuaid plays the part which was usually played by the violin in Ferret’s Le Swing Quintette de Paris.

For further information, CD purchases etc. contact Peter Baylor 0430 484 373 or

Victorian Jazz Workshops for under 25s

FOR SOME REASON Victoria has always been more active than other parts of Australia in trying to keep the flame of traditional jazz burning through workshops for young – and not so young  – musicians  to learn the skills of improvisation, playing by ear, and ensemble work in traditional jazz styles.

The Victorian Jazz Workshops, managed by Marina Pollard since 2002, are an example of such initiatives.

The Workshops, (a not for profit, registered business), offer two programs: an Under 25s Improvisation Workshop, and a Senior Workshop for everyone else!

The Under 25s Workshop for 2012 is about to begin.
A 12 weeks’ program runs from Saturday 24 March to Saturday 16 June (excluding 7 April) from 1pm to 4pm. The venue is the Victorian Jazz Archive, 15 Mountain Highway, Wantirna. Total cost: $75.00 which includes Student Membership of the Jazz Archive.

The Workshop is open to young musicians under 25 yars of age who are proficient with their instruments, able to play scales and arpeggios, and most importantly, are interested in learning to play jazz. The course is made possible through the generosity of practising jazz musicians who want to pass on to young musicians some of the skills they have acquired through many years working as professional jazz musicians.

Marina Pollard

Contact Marina Pollard, Workshop Coordinator, on 9781 4972 or by email for further information and to make a booking.
The Workshops are supported and subsidised by the Australian Jazz Convention Trustees, the Geelong Jazz Club, the Peninsula Jazz Club, the Victorian Jazz Club, the Gold Coast Jazz and Blues Club, and private donors. The Victorian Jazz Archive provides premises and other facilities including insurance.

Here’s a pic of some of the young musicians who went through the Under 25s program in 2009.

Victorian Jazz Workshop Ensemble 2009