Monthly Archives: May 2012

Washington and Lee Swing: most famous footy song of all time?

George Washington & Robert E Lee

Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia was named after two very famous Americans. Another of its claims to fame is that it has one of the world’s best known “fight songs”, The Washington and Lee Swing.
Wikipedia says that, before it morphed into a swing, Dixieland and bluegrass standard, The Washington and Lee Swing was one of the most well known — and widely borrowed — football marches ever written. Schools and colleges from Tulane to Slippery Rock to Gonzaga to Iowa State copied it (sometimes with attribution). It was written in 1910 by Mark W. Sheafe, Clarence A. (Tod) Robbins, and Thornton W. Allen. It has been recorded by virtually every important jazz and swing musician, including Glenn Miller (with Tex Beneke on vocals), Louis Armstrong, Kay Kyser, Hal Kemp and the Dukes of Dixieland. Here’s Louis playing it with the Dukes of Dixieland.

In another style here is the version of Byron Berline, (American fiddle player), and his band.

And for a spirited version here are the Dixie Boys playing at the Gunpowder Factory, Barcarena, Portugal. The factory has been decommissioned in case you’re wondering. It’s now a cultural centre with gallery, museum, craft shops, live music etc.

I recently heard Kim Rushworth singing the parody “I got the legs from some old table, I got the arms from some old chair…..” to the tune, and my friend Bill Liddy tells me that last Saturday night at the Victorian Jazz Club, Peter Hooper’s wonderful Royal Garden Jazz Band played the tune as their opening number, and the following evening it was played by One More George at the Williamstown Jazz Club.

View of the City of Zacatecas in the State of the same name

Comparisons between Washington and Lee Swing and Zacatecas March have included allegations that Washington and Lee Swing was heavily influenced by (or even originally outright borrowed from) that earlier Mexican march, which was written in 1891 by Genaro Codino, and is the anthem of the State of Zacatecas in Mexico. It is also considered as the second national anthem of Mexico.

What do you think?

I don’t agree – but then I didn’t think that Men at Work had copied Kookaburra Sits on an Old Gum Tree, so who am I to judge?

BUT I do have a sneaking suspicion about that Rudy Vallee hit from the 1930s – Betty Co-Ed.

And thank you Bill for the idea for this post.

Double bass players grotesque?: Hemingway thought so

Ernest Hemingway

I WAS recently re-reading Hemingway’s classic treatise on bullfighting Death in the Afternoon and came across a quote which I missed first time around.

In discussing the spectacle of the bullfight, Hemingway compares the picador – the mounted torero who pics the bull with a pike pole – to the bass player in an orchestra.

The Picador

The aficionado, or lover of the bullfight, may be said, broadly, to be one who has a sense of the tragedy and ritual of the fight, so that the minor aspects are not important except as they relate to the whole. Either you have this or you have not, just as, without implying any comparison, you have or have not an ear for music. Without an ear for music the principle impression of an auditor at a symphony concert might be of the motions of the player of the double bass, just as the spectator at the bullfight might remember only the obvious grotesqueness of the picador. The movements of the player of the double bass are grotesque and the sounds produced are many times, if heard by themselves, meaningless.
If the auditor at a symphony concert were as humanitarian as he might be at a bullfight he would pobably find as much scope for his good work in ameliorating the wages and living conditions of the players of the double bass in a symphony orchestra as in doing something about the poor horses [in a bullfight].

The Bass Player

Grotesque? What do you think?

Sweet Ade: a band inspired by the recorder playing of Ade Monsbourgh

Ade Monsbourgh

AUSTRALIAN Jazz giant, Ade Monsbourgh, was a multi-instrumentalist, but one instrument which is particularly identified with him is the recorder. His Recorder in Ragtime is a classic example of his use of the recorder in the ragtime idiom.

Marion Lustig was inspired by Ade’s recorder playing to put together a band called Sweet Ade which had its debut this year at the Grampians and Inverloch festivals. You will have a chance to enjoy Sweet Ade’s music on Saturday 26 May at the Rosstown Hotel , Koornang Road, Carnegie from 4.30-5.45pm..

The lineup will be Marion Lustig (recorders), Joe Kenyon (sousaphone), Lyn Thomas (piano), Andrew Stephens (banjo), Ray Oliphant (clarinet and soprano saxophone), Richard Opat (drums and washboard) and Jan Arndt (vocals).

The program will include elements of ragtime, trad jazz, and folk, and includes some of Ade’s signature tunes.

Entry is free, but the occasion is a fundraiser for the Royal Children’s Hospital so no doubt you’ll have the opportunity to buy raffle tickets.

It should be a good afternoon’s entertainment in a good cause!

I don’t have video of Sweet Ade, but here’s a clip from the Eltham Jazz and Blues Festival 2009 with Rodney Waterman and Friends playing some tunes from
Recorder in Ragtime
. The “Friends” include Stephen Grant, keyboard; Ian Smith, washboard; John Scurry, banjo; and Mark Elton (well disguised) on sousaphone.

The Doubly Gifted Committee & the Bell Jazz Lectures

Bill Liddy

MY generous mate, Bill Liddy, tipped me off to this remarkable Australian jazz phenomenon: the Doubly Gifted Committee’s Bell Jazz Lectures.

In 1992, the Doubly Gifted Committee held its first ‘Jazz Art Happening’ exhibition at Waverley Library, Bondi Junction, Sydney to showcase the double talents of jazz musicians who are also artists. It was the brainchild of Committee member Harry Stein, (who incidentally was one of the founders of the Australian Jazz Convention). The following year, the exhibition was expanded to include the Bell Jazz Lecture, also organised by the Doubly Gifted Committee, in recognition of Graeme Bell’s significant contribution to jazz. The Jazz Art Happening and Bell Jazz Lecture have continued as a two-week annual event at Waverley Library since 1993.

Members of the Committee over the years have included Harry Stein, Graeme Bell, Jeannie McInnes, Kate Dunbar, Verdon Morcom, Margaret Stevenson, Ron Lander (Waverley City Librarian), Jiri Kripac, and Bob Baird (since 2005).

And what is so wonderful is that the complete text of each of the lectures so far – all 19 of them – can be downloaded from the Waverley Library website!.

Here’s the complete list of speakers and topics:
1993. Bruce Johnston. Jazz & Society
1994. Gail Brennan. Jazz Posibilities: realised & denied
1995. Dick Hughes. Jazz & the Press, and related airs and themes.
1996. Judy Bailey. Jazz – A Question of Growth, (or Survival of the Hippest?)
1997. Clement Semmler. Whither Jazz?
1998. Geoff Bull. Jazz – What’s in a Name?
1999. Jack Mitchell. Jazzdags
2000. Peter F. J. Newton. Along Dark Alleys: the Literature of Jazz and Crime
2001. Mandy Sayer. Goodbye Porkpie Hat: writing jazz in the twentieth century
2002. Bill Haesler. Fixty-six years of jazz & Jazz Conventions
2003. Len Barnard. No Sticks Before 10 O’clock
2004. John Morrison. Serious Fun
2005. Jim McLeod. Jazz & the Cinema
2006. Graeme Bell. Leader of the Band
2007. Bill Boldiston. Sydney Jazz Until 1950
2008. Bill Pochee. Things ain’t what they used to be
2009. Jeannie Lewis. You know I don’t listen to the words
2010. James Valentine. The Myths of Jazz
2011. Daniel Hardie. Buddy Bolden and me – the true story

This is an absolutely wonderful, rich local resource on jazz – wide ranging, scholarly but entertaining – and one which every jazz fan should dip into.


Daytime Jazz in Melbourne: Fosters Foaming Five @ Clayton RSL

WEDNESDAY 23 May is the date for the next Victorian Jazz Club daytime jazz concert to suit those fans who prefer to hear their jazz while the sun is still up.

Fosters Foaming Five is the band which will provide the music at the Clayton RSL, 163 Carinish Road, Clayton from 11am to 2pm. (Doors open at 10.30).

The FFF are all well-known, well-seasoned and well-appreciated musicians about town.
Doug Rawson on piano, Alan Stott on sousaphone, Bob Pattie on trumpet, Tony Orr on banjo and Mike Edwards on reeds.

Fosters Foaming Five (photo: Ron Jobe)

Entry is $8 a head which includes free tea or coffee during breaks. Lisa at the Bistro provides an excellent array of light refreshments, or you can get stuck into a full meal from the menu board.

Although there are no seat allocations for this gig, booking is recommended. Phone either 9583 5247 or 9553 3850.

Hope to see you there!

Maurie Memorial: a chance to say farewell to a bonzer* bloke

THERE will be no funeral service for Maurie Fabrikant who died on 16 May. Instead there will be a memorial ceremony to celebrate Maurie’s life on Wednesday 30 May at the Clayton RSL, 163 Carinish Road, Clayton from 2pm to 4pm.
Here are a few images of Maurie in his jazz persona. Note the ever-present cards in the top pocket for writing down the tunes!

Carrying the banner at Halls Gap

Cutting the cake at his 70th birthday party with the VJC

With Doreen and Maurie's favourite Secretary, Marg Hendrie

With former President Marge Burke

with Graeme Huntington at the 2009 Jazz Convention

Taking time out between gigs

The Christmas Tie




*And for those who don’t speak Strine (Australian), “bonzer” means remarkable, wonderful, good.

Maurie Fabrikant tribute and fundraiser for MDA

Maurie with some of the musos who played for him on 13 May 2012

GRAHAM and Lenny Eames wrote the following report for the South Australian Jazz Club before getting the news that Maurie had left us:


We attended the VJC’s Motor Neurone fundraiser to honour Maurie Fabrikant on Sunday May 13th. It was a very humbling experience and fantastic to see how popular Maurie is. The event ran from 11am till we got kicked out at 5pm, and right from 11am onwards the room was full with musicians, jazz friends and family of Maurie’s. Maurie and Doreen were there from the start till finish. The event started with the Moonee Valley Jazz Band playing the first set and after that, bands were made up from musicians who were there, and with only a few breaks for raffles and announcements, there was nonstop music.
It’s hard to mention highlights, as the whole day was one great highlight, but a few occasions stand out: Maurie’s brother, Harold Fabrikant, playing a medley of Jelly Roll Morton tunes for about 20 minutes; Alan Stott singing his updated version of his 2nd place getting original tune “Maurie Fabrikant” to gales of laughter from the room; and then about 15 musicians in the Maurie’s Jolly Rollers yellow shirts, as many as possible of the musos who at one stage or another were “Jolly Rollers” decided to wear their distinctive shirts.
Musicians came from as far away as SA, Newcastle, ACT, Geelong, Ballarat, Colac, Swan Hill, Bendigo and of course Melbourne.
At last count we believe the total tally for the Motor Neurone Disease Association stands at over $10 000 raised.

Graham & Lenny Eames
Adelaide, SA

Generous and gracious to the end. Vale “Squire”.

Maurie Fabrikant: a life well lived

Maurie at the 2009 Convention, Melbourne (Photo: Ron Jobe)

MAURIE Fabrikant, beloved President of the Victorian Jazz Club and friend of a host of musicians and jazz fans across Australia, died at home in his chair at 10 o’clock this morning, 16 May 2012.

The hundreds of friends who were lucky enough to see and honour Maurie last Sunday at the VJC fundraiser at Clayton RSL will value their last meeting with their generous and courageous mate.

All sympathies and support to Doreen and children, brother Harold, and the wider Fabrikant clan.

Clark Terry: legend of the horn

Clark Terry, Melbourne 1974

Clark Terry in Melbourne 1974
(photo from "Jazz Down Under", v. 1 no.4, March/April 1975)

CLARK Terry, legendary horn player, whose career spans more than seventy years, has recently released his autobiography – Clark: The Autobiography of Clark Terry; Edited by Gwen Terry, published by University of California Press. (see review by John MacBeath in The Australian)

Local jazz musicians and fans whose memories go back far enough will remember Terry’s visit to Melbourne as special guest at the 29th Australian Jazz Convention in 1974. (It was of course the same year that Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas Eve).

Don Anderson, who was Secretary of the Convention Committee that year and now AJC archivist, wrote a vivid description of the visit and its impact in an article in the March/April 1975 issue of Jazz Down Under which is the source for a good deal of this post.

The Convention Committee had only decided in August’74 to invite Clark Terry to Melbourne for the Convention. Luckily for them, Terry was available due to the cancellation of a Christmas booking in Miami. Over the next 3 months plans were made for a big band of Australian allstars to be put together by Barry Veith (and to use the latest arrangements from the Creative Jazz Composers Company), plus a trio which was to consist of Tony Gould on piano, Ray Speakman on bass, and at the last minute, Ron Hayden on drums.

Terry had arrived in Melbourne on Christmas Eve and met his support trio for the first time just before going on stage at 3.30pm on Boxing Day. Not only had the trio not played together before, but Ron Hayden had only been recruited on the weekend before the Convention.

In an interview on Radio 3MBS in 2009, Tony Gould cited the experience of playing with Clark Terry as one of his greatest jazz moments. “I was in my early 20s and he in his 50s. When he put the trumpet to his mouth, I had never heard such exquisite control”.

Bill Haesler in “The Annual Bell Lecture 2002” demonstrated how well Terry understood the Convention ethos:

The hiring of fifty-four year old ex-Ellingtonian tmmpet player Clark Terry for the 1974 Convention at Dorset Gardens in Melboume caused a stir, to say the least. Once again we discovered a down-to-earth musician willing to take part in whatever was thrown at him. Including an after-hours limerick session and on one occasion (at Clark Terry’s request) a set with the Bill Haesler Washboard Band.

Ian Smith who was President of the Convention Committee that year took a couple of films of Clark Terry performing with the trio. If we can track down copies we’ll see if we can get them up on YouTube.

Geoff Orr of Lyric Records produced two CDs of Terry while in Australia: one with the big band, and the other with a trio comprising Tony Gould (piano), Murray Wall (bass) and Ted Vining (drums). The big band CD includes Terry’s trademark “song” Mumbles. Here’s a version of it performed by Terry on the Chicago-based TV series, The Legends of Jazz in April 2006.

Clark Terry was born in St Louis, Missouri on 14 December 1920.
His career in jazz spans more than seventy years. He is a world-class trumpeter, flugelhornist, educator, composer, writer, trumpet/flugelhorn designer, teacher and NEA Jazz Master. He has performed for eight U.S. Presidents, and was a Jazz Ambassador for State Department tours in the Middle East and Africa.
At age 91 and in failing health, Terry continues to mentor the next generation of jazz musicians with one of his last students, pianist Justin Kauflin.

And finally, here’s a recording of Terry’s impeccable flugelhorn playing of Stardust at a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in London in 1967.

“Hop Off”: report from first M. McQuaid gig at The Victoria

A friend and I went to Hop Off gig last night. Fantastic show! Great venue!
Food tasty and plenty of it!
All musos excellent, but great to see Smithy firing on all cylinders on both sousa and bass. Also, Tamsin West channelling Sophie Tucker.
Highly recommended.
– Jaz Stutley.

Other chances to hop on!

– Sat June 9th
– Sat July 21st
– Sat Aug 11th
– Sat Sep 8th