Monthly Archives: March 2013

David Horniblow with The Shuffle Club

LAST Sunday we went to the Rosstown Hotel to hear The Shuffle Club. They were their brilliant selves with a couple of alterations to the regular lineup: Ash Gaudion was on alto sax and Rod Gilbert on drums, but for a change we had Sam Lemann on guitar and Phil Rex on double bass. The fact that they had been playing at The Famous Spiegeltent until all hours of the morning (only 1 hour’s sleep!) didn’t dampen their vibrancy one iota.

Halfway through the afternoon, we had the added pleasure of hearing two sitins – Bob Whetstone on trumpet and UK visitor David Horniblow on clarinet. Here are three videos that I took of this combination.

GOIN’ TO CHICAGO, the Count Basie blues about the massive migration north by African Americans.

SEE SEE RIDER, a traditional 12 bar blues made famous originally by Ma Rainey in the 1920s. Shows off the blues skills of the whole band – isn’t Sam Lemann one of the best blues guitarists in town!

Finally SWEET GEORGIA BROWN, with Bob scatting

Bob and David will be playing with John Morrison’s Moonee Valley Jazz Band for the Williamstown Jazz Club at Williamstown RSL cnr Ferguson and Melbourne Roads, Williamstown tomorrow afternoon – March 24 – between 4pm and 7pm. Ring 9311 3349 to book.

Shannon Barnett in New York: another wandering oz muso

Shannon Barnett

THE last time I saw Shannon Barnett playing her trombone was with VIRUS at the Pinnacle Hotel in North Fitzroy.   At that gig they were passing around one of those large metal teapots (used by by the Good Ladies of the Parish to transport hot water for tea or coffee at church functions) for tips to help Shannon on her way to New York to further her music studies.

In 2010 she relocated to the Big Apple to undertake a Masters Degree in Music Studies.

On March 5th this year,  Michael Steinman of Jazz Lives caught up with Shannon at the Radegast Hall and Biergarten, at 113N 3rd Street, Brooklyn playing with a new band put together by another trombone player, Emily Asher (who co-incidentally sometimes plays with the band BABY SODA which I wrote about a few months ago).

Apparently this was the first time this group had played together – so new that the band didn’t have a name yet, although on Shannon’s website she lists it as “Emily Asher’s Garden Party”.

Here’s a video (by the inestimable Mr Steinman) of the band playing “Mood Indigo”. You’ll note that Emily Asher tells the crowd that there is a Tips Tray for any offerings in appreciation of the music. Shades of the Pinnacle teapot!

Click here to watch the whole of the Jazz Lives post, “Birth of a Band”, which includes six more videos.

Shannon is obviously making her way in the highly competitive music scene in New York. Visit her website to see what gigs she has lined up for the next couple of months.

Adrian Cunningham

Another Australian musician who is now based in New York and making the most of the many opportunities offered in the very active jazz scene there is Adrian Cunningham, (another sometimes member of BABY SODA).

Viktor Zappner from Burnie, Tasmania has organised a student workshop and concert at the Burnie High School with Adrian Cunningham this month. As part of the publicity for the gig, Adrian has provided this interesting piece of advice for musicians wanting to make a successful musical career in New York:

I have been living in New York for 2 years now.When I moved here I didn’t really know anyone and started again from scratch. In that time I’ve been lucky enough to have played with some of the best musicians in the world, toured Europe twice, as well as the Caribbean, and throughout the USA – performed at the Village Vanguard, 55 Bar, and Smalls, and even INSIDE the Empire State Building.

The most common question I’m asked is – How did you get started as a musician in New York City?”

So I thought I’d divulge for you a simple “how to” making it in New York.

Rule 1 You’ve got to be good, and if you’re not you’d better get good fast or you’re broke and on the next plane home. As soon as you step off the plane you’re competing with the best in the world. These are the guys you grew up listening to!

Rule 2: Check out as much music as you can. If you see a band you like, ask if you can sit in. Now this is IMPORTANT. You’ve got to be confident in your abilities. In a way this is almost more important. You can imagine if you run a band and you have a stranger coming up to you with a saxophone asking to sit in, you need to size him or her up pretty quickly because there’s nothing worse than having a guy up on stage who doesn’t know what they’re doing. So there’s a mild level of intimidation involved and if you know you’re good, so will they. So when sitting in with a band it’s important not to be too flashy or take long solos. Don’t be self-indulgent, nobody likes that. A good bandleader can size you up in the first few bars. If they like you, you’ll probably be allowed to play out the rest of the set with them.
Be polite. At the end, thank them and give them a business card. They may call you. Probably not.
A few weeks later, go and sit in again. No matter how well you played, chances are they won’t remember you. Don’t take this personally. In a town like New York there are so many great musicians it’s hard to keep track of who’s who. So remind them who you are. You may still get a bit of attitude – don’t worry about this, it’s normal. Ask if you can sit in again – if you did a good job last time it should be cool.

Rule 3: Always have plenty of business cards on you. This may seem a bit funny at first but that’s how it’s done there. After two years I’ve collected a pile of other people’s cards that stacks up to my waist – I don’t even know who half of those people are.

Rule #4: Most importantly … follow up on every opportunity. Anytime you meet a muso (muso=musician) and they say ‘come sit in with my band on Wednesday’ or, ‘you should contact this bass player and say “hi”’, then DO IT. New York is full of opportunities. It’s hard work but some wonderful gigs have resulted in following this rule. I take any chance to play I can get (not in the least because I love to play!). There are days when I get up, dash off to Central Park to busk with a jazz group, go to an afternoon rehearsal, do a gig in the evening and then play at a jam session at one of the downtown clubs, most of which don’t start ’til 1am!

Here’s an example of these rules in effect. There is a wonderful Jazz/Blues singer, Sweet Georgia Brown (whom I’m trying to get out to Australia). She’s titled as the last of the Red Hot Mamas, she has played with anyone and everyone. To play with her is a great honour. When I first heard her sing, I absolutely loved her- and next time I saw that she was performing, I went up to her and told her just that. I also said that I played the sax and would love to play a tune with her. (Another rule-ALWAYS have your instrument with you. This is New York!) So I played a tune with her. Long story short, she asked me to join her group; and because of her, I’ve performed at Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland, I got to shake the hand of Quincy Jones, and countless other amazing gigs.

Finally, Rule #5: There are so many amazing jazz clubs, check them all out! Everybody and every club has its own style of playing, and just because you don’t fit in with the style of one club, doesn’t mean you’re not a great player. You’ll find a venue and musicians who are more akin to your style. But be open minded and versatile.
If you follow these rules and have a bit of luck on your side, then anything is possible!!

Here is Adrian playing with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and Ehud Asherie on piano in Central Park on 18 August 2012. And I’m advised that the small trombone which Gordon plays during this clip is a soprano trombone or a slide trumpet.

Viktor Zappner: the Burnie jazz angel

Burnie, Tasmania

SOME weeks ago I was ruminating about how Burnie High School in Tasmania came to be included on the itineraries of two international jazz performers in recent months.

Burnie is a small seaport on the northwest coast of Tasmania, with a population of less than 20,000, and although charming, is not necessarily a destination which would immediately spring to mind when planning a musican’s tour of Australia.

Well all is now revealed – the “angel” (theatrical that is) behind it is jazz enthusiast Viktor Zappner.

Viktor Zappner

A clinical psychologist and jazz pianist, Viktor came to Tasmania with his wife and daughters in 1979 from Czechoslovakia.

Dismayed at the lack of jazz on Tasmania’s north-west coast, he set about rectifying that situation.  He helped found the Jazz Action Society North West Tasmania, and has been president for most of  its 28 years. Now in his 70s he remains Director of the annual Devonport Jazz festival.  He has also played jazz piano at hundreds of local and overseas gigs.

But one of Viktor’s enduring ambitions has been to encourage a love and appreciation of jazz in young people.    A chance meeting with the Burnie High School Association President, Ant Dry, led to a proposal to use the Burnie High School’s new Performing Arts Centre to showcase Tasmanian, national and international jazz musicians in a Jazz Goes To School series.

Two programs in the series have already been held, and a third is scheduled for 23 March. The first two involved young UK band, Dixie Ticklers, and the world famous stride/ragtime pianist and vocalist, Judy Carmichael with guitarist Sam Dunn.  The third will feature Australian-born, New York based reeds player, Adrian Cunningham backed by Nick Haywood, bass, Alf Jackson on drums, and Viktor Zappner on piano.

 As part of the deal, the musicians give workshops for local high school students which have been hugely successful.


Here are Judy Carmichael and Sam Dunn with their workshop participants on 23 February.

Viktor Zappner’s philosopy behind the Jazz Goes To School series is:
“Young people are hooked on pop and rock and I wanted to expose them to jazz, to build not only an audience but for those who play instruments to try this genre.”

Easy to think and say, but few people have managed to put thought into action so effectively as has Viktor Zappner in bringing world class jazz to the young people of Burnie. No wonder he won the Tasmanian Local Hero section of Australian of the Year in 2012!

“Mike Durham: we lost a champion”: Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party organiser dies

Mike and Patti Durham

THIS was the title of Michael Steinman’s post on his wonderful blog Jazz Lives which greeted me this morning when I logged in to my email. You can read the whole piece at “Mike Durham: we lost a champion”

As Michael says, not everyone in the jazz world would know who Mike Durham was. This is particularly so in Australia because Mike Durham was English, living in Newcastle, where his fame was not as a musician – although he was an elegant trumpet player – but as a jazz festival organiser.

For more than two decades he ran the Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival, and more recently, the Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party.

My interest in the Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party was roused when I came across a group of videos (again through Michael Steinman’s Jazz Lives) of Michael McQuaid leading a set of tunes composed by Graeme Bell, Ade Monsbourgh and Humphrey Lyttelton and recorded in collaboration with Lyttelton in the early 1950s.

All of the commercially published recordings of this collaboration have been brought together in the CD “Humph Experiments”. (LACD 266). Click on the CD cover to enjoy the whole, or at least most, of this program from the Whitley Bay Party 2012 led by Michael McQuaid in his usual impeccable style.

Mike Durham had strong and passionate views as to the sort of jazz festival he wanted to organise. He didn’t mind an ad hoc group getting together in a jam session outside the regular program, but the formal sessions involved international musicians honouring past jazz giants by recreating their music with accuracy, fervour and practised skill. Michael Steinman calls them “the most vivid, lively and enrertaining “jazz museums” I have ever
encountered.”

This all sounds a lot like our own John Buchanan and his Southern Highlands Classic Jazz, Ragtime and Swing Festival coming up very soon at Mittagong, NSW (20 and 21 April). And perhaps it’s no surprise that Michael McQuaid will be one of more than 25 of Australia’s top jazz musicians taking part at Mittagong next month. Others include Stephen Grant, Paul Furniss, Brett Iggulden, Geoff Bull, Gary Walford, Geoff Power, Neil McBeth, Viv Carter, Paul Finnerty, Harry Harman and Peter Locke.

Special guest will be Marilyn Keller, jazz/gospel/blues vocalist from Portland, Oregon.
The music and musicians to be honoured will include Clarence Williams early bands, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Kansas City music 1920s-30s, Music of the night clubs and cabarets of New Orleans, Hot dance bands of the 1920s, Johnny Dodds Black Bottom Stompers, Lu Watters Yerba Buena Band, and Paul Furniss’s San Francisco Jazz Band.

It’s late, but not too late, to make plans to attend this very special festival. Go to the website for further details, or contact John Buchanan on 0438 654 267 or john@jbclassicjazz.com.au

And another one for 17 March 2013: The Mellowtones at Mornington RSL

John Cox’s Mellowtones will be playing at the Mornington RSL, 27 Virginia Street, Mornington on Sunday March 17 from 12.30 – 3.30pm. Phone: 5975 2106 for bookings.

The Mornington RSL is one of those enlightened places which has a regular Sunday gig – A Pleasant Sunday Arvo in fact. Their only failing is that they don’t advertise who’s playing each week so it’s either take potluck, or ring up and ask. Perhaps they have so many locals knocking down the doors to get in that they don’t need any more bums on seats, but it’s always nice to know what the options are, so I’ll try and collect the info for you in future.

This week anyway it’s the lovely Mellowtones. Mellow by name and mellow by sound, this group of seasoned and savvy musicians always pleases. The usual lineup is John Cox, leader/banjo/guitar; Bob Venier, trumpet; Mike Edwards, reeds; Dan Gordon, tuba and Ben Rushworth, drums.

Here’s a sample of them playing at the Matthew Flinders Hotel:

And last Sunday, March 10, 2013 John Cox and Dan Gordon (on bass this time) played together with Ian Smith at the Amora Riverwalk Hotel, Bridge Road, Richmond. For fun they did Marty Robbins’ 1950s rock and roll hit, “A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation)”. If you remember that you’re almost as old as I am.

Margie Lou Dyer Trio @ Claypots, St Kilda

Margie Lou Dyer and Allan Browne

HERE’S a gig I missed for the St Patricks Day listing, (Sunday March 17) and on Sundays thereafter.

The Margie Lou Dyer Trio plays at Claypots, 215 Barkly Street. St Kilda on Sunday nights at 9.00pm. Phone: 9534 1282.

The Trio consists of Margie Lou, piano and vocals; Allan Browne, drums; and Cam Robbins, clarinet. (I believe that Cam maybe overseas at the moment and that Julien Wilson could be depping for him.)

For an idea of the Claypots ambience, here the Trio gives “On The Sunny Side of the Street” a working over, with a famous sit in, US tenor saxophonist/teacher George Garzone duelling with Cam Robbins on clarinet. Wonderful stuff!

Can’t guarantee this level of programming every Sunday night, but the raw excitement and the virtuosity are always there.

Australian Jazz Real Book: a reality

Tim Nikolsky

IN January 2013 I foreshadowed the imminent publication of the first “Australian Jazz Real Book”, a collection of lead sheets or charts of Australian jazz compositions which was in the final stages of preparation by its maker, guitarist Tim Nikolsky.

Well here’s Tim with THE BOOK.

The 450+ tunes which are included are categorised into 17 styles, with the number in each category shown in brackets:
Swing (154), Straight (119), Ballad (48), Latin (43), Traditional (19), Funk (19) Rubato (10) Blues (10) Fusion (9) Bossa Nova (7) Shuffle (5) Rock (4) Afro-Cuban (3), Bebop (3), Country (2), Free (1) and Choro (1).

The lead sheets contain the melody in regular musical notation, chords and, where they exist, lyrics. There are also some more involved transcriptions where appropriate, and a few full score reductions where each instrumental part is important, and harmony parts and voicings are included.

The Book is available in hardcopy form with cover, pages and all that jazz for those who prefer the permanence and tangibility of a traditional book. It is also available in digitised form accessible online via laptop, iPad etc. You can find out details of prices from Tim’s very fine website, http://australianjazzrealbook.com

Tim says that the aim of the website is to provide online access to “the definitive collection of Australian jazz tunes from Australian composers”, not only for working musicians to select Australian tunes to add to their repertoires but also to make it easier for jazz educators to incorporate Australian jazz compositions into their curricula. It will also be a resource to which students can turn for uniquely Australian tunes that are ‘gig-ready’.

For more background, see Tim and jazz pianist Bob Sedergreen interviewed by Waleed Aly on Radio National program, “The Drawing Room”. Tim talks about the genesis of The Book, and reasons for his choice of tunes. To demonstrate the effectiveness of The Book, Waleed on guitar joins the two professional musicians to play a Sedergreen composition, “Intersection”.

Even if you’re not in the market for a Real Book, the Australian Jazz Real Book Wesbsite is a mine of information, and is very well worth being bookmarked by the serious jazz follower. It lists the tunes in the Book by composer, title and category – in itself a useful resource. For many of the composers there is quite an extensive profile, with images, references to other websites and to YouTube performances of the song or the composer. There are even links to more information about the history and availability of other real books.

For example, here is the profile on the late Brian Brown, OAM who died on 28 January 2013. One of the references in his profile is to a wonderful film on modern jazz in Melbourne in the 1950s at Jazz Centre 44 in St Kilda. Click on the image below to see it.

This project has been a massive undertaking for Tim Nikolsky which has produced a very valuable addition to the fund of knowledge about Australian jazz compositions and their composrs. Well done, Tim!

March 17th: a great day for jazz as well as for the Irish

MARCH 17th is celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day around the Christian world, and with special fervour wherever the Irish gather to recognise their patron saint. As the legend goes, St Patrick used the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity, hence its frequent appearance as a symbol of the day.

Well this St Patrick’s Day there’s a slew of jazz to be enjoyed in Melbourne and surrounds.

DAVID GARDNER SWING TRIO, featuring Goodman, Shaw and other swing classics. The Trio comprises David Gardner, clarinet; John Shawcross, piano; and Zac Barter, string bass.

Presented by Jazz Australia at Villa Alba, Walmer Street, Kew, this is a fundraiser to help with the restoration of this extraordinary Victorian-era mansion.

All proceeds will go to the fund. Tickets $50 per head which includes chicken and champagne during the interval. Bookings: Diana Allen, 5258 3936. 4.00pm – t.30pm.

CHARITY ALL STAR JAZZ CONCERT in aid of the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Moe RSL, 63 Albert Street, Moe. 1.30-5.00pm. $20 per ticket. Bookings: 5127 3669 or 5127 2471.

Two great bands:
Kay Younger and The Rhythm Kings
Kay Younger, vocals
Frank Stewart, reeds
Graeme Davies, reeds
Lea Treanor, banjo
Peter Grey,bass
John Kent, drums

Paul Ingle

Alan Clark’s Swing Combo
Paul Ingle, trombone
Dave Drummond, cornet
Ian Christensen, reeds
Alex Wilson, bass
Alan Clark, piano
Bill Lawler, drums

 

 

TUBA SKINNY
The superb young New Orleans street band, Tuba Skinny will be at The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Forecourt, Melbourne CBD at 9pm. With the amazing Erika Lewis on vocals, this band has grown from being simply a New Orleans street band, to a world phenomenon with an international following. They play and sing the old blues and traditional jazz classics from the 1920s and 30s, and play them darned well. Take this chance to see them live in our own back yard. Bookings: online or 1300 182 183.

THE SHUFFLE CLUB: the little band with the big band sound, will be at the Rosstown Hotel, corner of Koornang and Dandenong Roads, Carnegie from 1pm to 4pm. Lunch served from 12 noon. There will be the usual lineup of Ash Gaudion, Dannie Bourne and Paul Griska, with a possible replacement for Rod Gilbert who may not yet be up to playing after a bicycle accident. Bookings essential if you want to have views of the band. 9571 1033.

Ross Anderson

THE NEW MELBOURNE JAZZ BAND will be at the Dingley Hotel, 334 Boundary Road, Dingley from 1pm-4pm. Bookings. 9551 8344. Ross Anderson put together the New Melbourne Jazz Band in 1981 for a one-night stand at the Limerick Arms Hotel. Now more than 30 years later the band is still a very popular feature of the local jazz scene.
And although there have obviously been personnel changes over that time, the Anderson formula of choosing only top quality musicians, keeping the band sound which carried the NMJB through 15 highly successful overseas tours and myriad local festivals, and putting entertaining the audience first on the agenda, has ensured the continued popularity of this veteran band. Incidentally, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen were amongst the many overseas bands with which the New Melbourne has played, and both leaders had a similar attitude to connecting with the crowd.

THE SYNCOPATORS
The lucky people of Ballarat will have the chance to hear one of Australia’s best credentialled bands – The Syncopators – at the Ballarat Jazz Club’s very fine venue, the Ballarat Golf Club, 1800 Sturt Street, Ballarat from 1.30-4.30pm. The Sycopators will be leaving shortly on one of their regular overseas tours, so this is a good chance to hear them before they disappear for a few months. Meals are available from 12 noon. Bookings: Marie on 0439 700 219

MOONEE VALLEY JAZZ BAND
The Geelong RSL at 50 Barwon Heads Road, Belmont has a weekly jazz gig from 5.30-8.30, one of the few remaining venues which has a variety of bands playing each week. This week’s jazz will be provided by John Morrison and his Moonee Valley Jazz Band: a guaranteed program of hot music and great entertainment. Bookings: 5241 1766

LAZY BONES, Don Jordan’s trombone band has been on the Melbourne jazz scene since the mid 1980s. They have delighted audiences with their unique instrumentation (which includes 4 trombones) and their extensive repertoire of well-known and less familiar tunes. They will be at the Phillip Island Jazz Club at the Ramada Resort, 2128 Phillip Island Road, Cowes from 2pm – 5pm. Bookings: 5952 6800. Click here to get a taste of this unusual band at work.

And then there are the regular residencies:
Riverwalk Trio, Amora Riverwalk Hotel, 649 Bridge Rd, Richmond. 12.30-3.30. 9246 1200
The Louisiana Shakers, Clyde Hotel, Elgin and Cardigan Streets, Carlton. 1.00-4.00 pm.
Johnnsy’s Bakery Boys, Red Hill Bakery, Balnarring 1-4pm. (various, but Johnny Adams, Roman Syrek, Denis Ball, Leon Heale and Ron Sandilands are frequent members) Bookings. 5931 3125
Tommy Carter Family Band at Baxter Tavern, 117 Baxter/Tooradin Road, Baxter. 5971 2007. 12-3.30pm

BUT Stevenson’s Rockets will NOT be at The Emerald because of the Grand Prix.

Kenny Ball dies at 82: RIP

THE jazz legend, Kenny Ball, died in the Basildon Hospital, Essex on 7 March 2013 from pneumonia. He was 82 years old having been born on 22 May 1930.

His band – Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen – (formed in 1958) was at the forefront of the early 1960s UK jazz revival. Its popularity was enormous with early hits “Samantha” and “Midnight in Moscow”, the latter reaching Number 2 on both the US and UK charts and selling over one million copies.

In the 1970s Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen were regulars on The Morecambe and Wise Show. Here’s a selection of jazz standards played by the band on this show, with Andy Cooper on clarinet and vocals and John Bennett on trombone.

Some jazz critics have marked Kenny Ball down as “being too showbiz” but noone who has listened carefully to Ball’s playing can doubt his jazz credentials. His range, bright tone and vigorous attack showed him as a powerhouse trumpet player. And if longevity is a measure of quality, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen must get top marks. The band was still playing after 55 years. Son Keith Ball has been fronting the band while his father was ill, so we may see another Diamond Jubilee.

Several generations of fans have been delighted by his exuberant and swinging style, both on recording and in live performance. With Barber and Bilk he epitomised the “clean” British style of jazz. We mourn his passing.

For further information read Kenny Ball’s obituary in The Guardian

Jazz Workshops for under 25s: it’s that time again

Workshop students public appearance

IT hardly seems possible that a year has gone by since I was announcing the next Jazz Workshops for Under 25 year olds – but Marina Pollard, the Workshop Co-ordinator, assures me that it is true.

The 2013 series begins on Saturday 16 March and ends on Saturday 16 June, with 30 March off for the Easter holidays. Classes are held at the Victorian Jazz Archive, 15 Mountain Highway, Wantirna. (Melway Reference 63 C8) and run from 1pm to 4pm. Total cost for the course is just $75, which includes a Student Membership of the Victorian Jazz Archive.

The workshops are open to musicians under the age of 25. To participate they must already have some proficiency on their instruments, and most importantly, be keen to learn how to play jazz. Workshop tutors are all experienced jazz musicians wishing to share their passion for the music which is an important part of their lives. All music and charts are provided. Just bring your instruments. If you’re a budding drummer, ask about the Workshop’s drum kit which may be available for your use.

Here are some of the Class of 2012 with drum master, Brian Abrahams. Most of them are members of the Workshop Band, Running Wild, which has given a number of public performances.

2012 Workshop Participants

For further information or to book a place in this year’s Workshop, phone Marina Pollard, Workshop Coordinator, on 9791 4972 or email info@vicjazzarchive.org.au.