Monthly Archives: June 2013

Conversation with Don Burrows

Don Burrows

LOOKING through Radio National’s weekly Music Newsletter yesterday I noticed in their Rare Collections segment an interview with legendary jazz musician, Don Burrows.

This will be broadcast on Sunday 30 June at 9.30pm at 621 AM on your wireless in Victoria, or via whatever other gadget/device you prefer. Of course if you miss it at that time, you can always go to the webpage and listen on demand.

Don Burrows: jazz legend
When it comes to legends like jazz musician Don Burrows then there are always going to be plenty of great stories to hear. David and Jordie Kilby sat down with him recently to talk about some of their favourite Burrows L.Ps but in the end it was the stories of the early days of jazz in Australia and his overseas travels that really fascinated them.

To receive your own emailed copy of Radio National’s weekly music program newsletter, go to this URL and subscribe:

Ultrafox @ The Boite World Music Cafe, Box Hill Community Arts Centre

ON Friday July 12, (two days before Bastille Day), the Boite World Music Cafe  at the Box Hill Community Arts Centre, 470 Station Street, Box Hill will present a band with a truly gallic flavour:  Peter Baylor’s enchanting gypsy swing ensemble,  Ultrafox.

In the style and tradition of Django Reinhardt and the Quintette du Hot Club de France, Ultrafox brings a group  of fine Melbourne Jazz musicians to this  concert of Parisian Gypsy Jazz of the 20s and 30s.  Elegant swing, tender jazz ballads, gypsy waltzes and hot rhythms make up their repertoire.   The lead and rhythm guitars of Peter Baylor and Jon Delaney, and the double bass  of Kain Borlase are complemented by the golden voice of Julie O’Hara and Michael McQuaid’s  lyrical clarinet and tenor sax.

Box Hill Community Arts Centre
470 Station Street, Box Hill .  8.00 pm
Entry $20; $15, concession; $10 under 25; Enquiries, Bookings: 9417 1983

From 7.30 onwards drinks and nibbles are available in the foyer.  Best to get there early as there are no reserved seats and all programs at the Centre have a loyal local following.

The World Music Cafe is one of the arms of The Boite, (pronounced bwat I’m reliably advised) an organisation founded in 1979 to present music from many cultures, and with the slogan ” Music for a better world” .The Box Hill Community Arts Centre is one of four Boite venues in Melbourne which present local, interstate and overseas artists in intimate, acoustic, audience friendly concerts from March to November.

Another music programme which operates from the Box Hill Community Arts Centre is The Surrey Music Cafe which plays on the last Friday of each month, whilst The Boite World Music Cafe holds its concerts on the second Friday.

You can keep up to date on all these programmes by visiting the website–Surrey-Music-Cafe.html

Footnote: Boite: French for box,. slang for nightclub.

Shake It, One More Time…with The Louisiana Shakers

MELBOURNE is doing its best to depress this afternoon, but I’ve been cocooned from the chill  by the music of one of my favourite bands – The Louisiana Shakers – and their most recent CD Shake It, One More Time….

Recorded in March 2011 and released without fanfare in 2012, the album contains 12 tracks reflecting the musical mix  which makes up the New Orleans repertoire – marches, rags, blues, spirituals, pop songs and borrowed melodies and riffs.

The personnel on this disc are the regulars of the last few years: Nick Polites  on clarinet, Derek Reynolds on trumpet, Ashley Keating (leader) on banjo, Nathaniel Garbutt on string bass,  and Kevin Bolton on drums.  But what makes this CD so very special is that the “charismatic and endearing” Charlie Powell (Ashley Keating’s words with which I agree)  plays trombone and sings  for the last time on a Shakers recording.  Charlie died in August 2012 at the age of 86.

Charlie Powell

Marches are represented by Salutation March composed by Roland Seitz (the “Parade Music Prince”), and Moose March (1910). The Shakers’ version of the latter is reminiscent of the Bunk Johnson /George Lewis 1942 recording with Nick Polites weaving around the trumpet and the trombone in true Lewis style.

There are a number of popular songs, (several with a western flavour), which suit the band’s more lyrical mood :
Carolina Moon, (a 1928 favourite of American crooner Gene Austin)
Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day.  (Bing Crosby crooned this in 1931)
Roll Along Prairie Moon (Roy Rogers). Charlie Powell sings on this track.
Moonlight and Roses (composed in 1888 by Edwin Lemare as Andantino in D Flat. With words added without permission in 1921 it became the popular song we know today)
Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider (1903).

It wouldn’t be a Shakers’ recording without some blues, and here we have three:
La Harpe Street Blues which is one of those “borrowed” tunes :  it  clearly doubles as  the gospel song If We Ever Needed the Lord Before (We Sure Do Need Him Now).

Franklin  Street Blues which is sometimes attributed to Bunk Johnson but a descendant of the real composers states “it was written jointly by Louis Dumaine and Eddie Jackson, my grandfather… They recorded it in 1927, 20 years or so before Johnson recorded his version.” This track has some lovely low register work by NickPolites on clarinet and a bass interlude by Nat Garbutt where he plucks a string and lets it slap back onto the fingerboard making a very percussive sound.

Yellow Dog Blues, composed by W. C. Handy in 1914 is a response to I Wonder Where My Easy Rider’s Gone  (Shelton Brooks 1913). Yellow Dog being the Mississippi railroad, the Yazoo Delta. Words and melody from both songs show up during the 1920s and 30s in such songs as E. Z. Rider  See See Rider,  C. C. Rider, and Easy Rider Blues.

 Joe Avery’s Piece, is clearly the popular Mardi Gras tune Second Line, but is also a dead ringer for Rock Around the Clock.   Click on the title above to hear this rollicking track from the CD with Charlie Powell doing the vocals in his immediately recognisable style.

And finally a full blooded version of Just a Little While to Stay Here again with Charlie on vocals.

This is a CD which I know I will replay over and over for many reasons – for the clarity and balance of the recording which allows you to hear each individual instrument whilst enjoying the complexity of the ensemble, Charlie’s gruff, growly trombone and inimitable vocals, Nick’s floating and stylish clarinet which improves with the years, Derek Reynold’s melodic trumpet, and a rhythm section which provides the perfect accompaniment with the occasional solo to shake their tail feathers.

A reviewer of one of the band’s earlier CD’s called it “Great jazz with mud on its boots, bruises on its knuckles and a flair for capturing the feel of the real thing”. I’m not sure that this album is as gritty as all that, but it’s one to savour and enjoy if you like New Orleans style jazz – and if you’re not a fan already, prepare to be converted.

The CD is available from Ashley Keating by email: or Nick Polites by phone: (03) 9499 2594. Or better still, come and join the Louisiana Shakers at their regular Sunday afternoon gig at the Clyde Hotel, corner Cardigan and Elgin Streets, Carlton. Doors open at 12 noon, music is from 2pm – 5pm. There’s no cover charge, and booking isn’t necessary – just wander along, have a meal or a drink, listen to some great jazz, and buy a lovely CD or two.

Here the Shakers play one of the numbers from the CD a few Sundays ago- Les Fithall is filling the trombone chair on this occasion.

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Jazz Musicians recognised in Queen’s Birthday honours: Browne and Zappner, OAMs

THE Queen’s Birthday Honours List released on Monday 10 June 2013 included two jazz musicians in the list of recipients of the Medal of the Order of Australia, recognising their very significant contribution to jazz music.

Our congratulations for this very well-deserved honour to Allan Browne, OAM  and Viktor Zappner, OAM

The following biographical notes  on Allan and Viktor have been copied from the Office of the Governor General’s website:


Mr Allan Vincent BROWNE, Malvern Vic 3144
For service to music as a jazz musician, and to the community.

Chairman, Melbourne Jazz Co-op, 1990s-2001 and since 2007.
Chair, National Jazz Writing Competition, 2000 and 2011; Judge, 2005-2007.
Co-Leader, Stonnington Youth Jazz Initiative, since 2005.
Judge, National Jazz Awards, Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, on 3 occasions including 2011.
Patron, Stonnington Jazz, since 2008.
Member, Music Committee, Australia Council for the Arts, for 3 years.
Chairman, National Jazz Coordination Committee (now defunct), for 5 years; Victorian State Representative.
Artist in Residence, Elder Conservatorium of Music, 2011.
Music Teacher, Geelong Grammar School, 2004-2008.
Current Lecturer, Jazz History and Appreciation, Victorian College of the Arts, and the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE.
Awards/recognition include:
Four Australian ‘Jazz Bell’ Awards.
Five times shortlisted, ARIA Awards.
Don Banks Fellowship, Australia Council for the Arts, 2001.

Dr Viktor ZAPPNER, Burnie Tas 7320
For service to the arts through the introduction and promotion of jazz in north west Tasmania.

Jazz Pianist of note since his arrival in Australia from Czechoslovakia in 1979, where he had
enjoyed a successful career as a professional musician, performing several genres of music in Europe, North America and South America.
Musical Director, Devonport Jazz Festival, since 2002; the Festival won the Cradle Coast Regional Tourism Award, 2012, and 2 awards at the CGU North West Business and Industry Awards, 2010.
Founder and President, North West Jazz Action Society, 1983-2011; Life Member; organised many concerts and jazz events in north west Tasmania; used his connections and overseas friendships to organise visits from top national and international jazz bands and artists; often persuaded visiting artists to hold jazz workshops for local developing musicians.
Tasmanian Representative, National Jazz Development Committee, 1997-2001.
Burnie Arts Council Member, for nearly 20 years, ongoing.
Mentor to other jazz musicians.

New Melbourne Jazz Band still going strong!

ROSS Anderson’s New Melbourne Jazz Band needs no introduction to Australian jazz fans, nor to many overseas fans who will have enjoyed the various incarnations of the band during its many tours.

Hans Koert from the Netherlands did a fine background article on Ross and the New Melbourne on his blog, “Keep (it) Swinging”.   You can read it here.

Ross got his band together in 1981 for a one night stand at the Limerick Arms Hotel in South Melbourne. Here  we are 32 years later and the NMJB is  still very much part of the scene with regular residencies throughout the Eastern suburbs – Maroondah, Ringwood, Ferntree Gully, Clayton, and frequent gigs at jazz clubs, special concerts and other venues.

For example in June the New Melbourne gig guide looks like this:

Wednesday 5th 6.00pm – 9.00pm Maroondah Sports Club, cnr Dublin & Mt Dandenong Roads, Ringwood East. 9879 2922.
Sunday 9th 1.00 pm – 4.00 pm Royal Hotel , 1208 Burwood Highway, Upper Ferntree Gully.   9758 2755
Saturday 15th 8.00pm – 11.00pm Werribee Jazz Club, Werribee RSL Bowling Club, Chirnside Park, Watton Street, Werribee. 9974 2918  or  9687 4762.
Sunday 16th 1.00 pm – 4.00 pm Maroondah Sports Club, cnr Dublin & Mt Dandenong Roads, Ringwood East, 9879 2922.
Sunday 23rd 1.00 pm – 4.00 pm Monash Hotel, 2077 Dandenong Road, Clayton.  9544 8011

To keep up to date on New Melbourne appearances, you can visit their website at or look under Coming Gigs here on Jazz Ramble.

New Melbourne Jazz Band
(photo: Ron Jobe)


Bill Hare: farewell to a passionate jazz “second liner”

PROFESSOR William Samuel Calhoun Hare, AO MD MBBS DDR FRCR FRANZCR FRACP DDU, died in his 90th year on 31 May 2013.

In his professional field of medicine Professor Hare was a recognised world expert and innovator, acknowledged by the award in 1990 of Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to medicine, particularly in the field of radiology, and by the tributes of his many colleagues and students.

But to those in the jazz world, Bill Hare was first and foremost a knowlegdable and enthusiastic lover of the music, whose smiling presence graced many a gig. He was a regular visitor at the Amora Riverwalk Hotel in Richmond where we saw him only a couple of months ago. Ian Smith, leader of the Riverwalk Trio, was asked to play one of Bill’s favourite tunes at the private family Service held at St Stephens Anglican Church, Gardenvale on Thursday 6 June. Last Sunday – 9 June – Ian and his group played the same tune “Marcheta” as a tribute to Bill Hare, a valued “second liner” who will be much missed. With Ian are Dan Gordon on bass and Andy Baylor on guitar.

A Celebration of Bill’s life will be held at Trinity College, University of Melbourne, Parkville at 3.00 pm on Friday June 14, to which all are welcome.

The following is taken from a tribute to the life and work of Bill Hare published in the Melbourne Age:

The Department of Radiology, Melbourne Medical School, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, the University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), are deeply saddened by the passing of their dear friend and father figure Professor Emeritus William (Bill) Samuel Calhoun Hare.

As Director of the RMH Department of Radiology (1958-1988) Professor Hare recognised the need for strong academic leadership in radiology and was instrumental in the creation of the University Department of Radiology and the Edgar Rouse Chair of Radiology, the first radiology chair in Australia. As inaugural Chair, Professor Hare established radiology teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students, greatly elevating the standard and practice of radiology in Australia.

A world authority in interventional uroradiology he established many practices adopted since worldwide. He served the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists as President and as Councillor and was foundation President of the Asian and Oceanian Society of Radiology.

In his later years Professor Hare worked tirelessly to advance the discipline of radiology through his wise counsel and continued teaching, the creation of the Bill Hare Travelling Fellowship and in securing valuable philanthropic funds for the department.

Professor Bill Hare inspired a generation of radiologists in Australia and his deep commitment to teaching and clinical practice promoted and sustained the partnership between our two organisations. We thank him for his leadership, vision and the enduring legacy that he leaves to radiology and generations of medical practitioners.

The Frilly Knickers with “special guests”

Contact: Jaz Stutley 0419 363 623/ Email:

Cairo Club at the Astor, with Gold Diggers of 1933

The Astor, St Kilda

THIS coming Sunday – 9 June 2013 – the Astor Theatre in St Kilda will be screening “Gold Diggers of 1933”, with music by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, extravagant Busby Berkeley choreography, and starring William Powell, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Ginger Rogers.

And to make the occasion even more luxurious, Peter Milley’s Cairo Club Orchestra will play its authentic brand of 30s music as a curtain raiser to the film.

The show starts at 2.00 pm with the Cairo Club performing live on stage. This will be followed by an intermission, and then the film. Prices $24/$21 Concert and Film. Bookings:

“Gold Diggers of 1933” was one of the top grossing films of 1933.

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, it is set in Depression-era Broadway and includes spectacular Busby Berkeley musical productions including “My Forgotten Man”, “We’re in the Money”, “Pettin’ in the Park”, and “The Shadow Waltz”. “The Shadow Waltz” is sung by Powell and Keeler. It features a dance by Keeler, Rogers, and many female violinists with neon-tubed violins that glow in the dark!

The description of the Cairo Club Orchestra from their website puts it better than I could:

Peter Milley’s Cairo Club Orchestra is a Vintage Dance Orchestra comprising Ten Specialist Musicians Dedicated to the Faithful interpretation of the Hot And Sweet sounds of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. These Talented Boys have sifted through archives, braved dusty garages and traded scores with Venerable Music Collectors in Australia and around the World, to locate the best in early Jazz, Blues, Swing, Talking Picture Hits and Novelty Music. When the Original Published Music cannot be obtained Quickly, some of the guys just go ahead and Transcribe scores from original Recordings. The Band Performs on Vintage Musical instruments and use Antique Radio Microphones and sing through “Megaphones” .

Here they play a hit from 1931 – “Egyptian Ella”:

And just to remind you of where the Astor is:
Corner Chapel Street & Dandenong Road, St Kilda.

Diana Clark takes a new direction: from Brazilian Bossa Nova to “pop for grown ups”

Diana Clark and Doug De Vries

FRESH from the Stonnington Jazz Festival where she performed the Bossa Nova music of Brazil with guitarist Doug De Vries – a repertoire which has brought the duo world acclaim – Diana Clark is now taking a step in a different direction.


As Diana May Clark (her real name incidentally, but perhaps to emphasise her new persona) she is about to launch on EP her first compositions in a very different genre of music – what Diana calls “pop for grown ups”. The EP, SUNNY DAZE, contains two compositions: the title song on the A side, and TANGO NOIR on the B side.

SUNNY DAZE is described as having flavours of power pop, Beatles, psychedelia with touches of Brazil and Nina Simone. The backing band has all the right elements of the genre – electric guitar, powerful drums, Hammond and bass comprising Greg Arnold – Hammond, bass, backing vocals; Doug De Vries, electric guitar; and Al Kerr, drums. Listen here and see what you think.

The disc and a wonderful video clip will be launched on Thursday 6 June at Bella Union, Level 1, Trades Hall, Corner of Victoria & Lygon Streets
Carlton South (enter off Lygon Street). 8.00pm – 11.00pm. Bookings.
Ticket price includes a copy of the EP

The night will open and close with some 60s/70s and Brazilian tunes spun by PBSFM’s Switched On DJ, Emma Peel. Dress mid-late 60s – big hair, short skirts, bright colours. (that’s for the women)

Clip screening at 9pm will be followed by live music from Diana May Clark and the Sunny Set featuring:
Doug de Vries – vintage guitar
Greg Arnold – keyboard/ Guitar
Al Kerr – Drums
Maddie Weybury – bass
Monique Zucco – percussion & backing vocals
Diana May Clark – vocals and keyboard

Vale Geoff Bland (1928-2013): another master of the keys gone

MORE sad news. Much loved and respected jazz pianist Geoff Bland died in Hobart last Saturday at the age of 84.

I am indebted for much of this obituary to Bill Haesler who knew Geoff from 1948 and his early playing days with the Frank Johnson Fabulous Dixielanders during the band’s long Collingwood Town Hall residency in Melbourne.

In this photo Geoff plays wih the Dixielanders at Clovelly Life Saving Club in Sydney in 1949. Members of the band on that occasion were Warwick Dyer, Ken Evans, Frank Johnson, Jack Connelly, Geoff Kitchen, Bill Tope, Wes Brown, Geoffrey Bland. (From Norm Linehan’s Australian Jazz Picture Book.Child & Henry, 1980).

Geoffrey Brian Bland “Blandy” was born in Melbourne on 17 November 1928 and died in Hobart, Tasmania on 25 May 2013.
Geoff took formal piano lessons from age six and discovered jazz when twelve through his older brother. He played with his high school orchestra. He attended the first Australian Jazz Convention in 1946 at the age of 18, and when the Bell Band was preparing to go on its first overseas trip in 1947, Geoff took part in a fundraising concert at the Brunswick Town Hall run by the Eureka Youth League. With fellow pianist Rex Green, Geoff played ragtime and blues piano at this concert.

He was a founder member of Frank Johnson’s Fabulous Dixielanders (1945-53) then left jazz for a commercial career, apart from recordings and occasional freelance work with the Atlantic Trio (1968), Roger Bell, Ade Monsbourgh and Tony Newstead.

During this period he recorded with , amongst others, Ken Owen, Neville Stribling, Keith Hounslow, Ken Evans, Jack Varney, Nick Polites, Geoff Kitchen, and Lachie Thompson. In September 1948 Bill Miller recorded three tracks of Ken Owen’s Occasionals (Ken Owen, Ken Ingram, Keit Atkins, Ray Simpson, Barney Smith, Murray Bassett with Geoff (aged 20) on piano) These tracks were unissued until the Victorian Jazz Archive produced a 2CD set in 2012 of Unissued Bill Miller recordings, 1944-1951. Click on the CD cover to hear “Strictly Improvised” which features Geoff Bland on piano.

Geoff Bland playing with The Creole Bells in 1986

He returned to further study in advanced music and teaching in 1977 and worked as an education officer and a keyboard consultant (1979-82). He was founder director of the CAE Jazz Piano Studies faculty, established the Hawthorn School of Music (1978-86) and played with Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells (1984-86).

He left Melbourne in 1986 to live on the NSW north coast. In 1998 he moved to Bellerive, Hobart, where he taught music, freelanced and held a long solo residency at the Shoreline Hotel, Howah.

A section of the collection of the SPA

He was a very active member of the Sound Preservation Association of Tasmania which has its headquarters in Bellerive. The Association aims to identify, collect and preserve recorded sound, sound recording and playing equipment, literature, memorabilia and oral histories of especially Tasmanian origins. This of course includes many music recordings.

Geoff Bland was a wonderful talented pianist and a quiet gentleman, loved by all who knew him. Rest in Peace.

At the Clyde Hotel, Carlton, Vic. last Sunday, The Louisiana Shakers played this appropriate tune for Geoff.