Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Sobriety Five play Daytime Jazz

Peter Grey, Doug Rawson, Tony Orr, Derek Reynolds and Nick Polites

HERE’S a group of some of Australia’s finest musos who get together on a regular basis at Doug Rawson’s home to play whatever pleases them. Occasionally they take to the dais for a public performance, but that’s not really their main aim, which is more for the delight of playing with friends who have shared a lifetime of music-making.

For those infrequent occasions when they do play publicly, they needed a band name. I don’t know who had the bright idea of The Sobriety Five, but it’s a play on the name of Doug Rawson’s other band – Foster’s Foaming Five (a reference to the famous Australian beer, Foster’s Lager, for those who aren’t aux fait with our local jargon).

On Wednesday 7 August they will make one of their rare public appearances as partof the Victorian Jazz Club’s Midweek Daytime Jazz program. The venue is the VJC’s usual home – Clayton RSL at 163 Carinish Road, Clayton – and music starts at 11.00am and continues to 2.30pm with a brief break for lunch. Entry is a meagre $10, meals are available from the bistro, the dance floor is more than adequate, parking extensive, public transport is nearby and frequent, and the music will be intoxicating I’m told. What more could you want.

Nick Polites will be winging his way to the Greek isles for his annual dose of Mediterranean sunshine, and Mike Edwards will be depping for him.  Also there is to be a special surprise guest to add to the excitement. I don’t know who it is, but I’m having a guess which I’ve put in a sealed envelope in my bottom drawer. We’ll see if I’m right.

Bookings are essential on 9553 3850. To book for the Bistro – 9544 1035.

By the way, this is a very busy week for the Victorian Jazz Club: Saturday 3 August: The Pearly Shells; Wednesday 7 August: Midweek Daytime Jazz with The Sobriety Five; Saturday 10 August: Dixie Heroes with special guests Lindsay Meech and Paul Furniss; Sunday 11 August: Tribute to Louis Armstrong at the Bentleigh Club with The Syncopators and special guest John Hawes. Fantastic, but how does that volunteer committee manage!!

Aurora Nealand on sop sax in NOLA

Aurora Nealand

AT the Amora Riverwalk Hotel today we were talking with John and Paula Cox who have just come back from a trip to the US.    New Orleans was on the itinerary, and amongst the jazz they listened to whilst there, outstanding was the young soprano saxophonist, Aurora Nealand .  (She also plays clarinet and piano accordion, and leads her own band – The Royal Roses.)

The Cox’s caught up with her at The Spotted Cat on Frenchmens Street,  but here she plays and sings “Comes Love” with Tom McDermott on piano at Buffa’s, 1001 Esplanade Avenue.

Nealand grew up in the 1980s in the California town of Half Moon Bay, listening to her parents’ jazz recordings, including those of Sidney Bechet. The youngest of five, Aurora had no music lessons until high school, “but we always had a few instruments to bang on. Piano was my first instrument. Then I played flute and oboe. It was a small town – only one marching band. My brother played guitar in a rock band. I hung around him a lot.”

As the folk singer Spencer Bohren, with whom she has performed, says: “The soprano sax is difficult for many people to listen to because it tends not to be warm and inviting.   Aurora makes one powerless to resist hearing it.  She’s such a hot player, when you add her to a band it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire. Moreover, she’s humble, which I love. She has no idea how good she is. She’s filled with a certain grace that a lot of musicians don’t have.”

She moved to New Orleans in 2006 after graduation and spending  a year in Paris.  She plays with the Panorama Jazz Band, often sits in with Bohre, and is a fixture at the Blue Nile Tuesday night experimental musicians’ jam, whose ranks include Jeff Albert, Helen Gillet, Simon Lott and Justin Peate.

In 2010 she issued a 16 track CD recorded live at Preservation Hall,  “A Tribute to Sidney Bechet Live in New Orleans”.

Here Nealand and The Royal Roses play “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” at an unidentified bar in New Orleans.

Visit Aurora’s website for more information about this outstanding young jazz artist.

Postscript: On a more sombre note, while John and Paula were enjoying the music, four blocks away a Mother’s Day second line march was the target of a shooting attack, said to be a gang related, with 19 people injured.

Ships that pass in the night: The Syncopators in, Shuffle Club out

The Shuffle Club

WELL,they’re not exactly ships, and strictly not passing in the night, but The Syncopators (including of course trumpeter Peter Gaudion) have just returned from their latest very successful European tour, while The Shuffle Club (with front man Ash Gaudion on saxophone) are preparing to leave for a stint at the Edinburgh Festival playing in the Famous Spiegeltent.

One of the last chances to hear The Shuffle Club before they head off will be at Transit Lounge,  Level 2 of Transport Hotel, Federation Square, Melbourne.  Saturday 27th at 10pm.  9654 8808

The Syncopators

And The Syncopators will be the featured band at the Victorian Jazz Club’s tribute to the great Satchmo on Sunday 11 August from 6.00pm – 9.00pm at the Bentleigh Club, Yawla Street, Bentleigh. Special guest trumpeter/vocalist will be John Hawes,  so there’ll be double the excitement when these two extroverted and powerful players – Gaudion and Hawes – get together.   Peter Baylor on guitar/banjo, Andy Swann on drums and Joe Ruberto on piano will join Chris Ludowyk on trombone, and Richard Miller on clarinet to complete this superb lineup. Tickets are $45 for VJC members, $50 for non members which will include a two course meal.  Call  9553 3850 for tickets.

Looking back into our Jazz History, The John Hawes Jazz Band together with The Red Onions and The Yarra Yarra Jazz Band were the top three Melbourne jazz bands during the 1960s. Some will still remember Saturday nights at the Salvation Army hall in Moonee Ponds – Jazz Junction – with the John Hawes Jazz Band.

Tom McEwan, Geoff Orr and Graeme Davies have put together a 2 CD set of all the Hawes Band’s recorded output, including some previously unpublished studio sessions. The set – “The John Hawes Jazz Band: The Lost Tapes” – is available from Graeme Davies, 0418 587 687

On a sample track from this great collection, the band plays “Ain’t Misbehavin’ recorded in 1964. The lineup: John Hawes, cornet/vocal/tambourine; Ray Rickerby, clarinet; Graeme Davies, trombone/harmonica; Des Bader, banjo; Hamish Hughes, string bass; Dave McCallum, drums. Just click on the picture below to hear it.

Major Milestones for Margret RoadKnight this weekend

Margret RoadKnight celebrates her 70th birthday this year and the 50th anniversary of her first professional performance.

Barry Wratten on clarinet and David Allardice on piano will help her celebrate these two milestone events on Sunday 21 July 2013 at Bennett’s Lane, 25 Bennetts Lane, CBD.   2.30pm   Bookings online or by phone 9663 2856

Jazz Workshops for over 25s

THE Jazz Workshops for musicians over 25 which are run annually at the Victorian Jazz Archive by Marina Pollard got off the mark this year on Saturday 6 July and will run until Saturday 21 September.

Although we have missed the first two sessions, there are 10 more in the course, so if you are interested but didn’t get around to registering earlier, I am sure that a phone call (9781 4972) or an email to Marina will find  you a place.

Sessions run from 1pm to 4pm on Saturday afternoons, plus there are group practice sessions and an end-of-year breakup presentation.

The charge is $220 which includes one year’s membership of the Jazz Archive with access to all its facilities. Two principal tutors are engaged at professional rates, and several other musicians donate their time and enthusiasm for specific sessions.

Prerequisites are to have some proficiency on your chosen instrument, able to play scales and arpeggios, and a desire to learn more about how jazz is played!

I am always amazed at the variety of people who have an interest in jazz, and these workshops bring together this sort of mix – people from many different backgrounds but with a shared wish to understand more about the music through listening and through playing.

Charlton’s Rex Theatre: Art Deco Treasure in Victoria’s northwest

NEVER underestimate the power of community when roused by a cause close to the heart, and led by committed and persistent advocates.  The evidence of this power can be seen in the High Street of Charlton in northwest Victoria where stands the beautifully restored art deco Rex Theatre.

Opened on October 15 1938. the Rex has had many ups and downs over the years, and been rescued from dereliction and demolition more than once by dedicated movie fans.   In  its latest chapter, community fund raising on an heroic scale and a state government grant have brought the theatre back to its former glory…. and more so.  Read its extraordinary story at http://www.rextheatre.org.au/‎

Fully run and operated by volunteers from Charlton and surrounding districts, the Rex presents movies (including the latest releases) and live performances on a regular basis.

A special event on the Rex calendar this year is a weekend of JAZZ – over Saturday and Sunday 20 and 21 July. Click on the poster below for full details of costs, program and bookings.

Well known band on the club/festival circuit – THE HOT B’HINES – (led by David Hines) will be performing on Sunday afternoon from 1.30pm. Here the band plays “Dinah” at last year’s Barham Festival. (Ken Collins on Trumpet, Barry Currie on Reeds, Herb Jennings on Trombone, David Hines on Banjo, John Huf on Sousaphone and Wally Joosen on Drums).

So if you fancy a weekend away from the rat race and a taste of country hospitality, not to mention some entertaining jazz, Charlton might be the place for you. I’m sure the people at the Rex will be delighted to advise on accommodation and other points of local interest. Phone: 03 5491 2333 or email Jenny Pollard.

Max Collie: his long and brilliant career

TWO Saturdays ago I was listening to John Smythe presenting the Victorian Jazz Club’s fine radio program, Jazz on a Saturday and was delighted to hear a track from Max Collie’s Rhythm Aces recorded at the Trafalgar Hotel, Chelsea (London that is) sometime around 1973.

So it was especially poignant to have news a few days later from Ron Knight in WA, and Diana Allen that Max has had a serious stroke and is in a very poor state requiring 24 hour care.

You can find out more details from the following website which is organising to sell the remaining stock of Collie CDs and DVDs as one way of helping to support Max and his family.
Appeal for Max Collie

Although Max has lived and worked overseas since 1962, he will be remembered by those of an age to have played with him or listened to him during his early jazz days in Melbourne where he was born on 21 February 1931.   He led the Jazz Bandits (1948-1950) and the Jazz Kings (1950-1962) which included some well known names in the Australian jazz firmament as you can see from the illustration below from The Oxford Companion to Australian Jazz by Bruce Johnson.

Max Collie’s Jazz Kings 1958
Graham Coyle, Lou Silbereisen, Roger Bell, Stewie Speer, Pixie Roberts, Max Collie

He had planned to take his band overseas in 1962 but arrangements fell through at the last minute. Providentially the Nick Polites’ Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band which was touring England and other places was losing its trombone player Kevin Shannon who was returning to Australia, so Max accepted the invitation to take his place. He arrived England in April 1962.

When the Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band left England in 1964, Max stayed behind, becoming a member of the London City Stompers. In 1966, he became the group’s leader and they were renamed Rhythm Aces. For the next 46 years the Max Collie Rhythm Aces have played all over the world, made many recordings and developed a following spanning almost as many decades as they have.

Here’s a sample of them playing in 1973. Swinging London has certainly changed their “look” since the days of the Jazz Kings in staid Melbourne!

In 1975 they won the first World Championship of Jazz in the US. Here’s a video: the camera work is shocking, but audio is OK.

Obviously over the years the personnel has changed, but the jazz style hasn’t. Here’s a video of the band playing at the Mülheim Jazz Club, Germany in February 2010. That’s Baby Jools on drums.

“Goin’ Home” with the Louisiana Shakers

LAST Sunday (30 June 2013) we went to the Clyde Hotel in Carlton with some friends who had never been there before, nor heard the Louisiana Shakers. Now they have, on both counts, and very pleased they were too. It was pretty sparsely populated as many of the faithful were away at the Barham Jazz Festival.

The band played many great tunes, but one we particularly liked was “Goin’ Home” which Ken Colyer composed in the 1950s. Here’s The Shakers’ version, with Doug Holbury doing the vocals in a style reminiscent of the late lamented Charlie Powell.

And here is a recording of “Goin’ Home” by Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen from 1953. With Ken on trumpet are Monty Sunshine clarinet, Chris Barber on trombone, Lonnie Donegan banjo, Jim Bray string bass and at the drums Ron Bowden.
The video clip features photos of famous jazz faces and sites in Colyer’s beloved New Orleans.

Originally I hd thought that the theme of this lovely tune was taken from “Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Largo movement” by the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, but Dave Hetherington put me straight on this! Thanks Dave.

The Dvorak symphony WAS used as the basis of the gospel song also called “Goin’ Home” or “Going Home”. Here the incomparable Paul Robeson sings it.

And to close, here Chris Barber plays and sings Colyer’s “Goin’ Home” in Gouda, Netherlands in April 2013.
Chris Barber – trombone, vocals
Mike “Magic” Henri – trumpet
Bert Brandsma – clarinet
Gregor Beck – drums
Joe Farler – banjo
Jackie Flavelle – bass