Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Syncopators at Stonnington: 30 year celebration

FROM 15- 25 May 2014 STONNINGTON JAZZ will be in its 7th, 8th or 9th year of presenting 100% Australian jazz (depending on which publicity you read). But whatever the time frame Stonnington Jazz has become a firmly established event on the jazz calendar with its broad program ranging from established to just starting out Australian jazz performers in all varieties of the genre, and in 8 different venues in the Malvern, Prahran, South Yarra areas.

The Syncopators

The Syncopators

Amongst many headliner events this year will be an absolute ripper: The Syncopators 30th year anniversary concert on Saturday 24 May at 8.00pm at the Malvern Town Hall, 1251 High Street, Malvern, with very special guests – the great Bob Barnard on trumpet and vocalist/violinist, Fem Belling.

barnard belling

One of Australia’s best, and best-loved traditional jazz bands, The Syncopators, will present this concert exclusively for Stonnington Jazz. Original frontline players Peter Gaudion (trumpet, vocals), Richard Miller (clarinet, saxophone, vocals) and Chris Ludowyk (trombone, vocals) will be joined for this milestone celebration by Steve Grant (piano), Peter Baylor (guitar, banjo), James Clark (bass, tuba) and Rod Gilbert (drums, vocals).

The setup will be cabaret format with tables of 10, unallocated seating. Bookings can be made singly or in groups but first in – best dressed for the choicest tables. Nibbles will be provided and there is a bar facility.

Click here to buy tickets or call 03 8290 7000. $30/$22 concession.

The Syncopators have played all the major jazz festivals around Australia, made numerous tours of Europe, released over 20 albums (including a Bell Award winner) and won countless fans with their entertaining combination of traditional jazz classics, swing staples, early R&B and some in-the-idiom originals.

See a preview of The Syncopators in performance playing here in Dortmund, Germany in 2010

The rest of the two weeks Stonnington Jazz program includes many other treats which may catch your fancy. Click here for the complete program.

Juliarna Clark and the Heartjazz Statesmen

Harmony row A4 for computer
JULIARNA CLARK and friends (and what friends – see below!) have a lovely gig coming up at “Harmony Row” vineyard, 362 Pipers Creek-Pastoria Road, Pastoria East near Kyneton, on Saturday 24 May 2014.

The afternoon includes a superb lunch at 12.30pm, followed by a performance of tunes from Juliarna’s latest CD (Sugar Blues) plus a selection of other jazz gems. The band features some of Melbourne’s finest Jazz Muso’s, most of whom played on the recording itself.

Stephen Grant, trumpet
Richard Miller, clarinet
Joe Ruberto, piano
Peter Hooper, banjo
James Clark, double bass
Hugh Harvey, drums

Tickets are $55 which includes a delicious two course meal, tea/coffee.
For bookings: (03) 5423 5286 Facsimile: (03) 5423 5280 or 0400 804 855

More info & samples of the CD are available on Juliarna’s website:


Andy Baylor Reeling!!!!

baylor reel
AUSTRALIA’S original roots music maestro, Andy Baylor, is celebrating his 11th independent CD release – REEL OF JOY – at Melbourne’s well-loved Lomond Hotel, corner of Nicholson Street and Blyth Street, Brunswick East on Sunday May 11th from 5.00pm – 8.00pm

Well known for his ability to move between musical styles, Andy Baylor mixes sounds as a painter blends colours. He transforms old songs into new with the kind of feeling and authority that comes from 35 years of Australian music- making and seamlessly interweaves his own new material.

REEL OF JOY is a testament to his love of music. It is a new collection of heartfelt songs and tunes drawn from the deep well of tradition.

A joyous Cajun fiddle reel rolls easily into a classic New Orleans jukebox hit, and on further into one of Andy’s own back-roads country songs. A bittersweet soul ballad is re-cast as a fiddle-driven Cajun waltz. A Spanish love song from days gone by magically re-emerges as a Jamaican dancehall skank. Ballads, blues and country ska grooves move together in time with moody midnight waltzes. A Hank Williams hurtin’ classic sits next to an irresistible dance tune from the Kingdom of Zydeco as if there are no boundaries to musical expression…. And thus the journey continues, like life itself – the reel of joy echoes through the bar-rooms of Melbourne, Sydney and the back-of-beyond. The rhythms resound in the hills and valleys of the Australian landscape and all places in between.

For a taste, here Andy performs the title track from the CD at Tamworth earlier this year. With him are Garry Steel, Warren Earl, Michael Vidale and Ron Mahony.

For the album Andy put together a talented group of Melbourne musicians: Sam Lemann on guitars, Denis Close on percussion, Andy “hillbilly” Scott on bass, Sharkey Ramos on drums, Steve Teakle on accordion, Andy Ogburn on piano and Dale Lindrea on bass.

The music was recorded deep in the heart of Brunswick, Melbourne by Steve Fraser in a disused lingerie factory and captures a warm, live, no frills approach to playing.

Entry to Sunday’s launch is free, food is available, kids welcome.
Musical guests include Denis Close on percussion; Sharkey Ramos on drums; Andrew Scott on bass; Sam Lemann on guitars; Ed Bates on pedal steel.

For more info you can contact Andy on, Mobile: 0407 839144 or

As Andy says:

REEL OF JOY is: heartfelt music picked yesterday, direct from grower, organic, fiercely independent, free of harmful additives, not tested on animals, fair trade, has the heart foundation tick of approval, gluten and dairy free and is available only from Andy Baylor himself .
Support Australian musicians and artists.

John Montesante Quintet at the Commune in 2014

THURSDAY night is a quiet jazz night for those who prefer their jazz mainstream or modern. The stylish, horn-led JMQ continues their regular late Thursday arvo Jazz @ The Commune Cafe (corner Parliament Place and St Andrews Place, Melbourne). The music starts at 6.00 pm and features each week a different top class guest along with the quintet’s usual stellar lineup.

Bookings are recommended on 9654 5477 or email  NB. This is a ‘dinner show’ event so a minimum of $20 pp on food/beverage is required.



Special guests in the past have included: Daina Jowsey, Fem Belling, Julie O’Hara, Yvette Johansson, Ruby Page, Garth Ploog, Elly Hoyt, Peter Uppman, Rod Gilbert, Rebecca Mendoza amongst many others. To check on who will be featured on any particular Thursday, go to The Commune’s webpage.

John Montesante’s first musical passion has always been Jazz.

John Montesante

John Montesante

He came to national attention in Australia as a Jazz Musician, Composer and Arranger in his twenties, but due to the relatively small ‘scene’ at that time, needed to diversify to survive as a professional musician…doing session work, playing in various big bands, touring bands, show orchestras and TV show bands. Playing trumpet, flugel and keyboards, he founded Australia’s only Soul Supergroup, the 14 piece Grand WaZoo – in 1981. Then, he introduced his 20 piece Big Band, JM’s Café Society Orchestra, and in 1990, his modern jazz combo, John Montesante Quintet (JMQ), performing BeBop & Standards with the best players in the country. John has also been a Jazz Educator for many years,

Visit his website at to read more.

Australian Jazz Museum: new name, same focus

Australian Jazz Museum banner 1
The Victorian Jazz Archive, in the few short years since its establishment in Koomba Park, Wantirna in 1996, has become the major repository of Australian jazz research material in all its many formats, and gained a national and international reputation for its professional and proactive work in preserving, providing access to, and promoting the history of jazz in this country.

For some time the Board of Management of the Archive has been working towards a name change for the organisation which better reflects its role and objectives. So if you come across an institution called the Australian Jazz Museum, it’s not a new body, but the VJA in its new and more appropriate identity.

Terry Norman, President, explains the reasoning behind the name change on the Museum’s website.

The primary reasoning behind this change is that our current name could be misconstrued to suggest that we are only interested in Victorian Jazz. In fact our archive has always proactively collected all Australian Jazz, and is now the major institution devoted to Australian Jazz. Our collection also encompasses International Jazz. We intend to slowly make the transition to a new visual identity as resources permit.

Congratulations to all at the AJM as they move forward from the VJA!

The Best Things in Life!!!!!!

yvetteLISTENING the other day with only half an ear and half an eye to the Freevision ad on TV, it struck me that this was one commercial I wouldn’t mind hearing more than once, and that the lead was one mighty fine singer who looked familiar.

And of course it is the wonderful Yvette Johansson belting out “The Best Things in Life are Free” with Steve Purcell’s Pearly Shells – a combination which has been raising the roof with this tune long before Freevision cottoned on to them.

The first version of this commercial was recorded by the Melbourne Ska Orchestra in 2012. The Pearly Shells version was launched in September 2013.

Below you can enjoy the full Pearly version which includes a brief glimpse of Steve working over his bass.