Monthly Archives: July 2014

Changes afoot at The Rosstown

rosstown1SOME changes have been mooted for some time at that good old jazz pub The Rosstown in Carnegie. Well now they are definitely afoot, or should we say “aloft”, because Sunday afternoon jazz sessions will, from the beginning of August, move upstairs to the Function Room. One advantage will be the lack of pillars in this space – always a challenge to get a good view of the band in the Bistro!

Bookings will still be essential, but there will be no allocated seats The music will run from 2.00pm to 5.00pm – doors open at 1.30pm. Bookings 9571 1033

Entry for the jazz will be $15 per head, or $10 if you have had a meal in the downstairs bistro. Tea, coffee and other drinks may be ordered at the bar upstairs.

The bands for August will be:
3 August: to be advised
10 August: Moonee Valley Hot 5
17 August: The Syncopators
24 August: The Wombat Jazz Band
31 August: Shirazz

Another Doyen from the other side of the globe: John Defferary

Lew Green

Lew Green

YESTERDAY’S post inspired Lew Green of The Original Salty Dogs to nominate his own doyen of jazz: clarinetist John Defferary.

(Local jazz fans had the pleasure of meeting Lew and Mary Green during their whirlwind visit to Melbourne in 2011.)

To illustrate his point, Lew drew attention to the following film clip on YouTube which shows John playing with the Trans Atlantic Trio somewhere in Germany.

The Trio is made up of Jeff Green on soprano and bass saxophones (and yes, that’s Lew’s boy), John Defferary on clarinet, and Eric Webster on banjo.

John Defferary was born in London in 1941 where his father ran a pub. Defferary Sr. encouraged musicians to play there, so John was brought up with music all around. By the age of 16 he had started playing along (on the clarinet) to musicians like Fats Waller, Albert Nichols, and Kid Ory.

Barry Martyn (band leader and drummer) asked John to play clarinet in his band, as his reed man had left, and by the time he was 20. John was touring the United States. He spent a month in New Orleans and became influenced by what he heard there, playing with many well-known musicians. In Europe he became a protégé of Albert Nicholas, and they recorded an album together. Later he also took lessons from Barney Bigard whilst in the States in the 1970s.

Before joining Keith Smith’s Climax Jazz Band in 1962, (where he stayed for three years), John had played in the New Teao Brass Band and “Uncle” John Renshaw’s Band. He led his own Creole Jazz Band (1966-1967) and played in John Keen’s New Orleans Band (1968). By now John had also taken up the tenor sax, and often played with Mike Casimir’s Paragon Brass Band in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During the early 1970s he played with Barry Martyn, Pat Hawes, John Chilton, and others. He also depped with Ken Colyer.

In March 1973 he joined drummer Trevor Richards’s New Orleans Trio (the pianist was Bob Barton). The group toured internationally, and played for long periods in the United States. In January 1977 the three members were involved in a car crash while touring Poland, but were able to recommence touring a year later, and carried on for a further four years. From 1981 to 1984, Bob Barton and John co-led “Super Jazz”. They did various tours with American musicians, including Louis Nelson, Alton Purnell, and Freddy Kohlman.

In the mid-1980s John was asked to join Danish trombonist Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Band. He learned to speak Danish, and stayed for some twelve years until replacing Ian Wheeler in the Chris Barber Band in 1998. In addition to his solo and ensemble work with the Big Chris Barber Band, John was also the featured clarinettist in the re-creation of the original six-piece Chris Barber’s Jazz Band, being heard to advantage in the Monty Sunshine role on such numbers as “Precious Lord” and “Wild Cat Blues”.

John Defferary

John Defferary

Doyens of Australian jazz: the VJC honours elders of the tribe

Victorian Jazz Club LogoTHE Victorian Jazz Club will hold its inaugural “Tribute to the Doyens of Jazz” starting at 2pm on Sunday 27 July 2014 at the Clayton RSL, 163 Carinish Road, Clayton when the Club pays tribute to six venerable stars of the local jazz scene. Invitations were sent out to about 100 family and friends of the “doyens”. Now the VJC Committee is opening up the invitation to any VJC members who may wish to attend.

The title of “doyen” as defined by Websters Dictionary:

(doyen: the senior member of a body or group; a person considered to be knowledgeable or uniquely skilled as a result of long experience in some field of endeavor.)

certainly fits comfortably with this half dozen musicians who were beginning their musical careers around the time of Melbourne’s traditional jazz revival of the 1940s and 1950s – and some are still making music.

The group, which is expected to be only the first of many to be recognised in this way, comprises Wes Brown (drums); Tony Newstead (trumpet); Alf Hurst (trombone); Harry Price (trombone); Kenn Jones (reeds); and Fred Stephenson (string bass).

Wes Brown at the Maple Leaf Reunion, 2010

Wes Brown at the Maple Leaf Reunion, 2010 (photo: Ron Jobe)

Harry Price at te Maple Leaf Reunion 2010

Harry Price at the Maple Leaf Reunion 2010 (photo: Ron Jobe)

Tony Newstead and Fred Parkes, 1962

Tony Newstead and Fred Parkes, 1962. (from Norm Linehan’s Australian Jazz Picture Book)

Alf Hurst with John Murray and John Withers.  (Ron Jobe photo)

Alf Hurst with John Murray and John Withers. (photo: Ron Jobe))

Fred Stephenson with the Merry Men (photo9: Ron Jobe)

Fred Stephenson with the Merry Men (photo: Ron Jobe)

Kenn Jones with Gavin Gow 1963. (from Norm Linehan’s Picture Book of Australian Jazz)

This is a completely FREE DAY provided by the VJC. The festivities will begin at 2.00pm with a “core band” put together by Ian Smith (trumpet) with Graeme Pender (clarinet), Bruce Kemp (trombone), John Cox (banjo), Allan Stott (tuba) and Ben Rushworth on drums, with “the doyens” sitting in.

No bookings are necessary, but my guess is that there will be a mighty crowd of musician colleagues, fans, family and friends so you might want to arrive early.

This is a marvellous opportunity to show these great musicians how much we have enjoyed their jazz over the years, and to remininisce about the wild and woolly days when there was jazz in every pub! Congratulations to the Victorian Jazz Club for this initiative.

At the other end of the age and experience scale, the VJC is subsidising the Under 25 Jazz Workshop Band to attend the Australian Jazz Convention in Swan Hill in December this year.

Victorian Jazz Workshop members with Brian Abrhams, drums tutor

2012 Victorian Jazz Workshop members with Brian Abrahams, drums tutor

Ultrafox second CD : Le Bruit des Cabarets (The Noise of Bars)

ultrafxHAVING enjoyed enormously Ultrafox’s debut album (Chasing Shadows), I looked forward with great anticipation to hearing their second CD,Le Bruit des Cabarets. And I haven’t been disappointed!

On this recording the core members of this gypsy style jazz band – one of Melbourne’s busiest and most widely appreciated groups – again demonstrate the level of musicianship that comes from countless hours of playing, and of playing together.

Peter Baylor and Jon Delaney are superb on guitar, sharing the rhythm and solo roles, with Kain Borlase augmenting and driving the rhythm on string bass. They are joined by the amazing Michael McQuaid on tenor saxophone and clarinet, and the ever-eloquent Julie O’Hara on vocals. And as an added bonus, visiting French violinist, Gerard Vandenbroucque brings his elegant and joyous playing to the ensemble. Vandenbroucque is based in Nantes where he leads a quartet, Bleu West.

Gerard Vandenbroucque

Gerard Vandenbroucque

Le Bruit des Cabarets features 16 tracks which range over the many different flavours of the “Hot Club du France” sound. Eight tracks are original compositions by Peter Baylor or John Delaney: the rest are a variety of popular swing tunes by composers ranging from Saranne Ferret to George Gershwin. The original compositions fit very comfortably into the whole, contributing significantly to the overall “mood” of the album. I particularly liked “Pickpocket” and “Brunton
Avenue” by Baylor, and “Sad Song” by Delaney.

The title track refers to a poem by the nineteenth century French poet, Paul Verlaine. On the CD the poem is read, in French, by Christophe Genoux with background music and accompanying “bar ambience”. One English translation of the poem (below) has a Melbourne-in-winter feel about it I think!!

noise of bars

Ultrafox will be launching this new album over the next few months in Melbourne before setting out on a regional Arts Victoria funded tour in August 2014.

To purchase the CD or download, visit the Ultrafox website www.ultrafoxswing.com. (I know that downloading is quick and easy, but the physical CD is a thing of beauty in itself, with cover art by Peter Baylor. Who could resist it!)

Before setting off on tour, the band will be playing at the Ballarat Jazz Club, the Paris Cat, Bennett’s Lane and the Spotted Mallard in Brunswick where I am sure the CD will be available. Peter Baylor can be contacted on 0430 484 373 or Email: for further information.

Finally, as a taste of the whole, here is the first track from the album “Pickpocket” composed by Peter Baylor. Click on the playlist below to enjoy it.

cabaret