I KNOW it’s not fair to dredge up images from earlier days – a bit like naked baby pictures at 21st birthday parites – but I could’t resist this lovely version of BARNACLE BILL THE SAILOR performed by the New Harlem Band on the afternoon children’s show of the 1980s, “Shirl’s Neighbourhood”. And a fine swinging version it was with at least one unsuitable word creeping in.
Do you recognise Sandro Donati on trumpet, Pat Miller on tenor sax, “Charlie” Farley on banjo, Neil Orchard on piano, Bob Gilbert on alto sax, Richard Opat on drums and Bill Morris on tuba? That girl at the back faking it on clarinet is probably Liz Rule, co-host with Graham “Shirley” Strachan.
This was not the New Harlem’s only appearance on the show: who knows how many kids were turned on to jazz by their performance. There should be more jazz written into all Australian TV shows! Let’s campaign for a jazz quota!
Here’s another clip of the New Harlem Band, this time at the 1985 Australian Jazz Convention in Ballarat. Much the same lineup, but with the substitution of Chris Somerville on piano and Rod Evans on banjo. Note the very fancy piano stool!