Category Archives: Bands

Bell Brothers Tribute @ Eltham

nillumbikON Wednesday 14 October 2015 the Shire of Nillumbik will stage a very special tribute to a pair of Australia’s iconic jazz musicians – Graeme and Roger Bell. This will take the form of a Tea Dance to be held at 3.00pm in the Eltham Community and Reception Centre, 801 Main Street, Eltham.

Bell Band, Sydney, 1948

Hyde Park, Sydney 1948

THE TRIBUTE BAND will be made up of musicians who are pretty much jazz icons themselves! Get a look at the list:
 Ian Smith ( trumpet and leader)  Dave Hetherington (clarinet)

Ian Smith and Dave Hetherington

Ian Smith and Dave Hetherington


 Chris Ludowyk (trombone)  Stephen Grant (piano)
Chris Ludowyk and Stephen Grant

Chris Ludowyk and Stephen Grant


 Mark Elton (bass)  John Cox (banjo)
Mark Elton and John Cox

Mark Elton and John Cox


and  Wes Brown (drums)
Wes Brown

Wes Brown


Also featured will be some of the newer generation of jazz musicians in The Eltham High School Jazz Band.

Eltham (now part of Nillumbik Shire) had particular significance in the early days of Graeme and Roger. In 1938, together with friend Peter Glass, they bought 6 acres of land in Eltham. Inspired by Justus Jorgenson of Montsalvat they decided on mudbrick houses and spent many congenial weekends with friends making bricks and carousing. Some weekends carousing outstripped brick making! Further details of this period can be found in Alistair Knox: We Are What We Stand On: a personal history of the Eltham community

Below is a photo from Graeme’s autobiography (Graeme Bell: Australian Jazzman) of a visit to the site with Rex Stewart in 1949.

Greme Bell a Eltham with Rex Stewart and friends Mud bricks in background 1949

Greme Bell at Eltham with Rex Stewart and friends
Mud bricks in background
1949

The Bell house is still standing at 71 John Street. The house Peter Glass built is at 75 John Street.

71 John Street Eltham The Bell mudbrick house

71 John Street Eltham
The Bell mudbrick house

So put this date in your diaries to join in celebrating the music of the late Graeme and Roger Bell, and in commemorating the contribution these former Eltham residents made with their music in both Australia and overseas. And if you’re old enough, relive those wonderful times spent listening and/or dancing to the Bell bands.

Date: Wednesday 14 October
Time: 2:30pm (doors open) for 3pm start
Where: Eltham Community and Reception Centre
801 Main Road, Eltham
Cost: $15 book tickets through www.trybooking.com.au/145611
before Tuesday 6 October
For further information or bookings after 6 October contact 9433 3157 or events@nillumbik.vic.gov.au/
Refreshments will be supplied by St Margaret’s Anglican Auxiliary.

Amongst the many Bell recordings, the following 2 CD set produced by the Australian Jazz Museum stands out as a great collection of early tracks. The Museum shop can be contacted online at http://www.ajm.org.au

greme nd roger bell
Nillumbik Shire Council is supporting this event in conjunction with Nillumbik U3A, the Australian Jazz Museum and Eltham High School to present an afternoon of wonderful Jazz music.
(John Crichton and Mal Harrop run a jazz appreciation course for Nillumbik U3A on Monday afternoons at 4.00pm at the Eltham Living & Learning Centre, 739 Main Road, Eltham)

The Marvellous Shaye Cohn: Happy Birthday

The marvellous Shaye Cohn

The marvellous Shaye Cohn


THE talented, beautiful Shaye Cohn of the New Orleans band, Tuba Skinny, has a birthday today 24 November, and I am sure all her myriad of fans world-wide wish her a very happy one!

Shaye’s musical heritage is impressive, and perhaps goes some way to explain her extraordinary talents as a musician (trumpet/cornet, piano, violin), arranger, composer, artist, and I suspect, quiet power which holds the band together.

Granddaughter of Al Cohn, saxophonist with Woody Herman etc. and Marilyn Moore, jazz singer, and daughter of Joe Cohn, guitarist etc., Shaye originally trained as a classical pianist. Where did she go wrong/right!

Here’s a sample of Shaye’s piano style – with Japanese band The New Orleans Naughties in 2010, playing “Lily of the Valley”.

Tuba Skinny have just wound up their latest tour of Australia with a 3 day stint at the Melbourne Festival. Number One member of the Australian Tuba Skinny Fan Club (if there was one) would have to be my good mate Bill Liddy, which he demonstrated by attending all 3 performances, standing in the front row each time, so close that he could read the tune list at Shaye’s feet. Nineteen songs each night with only two repeats.

Bill Liddy

Bill Liddy

He spent some time talking to members of the band – Shaye of course but also the incredible vocalist Erika Lewis, and Todd Burdick, the skinny tuba player whom he met on Princes Bridge last year as he and Shaye were walking to their gig at the Spiegeltent,Todd with his tuba over his shoulder!

When Shaye asked Bill which of the three shows he enjoyed the best, he was hard put to choose, bu did nominate their version of “Willie the Weeper” as the best he’d heard.

The Skinnies have just released their latest CD “Owl Call Blues”, a copy of which Bill bought for me, signed by Shaye. How good is that!! The title track is a joint composition by Shaye and Erika Lewis and is available via the Tuba Skinny Blogspot. Click here for details.

Ivan Huke

Ivan Huke

The British equivalent of Bill Liddy must be cornet player Ivan Huke from Nottingham.

Ivan has a blog called “Playing Traditional Jazz” which is very well worth following since it is written from the musician’s point of view rather than the devoted fan. He is a mad, fanatical devotee of Tuba Skinny and of Shaye Cohn in particular. Read what he said about Shaye recently. His comments on Owl Call Blues are also worth a look.

To close, here Tuba Skinny plays “Dallas Rag” at their usual stomping ground in Royal Street, New Orleans. Wait for the piano solo! Magical isn’t too big a word for it!
Happy happy birthday Shaye!

Moama Jazz Weekend

THE Echuca Moama Jazz Club folded its wings in February 2013 due to lack of local support and membership. But obviously there is still a jazz heart beating in the region.

moama rsk

The Moama RSL in Merool Lane, Moama is holding a jazz weekend on Saturday and Sunday, 29 and 30 November with three very well credentialed bands playing – Maryborough Traditional Jazz Ensemble, Loose Goose, and the Peter Hooper Quartet.

Registration fee is a measly $25 for both days with sessions running from 12 noon to 11.00pm on Saturday and 11.00am to 2.00pm on Sunday. The venue is the very comfortable Moama RSL building with two separate locations operating.

The organisers are keeping things small in this first year, but if it is successful, plans are for a much more ambitious festival in coming years. This is a chance to support a new jazz venture, and have yourself “a good weekend” into the bargain. Contact the RSL for bookings and further details on 5482 6677.

Located on the banks of the Murray River, the twin towns of Echuca Moama are the closest point of the Murray to Melbourne – just a 2.5 – 3 hour drive. A very popular tourist magnet particularly famous for its iconic paddle steamers and other links to the historic past of the Riverina, there is plenty to entertain when not enjoying the jazz.

Echuca-Moama-Blues-Festival-blog-1

Leigh Barker and The New Sheiks

sheiks
LEIGH Barker and his New Sheiks are busy as usual – check out some things they’re doing in November 2014.

JAZZ, TAP, SWING WITH THE MELBOURNE RHYTHM PROJECT

First are a couple of great concerts in the Morning Melody series on Monday 17 November 2014, 11.00am and 1:30pm at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road. All Tickets: $20. BOOK NOW By Phone: 1300 182 183 or on line.

Titled Jazz, Tap, Swing with the Melbourne Rhythm Project this is an innovative collaboration between swing dancers, tap dancers and jazz and swing musicians. Presenting a program of uniquely choreographed dances set to classic jazz, swing and blues tunes, award-winning jazz ensemble, Leigh Barker and The New Sheiks, will be joined on stage by tap dancers and lindy hop and swing dancers to whip up a storm of jazz, rhythm and swing from the 1920s through to the 1940s. Featured will be award winning vocalist and violinist Heather Stewart.

Heather Stewart

Heather Stewart

NEW ALBUM LAUNCH: ‘FLOW LIKE WINE’

Second is a new album launch on Saturday November 15th at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, 25 Bennetts Lane, CBD. $25/20, doors at 8:30pm. Bookings or 9663 2856.

Leigh Barker and his six-piece group, for the last five years touring under the moniker ‘The New Sheiks’ but now equally well known as the musical half of the innovative dance company the ‘Melbourne Rhythm Project’, continue to build on their reputation as one of the most engaging, entertaining and hard-swinging groups currently performing in the Australian Jazz Scene.


Saturday November 15th will see the launch of Barker’s seventh full length release: a CD and digital album titled ‘Flow Like Wine’. Drawn from several studio sources and live sessions during the band’s 2012 and 2013 touring schedule, the album features guest appearances by triple Bell Award winning saxophonist Julien Wilson, piano genius Steve Grant and to top it all off was mastered in New York by the great Rob ‘Wacko’ Hunter, full time sound engineer for all of Branford Marsalis’ various projects. Combined with the regular members Heather Stewart on violin and vocals, Eamon McNelis trumpet, Matt Boden piano, Don Stewart trombone and Sam Young on the drums, this may just be Barker’s most cohesive release to date, says Jason Downes from whose blog I devised, copied, stole! this post. (Thank you Jason)

Wombats again!!

wombat funWHOOPEE!! After trying to retire at the end of their Elsternwick Hotel residency, the Wombat Jazz Band was inveigled into a final fling at the Rosstown Hotel some weeks ago.

This venture was so successful with an almost full house of 90 fans, that the Rosstown has managed to lure the Wombats out of their burrow for another daytime appearance.

So on this coming Sunday, 19 October, you have another chance to hear this legendary band playing their own special brand of mainly Australian jazz music.

The lineup on this occasion will be the usuals – Bill Kerr, Judy Taylor, Ken Collins, Jacqui O’Neill and Tony Orr – except that Simon VanCam who played with the band for years will be on bass instead of Smithy who is otherwise engaged on Sundays.

Music starts at 2pm and runs until 5pm. The door charge is $10 unless you choose, as many do, to lunch downstairs in the Bistro, in which case the discounted cover charge is $5 on presentation of your lunch receipt.

Bookings are essential on 9571 1033. The Rosstown Hotel is on the corner of Dandenong and Koornang Roads, Carnegie, just a stone’s throw from the Carnegie Station.

rosstown1

Tuba Skinny back in Australia in September/October!

GREAT news for local lovers of Tuba Skinny, the young New Orleans street band who play jazz with artistry, authenticity and a passion which have earned them world-wide recognition: the Skinnies will make their fourth tour to Australia in September and October this year with gigs in 12 locations.

Here’s their Australian schedule, starting on Wednesday 24 September in Perth, and ending at the Melbourne Festival over the weekend 17 – 19 October. In Melbourne they will be performing in the Festival Hub on the banks of the Yarra opposite Federation Square.

24/9, Wednesday. Fly By Night, Perth
25/9, Thursday. Jazz Cellar, Mt. Hawthorn, WA
26-27/9, Friday & Saturday. Wave Rock Weekender, Hyden, WA
28/9, Sunday. Clancys Fish Pub, Dunsborough, WA
2/10, Thursday, at Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Adelaide.
3/10, Friday, at Mullimbimby Civic Hall, NSW
4/10, Saturday at The Zoo, Brisbane
5-6/10, Sunday and Monday, Caloundra Music Festival, Queensland
9/10, Thursday, The Heritage Hotel, Bulli, Wollongong, NSW
10/10, Friday, at Hotel Gearin, Katoomba, NSW
11-12/10, Saturday and Sunday, at The Basement, Sydney
16/10, Thursday, Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, Vic.
17-19/10, Friday to Sunday, at Melbourne Festival, Vic.

They will be bringing with them their latest album, “OWL CALL BLUES” which you can buy in hard copy at any of their gigs, or from The Louisiana Music Factory. Digital copies are downloadable from the Tuba Skinny blog. You can also keep up to date on their news and doings at the same spot.

tuba skinny legs

The Maple Leaf forever: legendary favourites together again at Williamstown

Bob Whetstone

Bob Whetstone

LOOKING ahead to October, here’s a date to put on your calendar!

On Sunday 26 October the Williamstown Jazz Club will present a rare return to the platform of the Maple Leaf Jazz Band.

Kim Rushworth, the sole surviving member of the original 1974 band, and Bob Whetstone, a very early Maple Leaf luminary(1981) will be joined by some more recent additions to present that special brand of musical delight and mayhem which earned this band the adoration of the hundreds of fans who, during the ’70s and 80s, regularly crammed into pubs like the Canada Hotel,  the Stockade in Nicholson Street Carlton, the Spreadeagle, the Anchor and Hope, the Victoria (Pink Vic) and the Portsea Hotel to see and hear them.

Kim Rushworth

Kim Rushworth

Not only does the Maple Leaf play great jazz, they also entertain, with Bob and Kim doing a highly professional two-man act, leading each other on to taller and taller, and gutsier and gutsier tales.

The line-up on this occasion will be Bob Whetstone, trumpet/vocals; Kim Rushworth, reeds/vocals; Les Fithall, trombone/vocals; John Cox, banjo/guitar; Dan Gordon, bass/ possibly tuba; and Ben Rushworth, drums.

John Cox and Les Fithall

John Cox and Les Fithall

The Williamstown Jazz Club’s venue is the Williamstown RSL, 128 Ferguson St, Williamstown. The band will play from 4pm to 7pm.

Book early so as not to miss out on this special event. Bookings 9397 1885.    $15 entry.

Ben Rushworth

Ben Rushworth

Big Bob and Dan Gordon

“Big Bob” and Dan Gordon

The Wombats re-unite at the Rosstown

The Wombats' final night at the Elsternwick Hotel on 16 December 2013 Bill Kerr, Tony Orr, Ken Collins, Judy Taylor, Ian Smith (obscured), Simon Stribling, Jacqui O'Neill

The Wombats’ final night at the Elsternwick Hotel on 16 December 2013
Bill Kerr, Tony Orr, Ken Collins, Judy Taylor, Ian Smith (obscured), Simon Stribling, Jacqui O’Neill

THERE was much sorrow in the ranks when the beloved Wombats Jazz Band played their final gig at the Elsternwick Hotel at the end of last year, so it is with pleasure that I remind you that The Wombats will come together again to play at The Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie on Sunday 24 August from 2pm to 5pm.

The lineup will be most of the usual suspects: Bill Kerr – reeds, Ken Collins – trumpet, Judy Taylor – piano, Alan Stott – sousaphone, Jacqui O’Neill – washboard and Tony Orr on banjo. Ian “Smithy” Smith has a regular commitment on Sundays so his place will be taken in the rhythm section by Alan Stott who incidentally was an original member of the band and wrote the words for the group’s theme song, The Wombat.

The program will be all the usual Australian jazz compositions for which the band was established: Ade Monsbourgh, Graeme and Roger Bell, Dave Dallwitz, Jack O’Hagan etc.

For all you Wombat fans, this is a rare chance to enjoy your favourite band again, and to revel in their lively and engaging personality and stage presence.

As previously announced, jazz will be located upstairs in the function room with a door charge of $10, or $5 on presentation of a Bistro lunch receipt. Coffee/Tea can be ordered at the bar upstairs as well as other beverages. Doors open at 1.30pm.

Bookings are still essential, however there are no reserved seats. On the other hand, there are none of the obscuring pillars which made the downstairs room so unfriendly for good sightlines to the band.
FOR BOOKINGS PHONE 9571 1033

New Trad Jazz Gig at the Rising Sun

rising sun hotel
A NEW Trad Jazz Gig is always welcome news, so it’s great to hear that The Rising Sun Hotel at 2 Raglan Street, South Melbourne is adding to its existing very successful JAZZ ON THURSDAYS, and BIG BAND on Tuesdays with a TRAD JAZZ RESIDENCY on Sunday afternoons from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

Bands have been booked up to the end of December 2014, and include Michael McQuaid’s Mike’s Retro 5, The Syncopators, Shirazz, Virus, The Sugarfoot Ramblers, and The Four Scoops (Ben Gillespie, trombone/vocals; Lynn Wallis, drums; Craig Fermanis, guitar; Mark Elton, string bass). Check out The Ramble’s Coming Gigs page for monthly details.

Here are The Sugarfoot Ramblers if you haven’t caught up with them yet.

Daniel Berry, James Macaulay, Jason Downes, Travis Wood, Marty Holubek, Brett Thompson

Daniel Berry, James Macaulay, Jason Downes, Travis Wood, Marty Holubek, Brett Thompson

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