Category Archives: Festivals

Ballarat! Ballarat! Ballarat!: 70th Australian Jazz Convention

Street Parade Swan Hill 69th Australian Jazz Convention

Street Parade Swan Hilll
69th Australian Jazz Convention
(photo: Roger Beilby)

AS many will already have heard, the golden city of Ballarat will host the next Australian Jazz Convention – the 70th in an unbroken line from the first Convention of 1946.

The AJC Executive Task Force which ran the Swan Hill Convention so successfully will again be managing this Convention. Perhaps it get easier with practice, but hats off to them for their stamina!

To remind you, membership of the Task Force is:
Rod Andrew, Promotions
Ken Hill, Programming
Reg Packer, Treasurer
Chris Gildersleeve, Secretariat and Website
Lucia Packer, Volunteers and Merchandising
Don Anderson, Archive

The new website should be up and running by the end of January which will give you details of registration, venues, volunteering etc.  Until the website goes live, you can ask any questions or make any comments via the AJC Facebook page.

This is bound to be a splendid affair given Ballarat’s proximity to Melbourne, the strength and vitality of jazz in Ballarat, (fostered by the Ballarat Jazz Club) and the grand setting and stunning venues which this historic city can provide. I notice on Facebook that already the many Ballarat hotels, motels and other places of accommodation are advertising their wares. There is always a lot going on in Ballarat, so that if you’re considering being at the Convention, it’s not too early to be thinking about securing a good spot to stay.

Ian Coots suggests (quite apocryphally I suspect) that the Task Force is considering adopting the logo below!


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.


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.

Port Phillip Mussel Festival: molluscs and music!

port phillip poster

THE INAUGURAL PORT PHILLIP MUSSEL FESTIVAL will be held at the South Melbourne Market, Cecil Street, South Melbourne over the weekend Saturday and Sunday, 8 and 9 March from 12 noon to 11.00 pm.

The reason for listing this festival on Jazz Ramble is that, not only will it be a seafood extravaganza with special emphasis on our luscious local mussels, but there will be music played throughout both days – much of it jazz. Gil Askey, Margie Lou Dyer, The Shuffle Club and the Paul Williamson Hammond combo are only a few of the musos who will be on offer during the Festival.

port phillip musselSouth Melbourne restauranteur Renan Goksin and his seafood venue Claypots Evening Star (corner of York and Cecil Streets where Peter Baylor’s Ultrafox plays on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm – 10.00pm), and The South Melbourne Market, along with other South Melbourne Market restaurants, are hosting the Festival as part of this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Iain Hewitson will be doing free mussel cooking demonstrations at 3 pm each day at the Market’s LG Kitchen.    Paco y Lola,  Koy,  Simply Spanish and Salvatore Malatesta’s Clement Café are also part of the Festival and will remain open across its hours, plus there will be many pop-up food stalls and wine bars.

If you love mussels – as I do, since those uncomplicated teenage summers when mussels came fresh-plucked from the pier, and then cooked on a piece of tin over a driftwood fire on the beach – then this sounds like heaven. If you don’t, there’ll be plenty of other gastronomic treats and free non-stop music.

‘It’s going to be a two-day party of non-stop live music and buckets and buckets of mussels from our local waters,’ says Goksin, who is ordering in thousands of Australian blue mussels for the event from Bay Sea Farms Mt Martha.

‘The idea is to come and dance, with the family and friends, and eat and drink. I am hoping thousands of people come each day to enjoy the market and our feast of mussels.’


Australian Jazz Convention 2014: Swan Hill

THE 2014 Australian Jazz Convention has set up its website at This will keep you up to the minute as plans unfold.

In the meantime, here are some historic pictures of earlier Conventions from the website. You know who you are, where and when it happened!


Obviously Sydney: 1958? 1962? OMG, how young they all are!
convention 20142

This one gives a whole new slant on the venerable Nick Polites!


69th Australian Jazz Convention comes to Swan Hill!

THE 68th Australian Jazz Convention in Goulburn, NSW is barely over, and planning for the 69th is already underway!!

The fair City of Swan Hill on the Murray River is about to take its maiden voyage into AJC music and madness, and it looks like a perfect location. Small enough to keep the intimate nature of the Convention, wonderful surroundings with the river and all its delights, history in the Pioneer Village, great produce, outdoor activities galore, and even the Giant Murray Cod!

More details as they come to hand -let the dust settle from the 68th first! But the news is all good after last year’s hiccup (hiccough?) when Goulburn came to the rescue of our grand old institution.

By the way, I’ve heard from a number of Conventioneers that they have already booked their accommodation in Swan Hill, so if you’re planning to go, you can’t begin too soon.


Readings In-Store Jazz Event

Mark Rubbo’s Readings bookshops are part of what makes Melbourne the culturally rich city that it is.

The Wangaratta Jazz Festival has had a close relationship with Readings for some years, and is taking this relationship to a new level in 2013 with, amongst other things, an exciting in-store jazz event.

At 6.00pm on Wednesday 18 September, you can front up to Readings Hawthorn (701 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn) to enjoy music by guitarist Stephen Magnusson and saxophonist Julien Wilson (both past winners of the National Jazz Awards and performers at this year’s Festival). This will be followed by a conversation with the Festival’s artistic director, Adrian Jackson.

Supported by Brown Brothers of Milawa, this is a free event, but please book on (03) 9819 1917. Given the sponsors, there might even be a glass or two to warm the heart along with the music.

Julien Wilson

Stephen Magnusson

HuonFM, Australia’s southernmost jazz radio broadcaster

GEEVESTON is a small town located in the south of Tasmania on the Huon River, 62 km south west of Hobart, making it Australia’s most southerly administrative centre. That makes its radio station, – HuonFM – Australia’s southernmost broadcaster, and its weekly jazz program – RHYTHM IS OUR BUSINESS presented by David Milne – the deepest south of our jazz on radio providers.

Fortunately in this age of streaming, we can all listen to David’s program which goes to air every Sunday from 4.00pm to 9.00pm. By clicking on the microphone below you’ll get to the station’s front page. If you want to note down the URL for future reference, it’s

David has been an enthusiastic Australian Jazz Convention goer, and in preparation for this year’s shindig in Goulburn he is presenting two special programs which will be his personal look at the Conventions, the music and the Original Tunes, with lots of appropriate recordings. These will be broadcast on Sundays 18 August and 25 August, and should be a great memory jogger and preparation for the 68th AJC, which is fast approaching.

WHICH reminds me that the Convention website is up-to-date with all arrangements, information and news on the coming event, so visit to read the latest newsletter, choose accommodation, volunteer to help, or register. Make sure you go to the new website at

A final note: On Sunday 11 August David will have as his studio guest well-known reedsman, Paul Martin whose playing credentials stretch back to the 1960s and include the Black Eagle Jazz Band, Nick Boston’s New Orleans Jazz Band, Yarra Yarra Jazz Band, The Hot Sands, Roger Jane’s Band, The Jazzmakers, Jim Loughnan’s Bendigo Five, Melbourne New Orleans Wanderers, Melbourne University Jazz Band, Ian Pearce Quartet, Frank Traynor’s Jazz Preachers, “amongst others”.

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

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.

Globe Cafe and Stonnington Jazz Festival

THE Globe Cafe at 218 Chapel Street, Prahran will be very, very busy during the Stonnington Jazz Festival, which opens tonight, Thurday 16 May. Here’s the fantastic program @ THE GLOBE over the next two weeks.

Thursday 16th May 8.00pm Rita Satch
Friday 17th May 8.00pm Tamara Kuldin with Paul Williamson
Saturday 18th May 8.15pm Rebecca Mendoza and Joe Ruberto
Sunday 19th May 5.00pm Mandy Meadows & The Honeytons
Thursday 23rd May 8.15pm Diana Clark & Doug DeVries
Friday 24th May 8.00pm Julie O’Hara and band
Saturday 25th May 8.15pm Fem Belling and Joe Ruberto
Sunday 26th May 7.00pm Joe Ruberto & friends (finale night party)

All of these programs should be great, and everyone will have their own favourites, but if I had to choose only one, I’d go for Diana Clark and Doug DeVries, both incredible interpreters of Brazilian music.
Here they perform “Corcovado” with Stephen Grant making up a trio on piano accordion.

For full details and bookings visit the Globe website . Bookings are essential for this intimate venue which quickly sells out!

For the complete Stonnington Jazz Festival program and online bookings, visit the Stonnington Festival website –