Category Archives: Jazz Clubs

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

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

Forty Five Years On: the Victorian Jazz Club looking back

AS the Victorian Jazz Club prepares to celebrate officially its 45th birthday on Saturday 5 October, it is fascinating to look back to the Club’s early, heady days of “Jazz ‘N’ Jug every Thursday night in the Thoroughly Modern Piano Lounge of the Prospect Hill Hotel, 299 High Street Kew, (now Dan Murphy’s) where the entry fee was 50 cents, and the Hotel provided a “range of supper dishes” for 50 cents minimum after 10.00pm to comply with the liquor laws at the time.

Jazzline No. 2, September 1968

Above is a picture of my precious copy of the second issue of the Club’s magazine JAZZLINE. It consists of 16 duplicated pages detailing a bit of the history of the Club, a list of Committee members (some familiar names there) and plans for future activities.

But perhaps most interesting is the aim of the Club which was to provide playing opportunities and audiences for existing bands or regularly rehearsing groups with the accent on traditional styles, although the only real stipulation was that “the music be jazz oriented and played with a reasonable amount of ability and a large amount of sincerity.” There were also to be ample opportunities for “sit-ins” and for groups or individual musicians, who did not meet the criterion of “regular groups”, to perform on special guest nights.

The following 12 bands were registered to play during the first season which began on 12 September 1968:

ROGER BELL AND HIS PAGAN PIPERS
Roger Bell, Denis Ball, Mal Wilkinson, Bud Baker, Robin McCulloch, Mal McGililivray.
Roger re-formed his famous group last year to appear at Geoff Brook’s Steak Cave. Now appearing occasionally at La Brochette.

STORYVILLE JAZZMEN
Allan Leake, Dick Tattam, Paul Martin, John Murray, Graham Coyle, Mike Nelson, Fred Stephenson or Dick Barnes.
Led by Allan Leake and with its obvious accent on experience, this recently formed group shows great promise.

KANSAS CITY SIX
Peter Gaudion and Steve Miller, Mike Longhurst, Len Cobbledick, Peter Grey, John Kent.
Formed by Steve and Peter about a year ago, the band has been doing one night stands and some recent television work.

NICK POLITES PREMIER JAZZ BAND
Nick Polites, Chris Deutscher, Ray Lewis, Andy Symes, Frank Stewart, Lynn Wallis.
Basically a reconstruction of the old Silver Leaf Jazz Band with the addition of Nick Polites on clarinet. Originally formed to play at the Catharina over two years ago, the band has well outlived the job and now does one night appearances around town.

BLUE RIVER ORCHESTRA
Don Standing, Mike Longhurst, Dave Allardice, Jeremy Kelloch, Peter Cass, Peter Scudds, Paul Longhurst.
Formed by Don Standing in the last six months, this group forms an interesting musical contrast to most of the jazz bands in Melbourne.

RED ONIONS JAZZ BAND
Allan Browne, Brett Iggulden, Dick Miller, Bill Howard, Rowan Smith, John Scurry, Conrad Joyce.
Recently returned from overseas, this must be one of Melbourne’s most popular jazz bands, appearing frequently on TV amongst other engagements.

(In the following filmclip of the Red Onions from 1966 we see Mike Edwards on second trumpet and Nick Polites on clarinet.)

FRANK TRAYNOR AND HIS JAZZ PREACHERS
Frank Traynor, Dick Tattam, Jim Loughnan, Peter McKay, Les Davis, Ron Williamson, Jim Beal.
Originally formed from the House Band of the old Melbourne Jazz Club the group have recorded extensively (including football club theme songs) and have many concert appearances to their credit. Doing one night stands these days,they also appear regularly at Frank’s Folk and Coffee House.

THE CHICAGOANS
Steve Waddell, Mal Jennings, Mike Longhurst, Bob Gilbert, Dave Campbell, Geoff Thompson, Clive Champion, Duncan McQueen.
Now appearing regularly on television this group also works on a one night stand basis.

YARRA YARRA NEW ORLEANS JAZZ BAND
Maurie Garbutt, Dave Bailey, Les Fithall, Willie Watt, Dave Myers, Graham Bennett, Lucille Newcombe.
One of the longest established bands in Melbourne and veterans of many clubs and concerts, this group did a lot to establish New Orleans ensemble jazz in Melbourne. Now taking the bull by the horns and appearing regularly in Melbourne’s discotheques.

BARRY HANLEY GROUP
Barry Hanley, Peter McKay,Ken Sluice, Ken Vatcher.
A very talented quartet formed to play at the Croxton Park Hotel. Still appearing there regularly.

GAVAN GOW’S FOUR
Gavan Gow, Chris Ellis, Hans Karssemeyer, “Gypsy” Bennett.
A well established group now appearing at the Springvale Hotel.

MABEL’S DREAM
Simon Wettenhall, Garry Richardson, Jeremy Kelloch, Ron Cook, Peter Cass, Felix Blatt, Bob Moore.
A young band with great promise in the traditional style of King Oliver etc.

Hope you enjoyed this wander down memory lane!

Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells @ the Peninsula Jazz Club: history repeats itself

Creole Bells Poster

IN November 1978 the newly formed Peninsula Jazz Club – (there had been an earlier club which operated for a couple of years in the 1960s under the leadership of the energetic Carter clan, including Kenny Carter) – held its opening gig at the Frankston Yacht Club . The chosen band for that special night was Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells which had been founded  that  same year.

Thirty four years later, the Peninsula Jazz Club will welcome back some members from the early days of the band, including Steve Waddell himself, for a great reunion concert. This will be held on SUNDAY 25 NOVEMBER from 2.00 – 5.00pm. It won’t be at the Frankston Yacht Club of course, but at the PJC’s current home, the Patterson Lakes Community Centre at 54-70 Thompson Road Patterson Lakes ( Melway 98 H6)

Patterson Lakes Community Centre

Here’s an exerpt from a report of that opening night in November 1978 written by Jimmy Smart. It appeared in the Victorian Jazz Club’s magazine Jazzline, Vol 12 No. 1, March/June 1979:

The Yacht Club was a marvellous place for atmosphere – new building right on the beach with a full verandah where people could sit on a hot summer’s night and still enjoy the music. It was so crowded, a lot had no option but to verandah it. Honestly folks they were gathering at the gate when we arrived to set up around seven. From then on I don’t think any of us knew exactly what happened ..I know I started playing piano at 7.30 because even at that time the place was full of happy expectant people – waiting. The Creole Bells arrived in excellent order and good time, of course, set up quickly and blew their first number. Wow! Cheering, stamping, roaring, appreciation you would have thought it was their last number , not their first. What a wonderful night – all night. We were crowded out, it was hot, it was happy – we were away.

The original lineup was:
Steve Waddell, Trombone/ldr
Vic Petraitis, Cornet
Geoff Pratt, Clarinet
Peter Cass, Sousaphone
Chris Farley, Banjo
Doug Rawson, Piano

Over the years the personnel changed but Steve managed to keep the brassy sound basically the same due to his accurate arrangements and insistence on everyone adhering to them.

For the concert on 25 November the band will consist of members from the 80s and 90s. (Doug Rawson played with them from the beginning until 1997.):
Steve Waddell, narrating and vocals; Doug Rawson, piano; Bob Pattie, cornet; Mike Edwards, reeds; Tony Orr, banjo; Alan Stott, sousaphone; and Rob Moffat, trombone (taking Steve’s place from the more recent band lineup after Steve sadly retired in 2006.)

Creole Bells
Doug Rawson, Steve Waddell, Tony Orr, Bob Pattie, Alan Stott, Mike Edwards

They will be playing all Steve’s original arrangements and tunes from the eighties and nineties repertoire with which the Band made its name. It will probably be the last time the early Creole Bells will be able to get together so they are keen to reach as many of the old followers from the Bridge Hotel and Whitehorse Hotel days as possible.

Bookings are not necessary as the Patterson Lake Community Centre seats 200, but my guess is that, for this special nostalgia afternoon, there will be similar crowds to those in 1978, so you’d be wise to get there early. Charge: $10 for PJC members, $12 for non-members. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served in the first break, and at the end of the gig you can enjoy orange juice, wine, cheese and biscuits while reminiscing.

And to remind us of the Creole Bells sound, here they play “Cake Walking Babies” in 1989. It’s a beauty!!
It features Bob Pattie, cornet, a bare-faced Stephen Grant, trumpet, Daffyd Wiesner-Ellix, soprano sax, Doug Rawson, piano, John Brown, banjo, Fred Clark, tuba, and Steve Waddell, trombone and vocals.

In 2002 Graeme Bell wrote:

For some twenty three years, Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells from Australia’s East Coast, have been our best-known exponents of relaxed, two-beat jazz, commonly known as West Coast Style

Steve Waddell
(from “Jazzline”, Winter 2008)

Noosa Jazz Picnic: those Queenslanders certainly know how to have a good time!

Noosa Jazz Picnic 2011 (from the Noosa Heads Jazz Club newsletter, June 2012)

RICHARD Stevens, President of the Noosa Jazz Club and my correspondent from up north, sends news of his club’s annual Jazz Picnic at the Tewantin Tree Farm on Sunday 14 October 2012.

Tewantin is a village on the Noosa River which has loads of history, natural beauty, things to do messing about in boats, produce and craft markets, and beautiful trees as you can see in the above photo.

Tewantin marina

For some reason many people, including many fine musicians, flock to this part of our great continent for short breaks from the wintry blasts further south, or for permanent wallowing in the lovely, laid back lifestyle for which the Sunshine Coast is famous.

The Noosa Jazz Festival and the Noosa Jazz Party (continuous trad jazz over four days, run by the Jazz Club) are over, but this doesn’t mean that the music is over. The Jazz Club has a very busy program all year round – one of the special events being this PICNIC.

Here’s what Richard says about the picnic:

The footy is over, Bathhurst soon gone,
The weather terrific, the picnic is on!

It’s a Noosa Institution! Once again the Noosa Jazz Club is proud and excited about our annual Jazz Picnic.

There’ll be two bands: We have a superb line-up again this year featuring afternoon of fun and hot jazz……Jo Bloomfield, Mike Hawthorn, Derek Capewell, and Michael Longhurst.

(Here are some of these musicians who will be playing at the picnic in a different grouping.)

And then the Jazz Factory stalwarts: Ian Denovan (trumpet, cornet, vocals), Paul Williams (trombone, clarinet, tenor sax), Greg Garret(drums), John Withers (banjo), and Richard Stevens (sousaphone). And you never know who will turn up to sit in with the bands… so look out for jam sessions and other diversions along with a day of hot jazz.

(Here the Jazz Factory fellows run wild on one of their regular Tuesday afternoon trips around the Noosa Canals:)

All Welcome, Make sure you invite your friends!
Music from 12 30pm to 4.30pm
You will need your food, a hat, chair, your favorite wine glass and a big smile! Budget bar. No BYO Alcohol.
Jazz Club Members Free! Bring your membership card. Guest tickets $15 available at SHOEX Noosa Junction or ring Patsy (07) 5447 2229

Sunday October 14th Tewantin Tree Farm, Jirrima Crescent Tewantin. For directions check the map.

Here’s a video from an earlier picnic:

And just for fun, and for old times sake, here Derek Capewell plays bass with a band called The Sound of Brass on the ABC program “Dig We Must” in December 1966.

Moe-Latrobe Valley Jazz Club turns 23 on 30th September: Kay Younger & The Rhythm Kings help them celebrate


BRUCE Lawn, President of the Moe-Latrobe Valley Jazz Club, and his Committee and members, invite jazz lovers from all over to help them celebrate the 23rd anniversary of their club on Sunday 30 September.

The band for the day will be Kay Younger and the Rhythm Kings (a slight renaming of the Peninsula Rhythm Kings better to reflect the positioning of the band – I think leader John Kent is the only Peninsulaman, and as John says putting Kay upfront means she will get to sing a few more songs, and we won’t argue about that!).

As you can see from the poster, the lineup is well credentialed – Frank Stewart, Graeme Davies, Lee Treanor, Peter Grey and John Kent, with the lovely Kay Younger singing some lovely songs.

Banjo’s Restaurant on Albert Street, Moe is a bright, comfortable venue with great food. And those Latrobe Valley people really know how to have a good time. To book for lunch before the music starts, ring 03 5127 1007.

So if you feel like a drive in the country with some good music and good company, Banjo’s is the place to be on September 30.

Kay Younger and the Rhythm Kings

Ballarat may be cold, but the jazz is HOT!!

I KNOW it’s local folk lore that Ballarat is always colder, wetter, windier, etc. than anywhere else in Victoria, but that’s not strictly true – and despite the occasional snow storm or minus zero temperature, Ballarat as we all know has lots to offer in the way of tourist attractions and cosy accommodation.

Main Street, Sovereign Hill

Well this coming Sunday 9 September the forecast is for 20 degrees and mainly sunny; but more importantly the Ballarat Jazz Club has a great afternoon of jazz with Ray Lewis’s Dixie Heroes featuring New Zealand’s great Lindsay Meech on cornet, and Tasmania’s Paul Martin on reeds for what is announced as being “their last performance together in Australia”. The rest of the band comprises Ray the man on trombone, Richard Mander on bass and David Allardice on piano.

So why not have a change of jazz scene and join the Ballarat jazzers for some hot jazz and Ballarat hospitality.

Here’s a clip of Ray and his lads playing in September 2011 for the Victorian Jazz Club, with the addition of Ron Hayden on drums. The tune is “Jazz Me Blues”.

Hot times at the Victorian Jazz Club: events to anticipate and participate in!!

NOT only does the Victorian Jazz Club hold a gig most Saturday nights (with a few weeks off for jazz festivals or over the Christmas/New Year break), and present a regular Saturday afternoon jazz radio program which has been running for 35 years, it also runs “specials” on special occasions. A few of these are coming up in the next few months, so if you live in Melbourne or within reasonable travelling distance, you might like to note these down on the old whiteboard. All of them are at the Clayton RSL, 163 Carinish Road, Clayton close to the Clayton Railway Station and with plenty of onsite parking.

Wednesday 10 October:
SENIORS WEEK CONCERT
Another of the VJC’s popular daytime gigs with Clint Smith’s Southside Jazz.
11am – 2pm. Two hours of jazz plus/coffee/biscuit at $8 per head.
Bookings are essential on 9553 3850

Saturday 13 October:
MASQUERADE DINNER DANCE
.
John Morrison’s Moonee Valley Jazz Band will entertain from 8pm to midnight. $40 for VJC members, $45 for visitors will include a two course meal (table service). Door prizes, lucky spots, prizes for the best masks. Bookings;;9597 0128 by 5 October.

Saturday 27 October: CAROL RALPH with THE LEGENDARY KATE DUNBAR.
These two truly great jazz singers will be performing with a stellar lineup of Melbourne musicians; Ian Smith on trumpet, Dave Hetherington on reeds, Johnny Adams on piano, Mark Elton on bass, Harry Price on trombone, and Ron Sandilands on drums.
Whatever you have to do to be there, do it, because nights such as this come along but rarely.
Bookings 9553 3850

Monday 5 November: CUP EVE GALA.

To get you in the right mood for Flemington, put on your glad rags and be entertained by Doug Rawson’s Foster’s Foaming Five at the VJC’s Cup Eve Gala from 8pm-11pm. There’ll be “Fashions on the Field”, Best Hat prize, Best Couple prize, the tradional sweeps and more. $10 entry for members, $15 for non members. Meals available from the bistro and drinks at club prices.

Daytime Jazz in Melbourne: Fosters Foaming Five @ Clayton RSL


WEDNESDAY 23 May is the date for the next Victorian Jazz Club daytime jazz concert to suit those fans who prefer to hear their jazz while the sun is still up.

Fosters Foaming Five is the band which will provide the music at the Clayton RSL, 163 Carinish Road, Clayton from 11am to 2pm. (Doors open at 10.30).

The FFF are all well-known, well-seasoned and well-appreciated musicians about town.
Doug Rawson on piano, Alan Stott on sousaphone, Bob Pattie on trumpet, Tony Orr on banjo and Mike Edwards on reeds.

Fosters Foaming Five (photo: Ron Jobe)

Entry is $8 a head which includes free tea or coffee during breaks. Lisa at the Bistro provides an excellent array of light refreshments, or you can get stuck into a full meal from the menu board.

Although there are no seat allocations for this gig, booking is recommended. Phone either 9583 5247 or 9553 3850.

Hope to see you there!

Motor Neurone Disease Association Fundraiser: Victorian Jazz Club Jazz Fest

Clayton RSL

MUSICIANS from all over Victoria and some from other States will gather at the Clayton RSL, 163 Carinish Road, Clayton on Sunday 13 May for a Jazz Fest in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The music will start at 11.00 am with the core band, John Morrison’s Moonee Valley Jazz Band, and will continue for the rest of the day with “sit-ins” and “jam sessions”. All musicians are invited to come along and have a blow to help this vital cause.


Donation entry is $10 per head and all funds raised will go to the MND Association.

Light refreshments will be available; drinks are at club prices.
Plenty of parking and the dance floor is huge.

For those unable to attend on the day, there will be Donation Boxes available for contributions at the entry desk at all VJC Saturday night gigs at Clayton leading up to the 13th.

WHAT IS MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE?
MND is a progressive degenerative disease that affects muscular function leading to paralysis of the muscles we use to move, speak, swallow and breathe. There is currently no known cure for MND. The Motor Neurone Disease Association provides assistance to people living with the disease, their families, carers, and friends, and contributes to research into causes of and cures for this devastating disease.