Category Archives: Archives

Australian Jazz Museum: new name, same focus

Australian Jazz Museum banner 1
The Victorian Jazz Archive, in the few short years since its establishment in Koomba Park, Wantirna in 1996, has become the major repository of Australian jazz research material in all its many formats, and gained a national and international reputation for its professional and proactive work in preserving, providing access to, and promoting the history of jazz in this country.

For some time the Board of Management of the Archive has been working towards a name change for the organisation which better reflects its role and objectives. So if you come across an institution called the Australian Jazz Museum, it’s not a new body, but the VJA in its new and more appropriate identity.

Terry Norman, President, explains the reasoning behind the name change on the Museum’s website.

The primary reasoning behind this change is that our current name could be misconstrued to suggest that we are only interested in Victorian Jazz. In fact our archive has always proactively collected all Australian Jazz, and is now the major institution devoted to Australian Jazz. Our collection also encompasses International Jazz. We intend to slowly make the transition to a new visual identity as resources permit.

Congratulations to all at the AJM as they move forward from the VJA!

The Hand in the Tuba: you wouldn’t read about it

OVER breakfast this morning I was reading a back issue of that treasure-trove of Australian jazz, Jazzline (Official publication of the Victorian Jazz Club), and came upon an interesting tale about Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells.

Here’s the cover picture of Steve scrabbling about in Fred Clark’s tuba, and the tale as told by Jan Arndt in a report of the 9th Annual WA Jazz Festival at York in September 1991. (Photo by Gretel James):

Steve Waddell and band were performing with Carol Ralph; it was all sounding great. I went off to get a drink.. not unusual.. and when I returned I saw various members of the band, especially Fred Clark, scrabbling around in Fred’s tuba, pulling and tugging, shoving hands down the tuba etc. It all looked very amusing, with everyone having a good laugh. Here’s what allegedly happened while I was away: Doug Rawson has a fake hand that he fools around with on occasion. This had been thrown across the stage and landed in the tuba. It was now firmly wedged in and nobody could get it out. Some hours later I went to my room at the Castle Hotel, and there were Fred and Steve on the floor in the corridor, with the tuba, Steve wet up to his knees. They’d tried to flush the hand out, but still no success. I spoke to Steve at Dafydd Weisner Ellix’s wedding on October 19 and was told that the hand was still in the tuba! The saga continues….

At this stage I don’t know whether the hand was ever retrieved, or if it was, whether it will make an appearance at the Peninsula Jazz Club on November 25.

This is a chance to segue into a plug for the Cup Day Jazz Picnic at the Victorian Jazz Archive, Wantirna in aid of the Victorian Jazz Musicians’ Benefit Fund because Jan Arndt was one of the musos who turned up and sang at last year’s picnic.

Here Jan sings “All By Myself” – though actually with Bob Whetstone, Barrie Boyes, Tony Feehan, Gavin Gow and John Roberts.

For those who don’t know where the Archive is (shame, shame) it’s in Koomba Park, Mountain Highway, Wantirna (Melway Ref. 63 C8). The fun starts at midday and rambles on until 5.30 with bands playing all the time, with a break for THE RACE. Bring your own picnic, glamorous hat, and if muso – instrument. You’ll have the chance to bet on sweeps, chat to lovely folk, buy some CDs from the Archive’s well stocked shop, and listen to jazz. Tempted? And all this for $7.50 or $5 if you can play/sing.

Marina Pollard: last fundraising fling for the Queen of Fundraisers

Marina Pollard

Marina at the 64th Australian Jazz Convention 2009,
La Trobe University, Melbourne

MARINA Pollard (fondly known as “The Duchess”) is one of those active “second-liners” who not only love their jazz, but throw themselves whole-heartedly into supporting and promoting it.

Only one of the ways in which Marina has supported jazz has been through her fundraising activities for that splendid institution, The Victorian Jazz Archive.

In her role as Visitor Services manager, Marina has organized close to 90 guided tours of the Archive, which have not only introduced many new members/subscribers to the Archive, but have raised almost $40,000 in entry fees, CD sales from the Archive Shop, and new memberships.

If this wasn’t enough, Marina over the years has organised fundraising events at the Rosstown Hotel and at The Archive itself (for example, last year’s “Jazz on Cup Day”). Here’s a clip of one of the blackboard (well whiteboard really) bands which played on that occasion. Bob Whetstone, trumpet; Gavan Gow, clarinet; John Roberts, trombone; Tony Feehan, keyboard; and Peter Grey on bass.

These activities have raised a further $10,000 annually from entry fees and raffles (If you’ve ever been approached by Marina with her winning smile and raffle books you will know how impossible it is not to open your wallet, not just once but again and again!)

All this is leading up to the fact Marina is giving up her fundraising activities to allow others the opportunity to try their wings at this rewarding but exhausting task.

Her final fundraiser will be on Tuesday 14 February (yes, Valentine’s Day) at the Archive, Koomba Park, 15 Mountain Highway, Wantirna from 10.30am to 1.30pm. It will take the form of a tour of the Archive, a light lunch, and music from one of Australia’s legendary bands – Ross Anderson’s New Melbourne Jazz Band. For all this, the entry fee is a measly $15.00!.

There are still some places left, so do yourself a favour and call Marina on 9781 4972 to grab one or two. For catering purposes this needs to be by Friday 10 February, so pick up the phone and call right now. This is the chance to have a great day’s jazz, and to acknowledge the work that Marina has done for the cause.

Marina Pollard

Hail Marina, Queen of Fundraisers!

The Race That Stops a Nation: Jazz on Cup Day

ON the first Tuesday of November since 1861, the Melbourne Cup ( a horse race) has been run over 2 miles, and people of all ages all over Australia stop what they are doing to watch or listen.
Now I know this isn’t jazz, but Slim Dusty’s song The Melbourne Cup will give you the flavour of the day.

While thousands will actually attend the race meeting, many thousands more take the opportunity to get a gang of friends together for a long convivial lunch around the barbecue.

Well on Cup Day this year, Tuesday 1 November, a very pleasant way to spend this holiday would be to gather with likeminded jazz fans at  The Victorian Jazz Musicians’ Benefit Fund  JAZZ PICNIC  at The Victorian Jazz Archive, Koomba Park, Moutain Highway, Wantirna.    There you can wine and lunch (in moderation of course). listen to some great jazz, and help a cause close to our hearts.

Jim Beadman

Jim Beadman, President of the VJMBF

The Victorian Jazz Musicians’ Benefit Fund is an independent non-profit  organisation set up in 1992 following a one-off fundraiser for a jazz musician who needed some help to get him out of a hole.   Its role is to provide temporary support for musicians who fall on hard times and are unable to play their instruments for whatever reason.

At least once a year The Fund holds a “Jazz Bash” to increase the kitty.   This year it will take the form of a picnic.  Jazz will be continuous from 12 noon to 5.30pm, with many well known sit-ins.  BYO hamper, drinks and chairs. Tea and coffee will be available for a gold coin.  A large BBQ is available.

Donation: $7.50. Musicians: $5.00. Children and students free.

Melbourne Cup hats

Melbourne Cup hats

To get into the right mood, you might want to wear your most glamorous, extravagant, amusing hat!!  And that’s not just for the ladies.

This will also be an opportunity to revisit, or visit for the first time, the splendid Victorian Jazz Archive , to wonder at its collections, or to pick up a couple of jazz CDs at the Archive Shop run by the indefatigible and knowledgeable Barry Mitchell.

Ring Jeff Blades on 9801 5007 for more information.