Category Archives: Radio programs

“Jazz on a Saturday” Favourites: Radio 3CR’s Annual Radiothon

FOUR of Victoria’s best known and best informed jazz aficionados – (from left to right) John Smyth, Roger Beilby, John Trudinger and Geoff Tobin – present the Victorian Jazz Club’s long-running weekly program, JAZZ ON A SATURDAY, on Community Radio 3CR 855AM every Saturday afternoon from 4.00pm – 5.30pm.

On Saturday June 14 the program will take part in 3CR’s annual fundraising radiothon which plays a crucial role in keeping the station on air and operating. This year is an especially critical one for all community radio stations, given current indications in the Federal Budget, so your support for “Jazz on a Saturday” and for 3CR as an alternative radio voice is far more important.

To make donating even more satisfying, the team has selected some of their favourite tracks played during the year, and produced a CD which will be sent free to supporters who give $30 or more to the cause. “Jazz on a Saturday Favourites 2014” will be the tenth in the series, and will not be available from any other source.

Last year’s gift CD had 21 tracks, including one of my favourite songs -“Breeze” by The Harlem Hot Shots with Wingy Manone (1935 – a good year!). Charlie Powell used to sing it in his unique style with the Louisiana Shakers. Click on the CD cover to hear the Manone version.

jazz sat fav 2013

So listen in on your wireless (855 AM), computer or other device ( on Saturday 14 June from 4.00pm-5.30pm and pledge your donation by phone (9419 8377).

“Jazz on a Saturday” first went to air just 3 months after the launch of 3CR in July 1976 with Roger Beilby at the microphone and John Smyth at the controls, and has continued for the next 37 years, same time, same sponsor (the VJC), and the same presenters, with the addition along the way of John Trudinger and Geoff Tobin. Each member of the team brings his own perspective on jazz, providing great diversity and depth to the weekly program.

Geoff Tobin and Cricket on the radio: it must be summertime!

FOR the third year running, ace jazz broadcaster (and failed trombone player – Frank Traynor advised him to stick to his day job) Geoff Tobin will be bringing jazz and joy to the airwaves on Radio 3CR (855 AM) on Wednesday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm.

Geoff’s program, Jazz on a Lazy Wednesday Afternoon, will run from New Year’s Day until some time in March. (The usual presenters in this time slot are taking an extended holiday).

As most of you know, Geoff is one of the regular stable of presenters on the Victorian Jazz Club’s record breaking program, Jazz on a Saturday, which has been running on Saturday afternoons same station, same time, same presenters since 3CR began broadcasting in 1976.

Geoff’s tastes in jazz and blues are very wide ranging, his style is relaxed and knowledgable. There’ll be surprises, performers or tracks you may not have heard before, but balanced with some local talent and old favourites. Something for every taste and temper.

So don’t miss Geoff on Wednesday arvos on Melbourne radio at 855AM, or listen live through you computer at If you’re out of range for either of these options there’s an app for iPads called Tunein available from This will also allow you to listen to most radio stations around the world, live.


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”.

Baby Soda: and Yes, Bria is a girl!

IT’S Tuesday afternoon, and of course we’re listening to one of our favourite jazz programs – Ian Smith’s “Mainly Trad” on Radio Inner FM at 96.5FM on your dial from 1.00-4.00pm. The first hour is not exactly jazz, but something called “Music for Pleasure” which indeed is very pleasurable. And there are no excuses that you are out of range of 3INR (located in Warringal Shopping Centre, Heidelberg) because the station streams live through your computer. If you are a techno-whiz you can probably download it and listen later.

Baby Soda “Live at Radegast”

Anyway, today Smithy played a track from a CD which I lent him of a New York band called BABY SODA – “Jericho” was the tune. The band has a variable lineup but is usually five: trumpet, trombone, clarinet, banjo and one-string box bass. And yes Ian, Bria the trumpeter is very definitely a girl, as is Emily on trombone. Here the band plays “Swing That Music” at St Mazie Bar, Brooklyn, New York.

To give them their full names –
Box Bass and vocals- Peter Ford
Clarinet – Adrian Cunningham
Trumpet – Bria Skonberg
Trombone – Emily Asher
Banjo – Jared Engel

Some of you may recognise the name of Adrian Cunningham, who hails from Sydney – a multi-instrumentalist, composer and bandleader with an international reputation. Another one of our wandering minstrels who is making the world his stage.

This is how Baby Soda describes themselves:

Baby Soda is on the forefront of a new movement loosely known as street jazz; with an eclectic set of influences ranging from 30s era swing, New Orleans jazz, and southern gospel. The ensemble doesn’t desire to recreate the past, rather they bring the concept and joy of the music to the present.

Baby Soda is an adaptable and ever changing group made up of New York’s finest musicians; featuring trumpet, trombone, clarinet, banjo and the unique one string box bass. The band has performed at some of New York’s finest venues such as The Village Vanguard, Barbes, The Knitting Factory and the Jalopy Theater.

In addition to their busy schedule of club dates, Baby Soda loves performing on the street and in the subway. This allows them to hone their skills and bring the music directly to the people. Both Pediatrics and Geriatrics agree, Baby Soda is the sure cure for the aches and pains of the modern world!

Here the band with a different lineup plays MILENBERG JOYS on a rainy night in New York days before Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of America with such devestating force. Emily Asher, Jared Engel and Peter Ford are joined by Will Anderson on clarinet and Gordon Au on trumpet,

Baby Soda has produced quite a number of CDs which are available from their website

Geoff Tobin lightens up the airwaves during January

Geoff Tobin

Geoff Tobin

IN 2012 Radio 3CR (855 AM) asked Geoff Tobin to host a two hour music program on Wednesday afternoons in January from 2pm to 4pm. This year they’ve asked him to do it again!

As Victorian jazz listeners will know, Geoff is one of the four presenters of the Victorian Jazz Club’s “Jazz on a Saturday” which has been a voice of jazz continuously since the station was launched in 1976.

Last year Geoff called his program “A Lazy Wednesday Afternoon”and my guess is that the 2013 version will be a similar wide-ranging mix of jazz, blues and other genres chosen from Geoff’s vast and varied collection of recordings, presented in his inimitable relaxed and informed style.

The first program will go to air live on Wednesday 2 January, and will include “everything from Blind Lemon Jefferson to Art Pepper and beyond” (Geoff’s words).
If you’re within range of 3CR this will be required listening on January Wednesdays. And if you’re out of range, you can listen on your computer through streaming or podcast from

And here’s Blind Lemon Jefferson singing “He Arose From the Dead”

Jazz on the Radio

Geoff Tobin

Geoff Tobin

WITH summer in Melbourne comes Cricket on the Radio, but along with cricket we have a special musical treat on the radio this summer.

On 3CR Community Radio 855 AM on Wednesday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm in January, Geoff Tobin (one of the Victorian Jazz Club’s four presenters of that record-breaking jazz program “Jazz on a Saturday”) will host “A Lazy Wednesday Afternoon” which will be a mix of jazz, blues and related genres presented in Geoff’s inimitable relaxed and informed style.

We caught the first program on December 28 while recovering from a surfeit of Christmas cheer, and it was a beauty! Two of Geoff’s passions are the Kansas City and Chicago jazz styles, with their strong blues influences, and these were given full rein in the first half of the program. One artist who blew me away was the extraordinary blues harmonica player, Little Walter Jacobs. Little Walter changed the Chicago blues sound in 1952 with his harp instrumental “Juke” which spent eight weeks in No.1 spot on the Billboard magazine R & B charts.

A couple of other standout tracks (amongst many) were by local jazz/blues singer Heather Stewart, and jazz pianist Art Tatum.

Heather is a very popular performer around town and on the festival circuit. Here is an interview which Geoff did with Heather at the Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival in October 2011, followed by a clip of the Heather Stewart Trio at the Broadbeach Blues Festival, performing under outdoor difficulties, but you can see and hear the energy.

Heather will be singing Billie Holiday at the Paris Cat Jazz Club, 6 Goldie Place, Melbourne on Saturday 14 January from 9.00pm (phone 9642 4711), and her Trio will be performing at the Eltham Jazz and Blues Festival on Sunday 26 February at 5.00pm. She’s definitely worth catching!

And the final track was Art Tatum playing, unusually with a sextet – his normal setup was solo or trio. The track Geoff chose was Art Tatum playing “Deep Purple” with Lionel Hampton, Harry Edison, Buddy Rich, Red Callender and Barney Kessel, recorded in 1955. (The Art Tatum Masterpieces vol 5).
Through the magic of YouTube you can enjoy it too.

Tuba Skinny in New Orleans

Ian Smith and Michelle Whelan

Ian Smith with Michelle Whelan at the Amora Hotel

HAVE just been listening to one of my favourite radio programmes – Ian Smith’s MAINLY TRAD – broadcast every Tuesday from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm on 96.5 INR FM radio from Warringal Shopping Centre in Heidelberg, Melbourne.

Ian’s special guest today was Bob Whetstone.  Bob brought along a selection of CD’s to play  and talk about, and any of you who know Bob will know that his talk is worth listening to.

One which caught my ear was a recording of a street band  called TUBA SKINNY playing in New Orleans  while Bob and Marcia were there in 2009.  Bob was very taken with the quality of their playing, particularly Shaye on trumpet and Erika, the singer.

That marvellous invention YouTube has now let me relive a performance of TUBA SKINNY just as Bob and Marcie would have experienced it.