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.

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