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

3 responses to “Doyens of Australian jazz: the VJC honours elders of the tribe

  1. And what a legendary group it is. I’ve worked with them all at various times over the past 40 years, and they have all been, great contributors to the colourful jazz scene that we’ve always had in Melbourne, the jazz capital of Australia!

    I’m sorry I can’t be there tomorrow night for this trip down memory lane. Every good wish for a great reunion and congratulations to the VJC for such an excellent idea.
    Diana Allen

  2. Likewise, would have wished to be present to honour these veterans of jazz, but I plan to go to Sydney for the birthday of David Stevens, piano doyen of British and Australian jazz, who is now pushing 90 years old, and still gigging around with Verve and Gusto (no, these are not musicians’ names).
    When I heard Wes Brown some months ago, he was sounding great. Harry Price, of course, is always superb.
    John Roberts

  3. Congrats to all those Doyens, very worthwhile recipients.
    Sorry we can’t be there, would’ve loved to.
    Regards
    Graham & Lenny Eames

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *