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.
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.
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
Allen 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.
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.
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!