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.

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