Jazz Piano back @ The Rosstown in 2013

THE NEW YEAR starts, and with it the return of the bi-monthly piano lunches at the Rosstown Hotel on the corner of Dandenong and Koornang Roads, Carnegie. Bookings: 9571 1033. Enquiries: Marina Pollard 9781 4972.

This is the 19th year that the Rosstown has hosted these piano events (beginning in 1994, although the original lunches stretch back to 1987, when they were held in various locations). At the Rosstown they are held on the last Thursday of the month, in alternate months starting in January.   If that’s all too hard to cope with, here are the dates for the 2013 series:
January 31
March 28
May 30
July 25
September 26
November 28

On Thursday January 31 from midday until about 4.00pm you can be entertained by a group of Melbourne’s top jazz pianists which may include on any given day, John Adams, Graham Coyle, Kim Harris, Keith Stevens, Neville Turner, Michael Llewellyn, Jo Abbott, Ron Anderson, Jeff Bartrum and Kathy Connor.

Here’s the legendary Graham Coyle playing on a cold winter’s day last year.

A guest musician often accompanies the pianists. On 31 January the guest will be well-known trumpeter, Graeme Steel.

Graeme has been on the Melbourne jazz scene for over 50 years. He has worked with many of the top players, and has earned a reputation as one of the more reliable jazz players, equally at home in Modern, Mainstream, Dixie and Traditional styles. He is a popular choice as a backing player to singers Pippa Wilson, Anita Harris, Patsy O’Neill and Beverley Sheehan.

See Graeme in an uncommon pose – on Puffing Billy – with Mike Edwards, Noel Dollman and Neil Taylor as the Mast Gully Quartet which plays jazz for diners on the historic steam train 4 times a year. If you are interested in a unique experience – jazz, dining and scenery – visit the Puffing Billy site. The first dining journey for 2013 is on Friday 15 March.

The Mast Gully Quartet on Puffing Billy

And while we’re in a piano mood, a way to hear some of Australia’s jazz piano greats all together in one place, you can’t go wrong with the Victorian Jazz Archive’s 2 CD set, “The Pianists: a showcase of Melbourne’s Jazz Pianists, 1993”. The genesis of this set was a marathon recording session in August 1993 organised as a fundraiser for The Victorian Jazz Musicians’ Benefit Fund. Fourteen of Melbourne’s top pianists – Stephen Grant, Ben Johnston, Rex Green, Bob Sedergreen, Doug Rawson, Graham Coyle, John Adams, Kim Harris, Margie Lou Dyer, Frank Gow, Stan Spragg, Merle Phillips, Frank Milne and Dave Eggleton – played tunes of their own choice. Sadly several of these musicians are no longer with us.

The 40 tracks on this set are a permanent tribute to the talents and various styles of some of our best piano men and women. You can order online from the VJA website, or by phone on Tuesday or Friday, 9800 5535 or by email.

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