Nick Polites, Melbourne clarinetist will retire soon from playing jazz at the tender age of 90. Born in Melbourne on the 2nd of July 1927 Nick took up the clarinet as a teenager and played at the First Australian Jazz Convention in Melbourne in 1946 with the Jazz Appreciation Society Band and with John Sangster’s Band , the Allfrey Street Stompers and Frank Johnson’s Fabulous Dixielanders from 1951 to 1956. In 1957 he joined trombonist Llew Hird in the band that would become the legendary Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band. The MNOJB had a hugely successful tour of the United Kingdom and Northern Europe over eighteen months before disbanding in early 1963. He then traveled to New Orleans for a lengthy stay before returning to Melbourne where he has been a mainstay of the New Orleans Revival style of jazz ever since. Bands he has played with for lengthy periods include the Yarra Yarra Jazz Band, the Nick Polites Stompers, Hugh de Rosayro’s Nite Owls and for the last thirty years , the Louisiana Shakers. The clarinet chair in the Shakers will be taken over by John Kelly. A former trustee of the Australian Jazz Convention and past president of the Victorian Jazz Club, Nick has performed at just about each of the past 71 Australian Jazz Conventions and will do so at the 72nd AJC this year at Ballarat.
Nick will play his final Sunday gig with the Louisiana Shakers on Sunday the 24th of December between 1.00 & 4.00 pm at the Clyde Hotel , Carlton. A fitting opportunity for the Melbourne jazz community to farewell a great musician who has given so much to traditional jazz in this country.