Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells @ the Peninsula Jazz Club: history repeats itself

Creole Bells Poster

IN November 1978 the newly formed Peninsula Jazz Club – (there had been an earlier club which operated for a couple of years in the 1960s under the leadership of the energetic Carter clan, including Kenny Carter) – held its opening gig at the Frankston Yacht Club . The chosen band for that special night was Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells which had been founded  that  same year.

Thirty four years later, the Peninsula Jazz Club will welcome back some members from the early days of the band, including Steve Waddell himself, for a great reunion concert. This will be held on SUNDAY 25 NOVEMBER from 2.00 – 5.00pm. It won’t be at the Frankston Yacht Club of course, but at the PJC’s current home, the Patterson Lakes Community Centre at 54-70 Thompson Road Patterson Lakes ( Melway 98 H6)

Patterson Lakes Community Centre

Here’s an exerpt from a report of that opening night in November 1978 written by Jimmy Smart. It appeared in the Victorian Jazz Club’s magazine Jazzline, Vol 12 No. 1, March/June 1979:

The Yacht Club was a marvellous place for atmosphere – new building right on the beach with a full verandah where people could sit on a hot summer’s night and still enjoy the music. It was so crowded, a lot had no option but to verandah it. Honestly folks they were gathering at the gate when we arrived to set up around seven. From then on I don’t think any of us knew exactly what happened ..I know I started playing piano at 7.30 because even at that time the place was full of happy expectant people – waiting. The Creole Bells arrived in excellent order and good time, of course, set up quickly and blew their first number. Wow! Cheering, stamping, roaring, appreciation you would have thought it was their last number , not their first. What a wonderful night – all night. We were crowded out, it was hot, it was happy – we were away.

The original lineup was:
Steve Waddell, Trombone/ldr
Vic Petraitis, Cornet
Geoff Pratt, Clarinet
Peter Cass, Sousaphone
Chris Farley, Banjo
Doug Rawson, Piano

Over the years the personnel changed but Steve managed to keep the brassy sound basically the same due to his accurate arrangements and insistence on everyone adhering to them.

For the concert on 25 November the band will consist of members from the 80s and 90s. (Doug Rawson played with them from the beginning until 1997.):
Steve Waddell, narrating and vocals; Doug Rawson, piano; Bob Pattie, cornet; Mike Edwards, reeds; Tony Orr, banjo; Alan Stott, sousaphone; and Rob Moffat, trombone (taking Steve’s place from the more recent band lineup after Steve sadly retired in 2006.)

Creole Bells
Doug Rawson, Steve Waddell, Tony Orr, Bob Pattie, Alan Stott, Mike Edwards

They will be playing all Steve’s original arrangements and tunes from the eighties and nineties repertoire with which the Band made its name. It will probably be the last time the early Creole Bells will be able to get together so they are keen to reach as many of the old followers from the Bridge Hotel and Whitehorse Hotel days as possible.

Bookings are not necessary as the Patterson Lake Community Centre seats 200, but my guess is that, for this special nostalgia afternoon, there will be similar crowds to those in 1978, so you’d be wise to get there early. Charge: $10 for PJC members, $12 for non-members. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served in the first break, and at the end of the gig you can enjoy orange juice, wine, cheese and biscuits while reminiscing.

And to remind us of the Creole Bells sound, here they play “Cake Walking Babies” in 1989. It’s a beauty!!
It features Bob Pattie, cornet, a bare-faced Stephen Grant, trumpet, Daffyd Wiesner-Ellix, soprano sax, Doug Rawson, piano, John Brown, banjo, Fred Clark, tuba, and Steve Waddell, trombone and vocals.

In 2002 Graeme Bell wrote:

For some twenty three years, Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells from Australia’s East Coast, have been our best-known exponents of relaxed, two-beat jazz, commonly known as West Coast Style

Steve Waddell
(from “Jazzline”, Winter 2008)

2 responses to “Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells @ the Peninsula Jazz Club: history repeats itself

  1. Hi Ian,
    Just saw your note re Eric. We loved his company. We had a lot of fun and he always added to the enjoyment. Today just learned of passing of A great friend and muso in Fred Clark. Saddened greatly – end of an era. So glad we met in Ballarat at Christmas.
    Best regards to family – in particular Ollie and James; and to musical colleagues and Creole Belles members who will all be greatly saddened.
    Have a great farewell blow.
    From Geoff Pratt
    Overseas at present. Unable to join you on 20th July.

  2. G’day all,Ian graves,yep Eric’s son,thank u for all your kindness & making Eric so happy,for 30yrs a million memories,Ian Graves

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