The Syncopators and The Spiegeltent: an unbeatable combination

THE Famous Spiegeltent returns to Melbourne’s Art Centre forecourt this summer, and whilst every performance in the ‘Tent is a magic happening, one which will appeal particularly to jazz devotees is The Syncopators’ gig on Sunday 10 March.

The Syncopators

Chris Ludowyk, founder of The Syncopators (that’s Chris back row left with the trombone) alerted me to his band’s performance. He says it will cater for those who want to listen and also for those who want to dance. Dressing up in 20s/30s gear is encouraged to add visual atmosphere to what should be a swinging session.

Without doubt “The Syncs” will present their usual polished, professional and exciting music which has made them one of – if not the – best Australian band currently playing classic jazz. They will be performing at 9pm. Bookings online at Look under LIVE MUSIC.

And to remind us just how good they are, here The Syncopators wow them in Stuttgart with “Now You Has Jazz” on one of the band’s many overseas tours. They have another tour coming up mid-year, and Chris tells me there will probably be a going-away concert, so look out for that one.

The Spiegeltent program has many other delights. I noticed the following in a quick glance through the calendar:

Nina Ferro: Thursday 7 February at 11pm
Nina – with her luxuriant voice, stage presence and ability to interpret a song – has made her way in the overseas music scene, with an established reputation in the US and in the UK where she is currently based. This is another opportunity to hear Nina perform in Melbourne during a brief home visit. The format is a supper club setting which suits Nina’s current style superbly, although you may still occasionally hear her doing justice to some classic jazz with the Jim Cullum band at the Landing on San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk.

Julie O’Hara with Ultrafox: Wednesday & Thursday 13 and 14 March at 11pm
Julie O’Hara is another outstanding singer whose perfect pitch, silken tone and ability to handle many different styles have ensured her appreciative audiences nationally and internationally, both in live performances and on her recordings. For this gig she sings with one of my favourite bands, Peter Baylor’s gypsy swing band, Ultrafox. This will be another supper club setup – a modern reincarnation of a 30s speakeasy with candle lit tables, delicious tasty treats and presumably legit. drinks to go with them.

Tuba Skinny in New Orleans

Tuba Skinny: Friday 15 March (11pm) and Sunday 17 March (9pm)
This exciting New Orleans street band is back in Australia after a brief trip last year. This time they’ll be here for 5 weeks from 22 February to 24 March. Unfortunately only in Melbourne at the Spiegeltent for two performances, though I see they will also be at the Port Fairy Folk Festival for the March long weekend, and the Castlemaine Festival on 16 March. Formed in 2009, Tuba Skinny has steadily evolved from a loose collection of street musicians into a solid ensemble dedicated to bringing the traditional New Orleans sound to audiences around the world. Drawing on a wide range of musical influences — from spirituals to Depression-era blues, from ragtime to traditional jazz — their sound evokes the rich musical heritage of their New Orleans home. The band has gained a loyal following through their distinctive sound, their commitment to reviving long-lost songs, and their barnstorming live performances. Their appeal is universal across all ages and backgrounds for their sheer exuberance, talent and belief in what they’re doing. Here they play -and Erika Lewis sings – that Bessie Smith classic “You Gotta Give Me Some”. Bring on more Skinnies!

Bookings for these and all other Spiegeltent delights can be made online at

3 responses to “The Syncopators and The Spiegeltent: an unbeatable combination

  1. Tuba Skinny … it is so good to see such a young group playing with such spirit …whether on Royal, Frenchman & now Melbourne for a second time you all gotta go & see this fine band …

  2. I have followed Tuba Skinny for a long time. It is truly delightful that these young people carry the flame for this great music which so needs new blood injected into it. Long may the group continue. They might go a long way to starting a new revival of interest in early jazz!

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