ONE of my more innocent pastimes is reading back issues of jazz magazines. A recent piece of bedside reading was from the Sydney Jazz Club’s incomparable Quarterly Rag, the Pre-Convention Issue for 1962.
In those days the SJC had regular gigs every Friday and Saturday night at the Ironworkers Building, 188 George Street, Sydney. The Saturday night gig was on two floors with two bands, all for the price of one entry fee.
On Page 15 there was an extract from the Melbourne Sun reporting on the 25th Anniversary of the Melbourne University Rhythm Club:
The Melbourne University Rhythm Club, probably the oldest jazz club in Australia, will celebrate its 25th anniversary at a concert in Wilson Hall tomorrow [date?] night. And playing in Tony Newstead’s group will be nine men who have between them 21 university degrees: Tony (trumpet) with four degrees; George Tack (clarinet), one; Ken Ingram (trombone), three; Ade Monsbourgh (alto sax), two; Willie McIntyre (piano), two; Russ Murphy (drums), three; Bill Tope (banjo), three; Keith Cox (bass), one; and Bill Miller (wash-board) two degrees.
The Melbourne University Rhythm Club was established by Ade Monsbourgh and others in 1937, so the silver anniversary would have been in 1962. Here’s a photo of Tony Newstead’s Southside Gang from Bruce Johnson’s Oxford Companion to Australian Jazz which includes several of the musos mentioned in the Sun article.
Lineup: David Ward (tbn), Tony Newstead (tpt), Don Reid (dms), Ray Simpson (gtr), Will McIntyre (p), George Tack (clt), Keith Cox (bs).
THEN there was an announcement that THE NAT OLIVER JAZZ CLUB was moving to new quarters.
It is just over 5 months since “Nat Oliver Jazz Club” opened at 408 Kent Street. Having gained just on 1,750 members in that time, the club is now moving on to better premises in a far more central position in the city.
THURSDAY 1ST NOVEMBER 1962 “The Nat Oliver Jazz Club” opens at The Suzie Wong Restaurant in the Boulevarde Arcade – between King, Pitt and Rowe Streets.
The club will be run basically as it is at present. Nat Oliver’s New Orleans Jazzmen playing the four nights Thursday to Sunday, with vocalist Mary Lane, Friday and Saturday nights.
The club will be open at 7.30pm each night and there will be an admission fee of 6/-.
Espresso coffee, iced drinks, meals etc. will be available, but members are not under any obligation to go the further expense of buying a meal.
It will be the Nat Oliver Jazz Club on these four nights, and the aim of the band and the club will continue to be “to further the interest and appreciation of traditional New Orleans Jazz.”
Here’s a picture of the band from p. 30 of the magazine, all in their 20’s. How many jazz clubs nowadays have a membership of over 1,000 I wonder?
Lineup: Oliver Hetherington, Dave Hetherington, Des Bader (bj), Don McCormack (drms), John Bates (tbn), Ray Dermody (bs), Mary Lane (vocals).