WHAT began in the 1930s as Gay’s Swing Band at Deepdene Scout Hall took Graeme and Roger Bell and their Dixieland revivalists to Prague in 1947 (helped by the Eureka Youth League), then newspaper front pages and the Hot Club in Paris and to London’s Soho in 1948 to start the London Jazz Club, which initiated “jazz for dancing”. The band was greeted by 1300 fans in Perth on its return.
Bill Armstrong’s painstaking revival of these sessions from vinyl pressings on Regal, Supraphon, Pacific and Tempo, with recollections of the Bells, provides a fascinating insight into the Australian roots of what became known in the ’60s as traditional jazz.
A highlight is Ade Monsbourgh on clarinet and on vocals.
File between: Frank Johnson, Lu Watters
Download: South, Organ Grinder Blues
Review published previously in Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne