Cool club goes Old’skool

Bassist Mark Elton in action with Allan Browne in May 2012

Old’sKool Thursdays at Uptown Jazz Café,
177 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Doors at 8pm, music from 8.30pm

Cover charge: $20/$15


I have fond memories of travelling south from London in my Bedford van in 1979-80 to hear traditional jazz at the Lord Napier pub in Croydon, then hailed behind its stage as Britain’s leading jazz pub. Indeed it was there that I met Debra Frey. We are still together, but sadly the Lord Napier has closed permanently and we have not been out to hear that much trad jazz over the years.

Luckily for fans of trad jazz, Eugene Ball is curating a series of Thursday concerts at Uptown Jazz Cafe, dubbed Old’sKool Thursdays. Here are the bands and line-ups for February. Thanks to Eugene for the information.

February 4

Marky Mark Goes Olds’Kool

Mark Elton double bass, Steve Grant piano, Lyn Wallis drums, Eugene Ball trumpet, Jo Stevenson clarinet

Mark Elton lives a nomadic existence, trotting the globe from gig to gig. Fluent in all styles, he was raised in the early jazz community of Melbourne, and is perhaps best known as the bassist in the Hoodangers. More often a bridesmaid, this is a rare outing for Mark in the role of leader. He has assembled an all-star cast for the occasion!

The Largerphones

February 11

The Largerphones

The Lagerphones come from a traditional jazz heritage unique to Melbourne, finding influence not only in the Hoodangers and the Red Onions, but also Japanese popular songs, country, and various contemporary palpitations. After five tours in Japan and several Australian iterations, they are finally expanding from their paltry six-piece band to an expansive septet, featuring Ben Harrison (trumpet), Jon Hunt (clarinet), Justin Fermino (saxophone), James Macaulay (trombone), TBC (piano), Jono Browne (bass), and Nick Martyn (drums).  For this special performance at Uptown there will be several new songs as well as the opportunity for some dancing, drinking, and singing along. 

John Scurry’s Reverse Swing

February 18

John Scurry’s Reverse Swing – CD Launch

John Scurry guitar, Eugene Ball trumpet, Brennan Hamilton-Smith clarinet, Steve Grant alto saxophone, James Macaulay trombone, Matt Boden piano, Howard Cairns double bass, Danny Fischer, drums

John and the crew are so proud to launch their second album, Early Risers, into the world. Join the celebration with this epic cast. Formed by John Scurry to revisit swing-inspired small group acoustic jazz with a contemporary bent, Reverse Swing takes its repertoire from a broad musical palette, influenced by early jazz, standards and popular music, and showcases many of John’s original compositions.

“Sometimes Scurry’s music sounds like swing or mainstream, or even modern jazz, in reality it is Ellingtonian, defying categorisation” – Eric Myers, The Australian.

The Blue Devils

February 25

The Blue Devils

The Blue Devils are a Melbourne based band playing traditional and swing jazz. Led by reed player Jon Hunt, the band focuses on the music of Sidney Bechet, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington and has a passion for featuring some lesser known 1920s and 30s gems in their sets. During the three years Jon spent living in New York he regularly played and recorded with Grammy winners Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks and toured throughout the US, Europe and Asia with Gordon Webster’s swing band. Before moving back to Melbourne permanently, Jon recorded his album House Rent Blues with many of the musicians from these bands, and is excited to continue to explore this music with his new group The Blue Devils.

Details of the months to come will be posted as they become available.

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