Tag Archives: The Dilworths


Oliver Lake
Oliver Lake is one of the international artists at Wangaratta Jazz


Wangaratta Jazz demystified — ROGER MITCHELL reflects on the musical feast about to unfold this weekend

HE wears a black beret to match his clothes, snaps his fingers to a private beat and calls everyone “man”, but you won’t often find him among the madding crowd on Cup weekend at Wangaratta Jazz. He is the caricature of a jazz fan.

The annual festival is bursting at the seams, with queues at many gigs demonstrating its broad appeal. Many who attend are connoisseurs of improvised music — let’s call them jazz tragics — but they may not stand out from the crowd.

Look for the knitted brows of concentration as, armed with a detailed concert schedule — possibly uploaded to the mandatory iPhone — the tragic moves with military precision from gig to gig, flashing the priority entry that will ensure a good seat in the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre Theatre.

The tragic will make sure he or she catches international artists, such as Oliver Lake, Jeff Neve, Sara Serpa or Yuri Honing, who may not be household names.

The tragic will break only for strong coffee or a hasty discussion over dinner with other aficionados. The talk will be about which jazz standards were alluded to in the free improvisation session that afternoon, whether a visiting virtuoso justly treated a favourite Ornette Coleman piece, and who actually deserved to win this year’s National Jazz Awards.

In far greater numbers will be the music festival lovers. They’ll be more relaxed and slightly less organised, knowing that their festival pass will get them into every venue, even if it means queuing early for the popular performers, such as Kurt Elling, or taking a chance and rolling up at the last minute.

They’ll delight in discovering the diverse settings for music apart from the two arts centre venues, grabbing a coffee as they enjoy The Dilworths or The Catholics under canvas at Jazz on Ovens, or strolling across to the majestic Holy Trinity Cathedral to catch Oliver Lake solo or Rob Burke and Tony Gould. They will pore over the CDs on sale as they file into St Patrick’s Hall to hear suites by Stu Hunter’s quartet and Allan Browne’s quintet.

Festival lovers will be less critical and often openly enthusiastic, warmly greeting musicians outside after a gig — grabbing all available CDs in minutes — or happily joining them for coffee or a glass of wine at Hot Jazz Cafe or the arts centre’s Intermezzo.

They’ll be comfortably dressed, with good shoes for walking between venues, a hat and sun block, as well as a brolly just in case. And while many will stick to music they expect to enjoy, lots of other festival lovers will sample the unknown — and discover that they love it.

Blues fans have a program all their own, so they won’t stray too far from the blues marquee in Apex Park, where the music just keeps on coming. The sunscreen and hats are vital if the weather is warm, because not everyone can fit under the shade. And a footy poncho will not go astray in case of rain while Diesel or Debbie Davies are on stage.

Over at the free stage on Reid St is the place to find the regional festival fan, happy to have escaped the city for a long weekend and with an appetite for food and wine to go with the music. This bon vivant may pop into the Pinsent Hotel for some hot traditional jazz and will certainly scout the local craft and produce markets, as well as the wineries hosting free outdoor jazz concerts on Monday before the Melbourne Cup.

At the Cup Eve Concert, the WPAC Theatre will fill with worn-out jazz tragics, relaxed festival lovers, satiated fans of fine fare and even a few blues fans who may have decided it was wiser to walk than drive. It’s the safest of bets that everyone will have a night to top off a great weekend.

Wangaratta Jazz, October 29 to November 1.

An edited version of this article appeared in the Herald Sun newspaper, Melbourne, on October 29, 2010



It was a hectic day as the two festivals crossed swords for our custom. So with the sounds of the Big Jam ringing in my ears, and after literary delights at the extempore launch, and after the Paul Grabowsky Sextet at Bennetts Lane (phew!) it was time to see off the fringe festival in the best way possible — with great music at a comfortably packed Cafe 303.


Daz Hammond Combo

Darrin Archer on hammond, Hugh Stuckey on guitar, Tim Wilson on sax and Andy Keegan on drums, with Ben Hauptmann sitting in occasionally had the place humming when I arrived and they fired some good energy into the gathering.

Tim Wilson
Tim Wilson

Ben Hauptmann
Ben Hauptmann

Jess Green’s Bright Sparks came on to close the night and close the fringe festival. What a finale! Ronny Ferella on drums had had only one rehearsal (it didn’t seem to matter) in the afternoon with the band, which included Zoe Frater, now a Melburnian, on electric bass. A high-powered crew from up north made up the rest of the band, comprising Jess Green on guitar and vocals, Adrian Shaw on trumpet and percussion, Sandy Evans on tenor sax, John Hibbard on trombone and Lachlan McLean on alto sax.

Jess Green's Bright Sparks
Jess Green’s Bright Sparks

In an energetic, robust set, the Bright Sparks played Orange Rock Song, Your Checkered Shirt, Patterns and Stories, the edgy Alias, the softer Mali-referenced and zydeco-feeling Bamako Youth, Clickety Clack and the Full Moon O’er the Thames and an ode to Nick entitled Dear Mr Cave. There were some great solos from Shaw, Evans, Hibbard, Frater, McLean, Ferella and Green — yes, that’s everyone, but it’s true. There was plenty of room for soloing, but no one was trying to grab the limelight and the compositions allowed for plenty of duos and trios in the highlights.

Adrian Shaw and Sandy Evans
Adrian Shaw and Sandy Evans

Bar 303 was pretty crowded for a gig going so late, but I could not help thinking that, like The Dilworths, here was an ensemble that would really hold a crowd on a big occasion. There is a lot of talent in Sydney and we have the Jazz Fringe Festival to thank for bringing us some as a treat.

Speaking of thanks, Sonja Horbelt in particular and other Fringe committee members deserved a huge thank you from audiences for their efforts in making this festival such a success. Bring on the next MJFF in 2011!


Melbourne Jazz Co-op A-Live Series: Bennetts Lane Jazz Club


Eamon Dilworth
Alex looks green, while Eamon blows his own trumpet.

The Dilworths rock! Down from Sydney and having fun, Eamon and musician mates Karl Laskowski on tenor sax, Alex Boneham on acoustic bass, Cameron Reid on drums and percussion, and Steve Barry on piano (filling in at short notice for Hugh Barrett, who is in Brazil) had Bennetts Lane’s small room swinging.

The Dilworths
The Dilworths

More on this later, but it was a great gig. They played with heaps of energy and verve, but also with considerable expression. The first set consisted of Lettin’ Loose, Satura, the moving Lily Song, Dealing With the Inevitable and, at the end, The Return of the End. All are tracks from the recent eponymous album.
New material in the second set included Thankyou Mr Kneebody, Soat (by Steve Barry), Trapped, Rhyme and Tell, and Used.

Eamon Dilworth
Eamon Dilworth and Alex Boneham

Cameron Reid
Cameron Reid

Karl and Eamon
Karl’s watching that trumpeter in action

Karl and Alex
Karl and Alex in a face-off

Alex Boneham
Alex Boneham cuts loose

Karl, Alex and Eamon
Karl, Alex and Eamon swinging

For more about The Dilworths, visit their website.