Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Melbourne Jazz Band: 27 years of Fair Dinkum Dixieland

New Melbourne Jazz Band: 27 years of Fair Dinkum Dixieland (English) New Melburne Jazz Band: 27 jaar "eerlijke" dixielandmuziek. (Nederlands)

Celebrating: 27 years Ross Anderson's New Melbourne Jazz Band - a trip of a lifetime
NEW MELBOURNE JAZZ BAND: 27 years of Fair Dinkum Dixieland
Hans Koert

Ross Anderson, bass player and leader of the New Melbourne Jazz Band celebrates this year the 30th anniversary of his band. In November 2008 the New Melbourne Jazz Band commemorated the fact that it was founded 27 years ago with a pictorial history exhibition of the Ross Anderson's New Melbourne Jazz Band at The Victorian Jazz Archive Inc in Melbourne and a double cd, "Celebrating, with a compilation of 35 tunes recorded during the past 27 years.

Ross Anderson (photo courtesy: Ross Anderson)
Ross Anderson, bass player and bandleader, was born in October 1934 in Melbourne ( Australia). As a young adult he started to sing in the Stan Anderson Quartet, as they discovered that his voice sounded like ....... Louis Armstrong. In 1951 he got the opportunity to play the bass in Stan's Quartet. Although he had never touched that instrument, he played at the gig at the Fire Station and became its regular bass player. He heard
Louis Armstrong several times and was fascinated by him. Oh - what a thrill! I can still remember things they did and tunes they played and sang, such as Baby Its Cold Outside. Louis played with his All-Stars ( together with Velma Middleton at the West Melbourne Stadium (1954)).

In 1973 Ross became a member of the Storyville All Stars and with this band he made his first recordings ( August 1975) for Jazznote. In 1981 he founded his own band for a one-night gig at the Limerick Arms Hotel in South Melbourne. The New Melbourne Jazz Band was born. In the frontline Derek Reynolds on trumpet, John Murray on trombone and Ian Walkear on reeds and a rhythm section of Rex Swann on drums, Clinton Smith on banjo and Ross Anderson on bass.

New Melbourne Jazz Band (photo courtesy: Ron Jobe)
They played a weekly gig at the Bridge Hotel in Richmond and in April 1983 one of his loyal fans Bruce Martin taped Alabammy Bound, one of the tracks on the album.

The band was invited to play at the World Dixieland Jazz Jubilee in Sacramento in California (USA), where they performed for 300,000 people (!). All of a sudden they were off on the start of what can only be described as a Trip of a Lifetime. Dixieland and mainstream and, according to this Celebrating album, Ross is still fascinated by Satchmo's gravely voice, like in Mack The Knife and What a Wonderful World. And what to say about that great swing guitar in the tune Mame, first recorded by Louis as Mame in 1966, but better known as Margie, in the rhythm section, played by John Cox? Most of the tracks are Dixieland standards, but also some rather unknown tunes, like Louis' I Love Jazz can be heard.

The New Melbourne Jazz Band became one of Australia's most popular Dixieland bands and they performed, except several times in Sacramento, in all parts of the world, like Bahrain, Vancouver, Hong Kong to list some.
On the 2cd album you can find almost three dozen tracks recorded between 1983 and 2008, a hodgepodge of experts from tours and gigs all over the country - a great survey of the music as played by the New Melbourne Jazz Band during the last 27 years. If you play the album it is fascinating to hear how the band developed from the traditional Dixieland sound to a style which remembers me to our own Dutch Swing College Band. In a previous blog I reviewed one of their albums, entitled
A Tribute To The Dutch Swing College, recorded in the late 1990s.

Ross Anderson with his own developed Anderson bass (photo courtesy: Ross Anderson)

Bass players might remember Ross Anderson's "undersized" double bass - He developed the instrument a dozen years ago. The Anderson-bass, easy to transport, but with the same deep sound of a full-sized double bass, is now a sought-after concept.

The title of the album is a bit a puzzle for a non-Australian: 27 plus years of "Fair Dinkum Dixieland". Fair Dinkum means in Australian slang something like honest ( To mean that something is truthful), but it was also the title of their first private 1986 New Melbourne Jazz Band lp album. All previous releases had been on cassette.

This Celebrating album is a great compilation of tunes, recorded by Ross Anderson's New Melbourne Jazz Band, which hopes to celebrate its 30th anniversary soon. Get yourself a copy

Hans Koert

The New Melbourne Jazz Band is directed by Ross Anderson. Ross, who plays his own developed undersized Anderson-bass, started his group thirty years ago in 1981 for a one-night gig at the Limerick Arms hotel in South Melbourne and developed it into one of the leading dixieland bands of Australia. Three years ago a pictorial history exhibition in The Victorian Jazz Archive Inc in Melbourne was a good reason to release a 2cd album with 35 tracks from its career. Keep Swinging liked it and published about it. If you don't want to miss any contribution, follow the blog at Twitter of ask for its free newsletter.

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Blogger jazza35 said...

What a lovely post!
The New Melbourne is one of our favourite bands, and Ross Anderson a good friend and a great musician. I'll certainly make a link to KEEP SWINGING on my blog JAZZ RAMBLE.
Keep Swinging!

11:32 AM  

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