St Kilda Jazz Stories is a 38 minute film homage to Australian jazz history through the lens of St Kilda’s significant venues (including Memo Music Hall). It features music from local jazz luminaries with archive footage, photographs and interviews revealing stories from the dance halls, coffee lounges, clubs, pubs and bars from the 1920s to today. Since its world premiere at St Kilda Film Festival in June 2019, it has been selected for screening and awarded Best Short Documentary (runner-up) at Jukebox International Film Festival (USA), was a semi-finalist at the Australian Independent Film Festival, and made official selection at Blow-Up International Arthouse Film Festival in Chicago.
More than 24 hours of audio and video interviews were recorded with over 20 people. Sharing their entertaining insights are musicians Eugene Ball, Bob Barnard, Rebecca Barnard, Margie Lou Dyer, Peter Gaudion, Judy Jacques, Vince Jones, Nick Polites, John Scurry, Bob Sedergreen, Ted Vining, Paul Williamson, Julien Wilson and Barry Wratten. Other interviewees include sound engineer Bill Armstrong; Len Davis, Cameron Paine and Ian Stanistreet sharing insights to the first 20 years of 3PBS Community Radio; and founder of Jazz Centre 44, Horst Liepolt.
“Jazz Centre 44… They were the halcyon days of modern jazz music in Melbourne.” – Ted Vining.
“What I remember about Jazz Centre 44 was the dancing… It was the place to be. It was bohemian.”– Judy Jacques.
The soundtrack includes Warwick ‘Wocka’ Dyer with Frank Johnson’s Fabulous Dixielanders, Judy Jacques and the Yarra Yarra New Orleans Jazz Band, Bob Barnard on trumpet with Len Barnard’s Jazz Band, Allan Lee on vibes with Len Barnard’s Modern Jazz Band, Allan Browne’s Red Onions, John Scurry’s Reverse Swing, and the Margie Lou Dyer Quintet.
St Kilda Jazz Stories was researched, written and directed by Kaye E. Blum who also created the St Kilda Jazz Heritage Tour. The film was edited by Hayley Miro Browne. As well as a talented editor, Hayley is also a third generation jazz musician – her grandfather was legendary trombonist Warwick ‘Wocka’ Dyer, her mother is pianist/ vocalist/composer Margie Lou Dyer, and her father was the late, great musician Allan Browne (The Red Onions, Allan Browne’s New Orleans Rascals, and more). Hayley plays the washboard in Margie Lou Dyer’s Quintet.
Read Beat magazine’s review of the film here.
Image credit: Telefil Recording Studios (St Kilda Memorial Hall) c.1950s, photo courtesy Russ Thompson & Bill Armstrong.