Jazz band weaves web of intrigue
By JANE GARDNER
THE jury is still out on what exactly drew the 50-strong audience to watch Pete Ransom's jazz band play at the Richmond Tavern in Lismore yesterday ? it was either the smooth sound of traditional jazz or their baffling name.
Pete and eight other musicians make up www.ukuleleladies.fish.net, a 'convention-only' band featuring talent from all corners of Australia.
"It's a fun band because I can play the ukulele and share some old songs with a few like minds, even though some would say those minds are a bit warped," Pete said.
"We've chosen this band name because Ukulele Ladies is a classic song and I guess we just wanted to be a bit more cutting edge."
A devoted jazz conventioner, the banjo/ukulele player attended his first in Sydney back in 1962.
He says the charm of the conventions lies in the rawness of the performances.
"These people are extremely good musicians who live all over the country, but everything we play is unrehearsed because we don't see each other to practice."
The jazz convention is purely not-for-profit and none of the performers get paid. They simply play to have some fun.
While the convention is seen as a national institution, Pete believes the scene is in slow decline.
"People have aged and our sort of traditional jazz isn't being played by the younger generation, because it doesn't appeal to them," he said.
The band www.ukuleleladies.fish.net also features Michelle Ransom, Alison Mobbs, Len Bagnall, Brett Iggulden, Adrian Ford, Maurie Fabrikant, Matt Eves and Dave Sutton.
They are among about 120 jazz musicians who will continue to liven up the streets of Lismore until New Year's Day as part of the 60th Annual Jazz Convention.
Weekly passes cost $80, or $25 for a day pass, with tickets available at the Lismore City Hall.