1998

During the year, membership increased to 188, the best figure since 1984.

The Merimbula Jazz Festival Committee became a sub – committee of the Down South Jazz Club Committee. This, in effect, meant that the festival came under the incorporation umbrella of the DSJC, with definite advantages to the sub committee members. A series of rules was drawn up, which closely governs who can become members of the sub – committee, thereby safeguarding the future of the festival. The responsibility for policy decisions and the running of the festival remain with the sub – committee. With the resource of the DSJC people and the above rules, it appears the future of the festival is secure.

The quality of sound at the Lakeview left something to be desired. After some experimentation, a good solution resulted from the use of George Pitt’s speakers on the stage, on stands built for the purpose, with one of the Club’s speakers used as a fold back unit and the other mounted on the right hand wall near the entrance.

During the year, the Committee did their best to adhere to the decision to present visiting artists / bands on alternate months with local bands. The visitors were:

15th January – Tony Thomas, Jim Hilson and Geoff Speed (The Black Mountain front line) with John Moffatt, Bill McLean & Walter Brunton – Lakeview.
19th March – Sapphire Coastal Patrol, with Margie Fullerton (piano), Alex Hutchinson (clarinet), Graeme Steel (trumpet), Gordon Benjamin (reeds), Peter Horton (trombone), Tony Fullerton (bass) and Ken Vatcher (drums) – Lakeview.
16th April – Bob Barnard and John McCarthy with Margie and Tony Fullerton and Ken Vatcher – Lakeview.
5th – 8th June – 18th Merimbula Jazz Festival.
11th June – Down South Jazz Quartet with the well regarded musicians remaining in town after the Jazz Festival – Lakeview.
24th August – Madam Pat and her Quartet, comprising Ben Johnson (piano), Kim Rushworth (reeds), Greg Williams (bass) and Roger Kennedy (drums) – Lakeview.
15th October – Sapphire Coastal Patrol, featuring Alex Hutchinson and Graeme Steel- Lakeview.
28th October – Swedish Jazz Kings – joint presentation with Bega Arts Council – Bega RSL Auditorium.
27th November – Black Mountain Jazz Band – Lakeview.
17th December – Christmas Function – Bob Barnard, John McCarthy and Bernd Lhotsky with Ken Vatcher – Lakeview.

The wonderful array of talent presented during the year must have matched that of many of the much larger, well established jazz clubs in capital cities. Our audience seemed to appreciate it and numbers attending and, more importantly, the numbers becoming members, grew in a most encouraging manner. The number of members attending the Bob Barnard night in December was 122 out of 139, certainly a record for the Club.

On the negative side, the attendance at the Swedish Jazz Kings function, again jointly presented with the Bega Arts Council, was very poor, resulting in a loss shared by the two organisations of $2,220. Considering this band is rated as one of the top trad jazz bands in the world, and the previous performance received rave reviews, it is difficult to know what to put on to obtain the approbation of the Club members.