Paul Dion and Friends at Down South Jazz

Special night promised: Multi-instrumentalist Paul Dion will be joined by his band at Club Sapphire on August 15.

Special night promised: Multi-instrumentalist Paul Dion will be joined by his band at Club Sapphire on August 15.

Jazz Club members and visitors are in for a treat when the Down South Jazz Club brings to the stage of Club Sapphire, "Paul Dion & Friends". featuring Paul Dion (clarinet/flute/sax/piano), James Luke (bass), Derrick "Noddy" Brassington (drums), Saul Richardson (guitar) and Colleen Spillane on vocals on Thursday, August 15.

Multi-instrumentalist Paul Dion is well known in the area and certainly no stranger to the Down South Jazz Club. His musical journey has been a colourful and varied one. Starting out as a self-taught 14-year-old clarinettist he played his first gig in a wool shed for five pounds in 1964.

At 16 a neighbour who enjoyed listening to him practise entered him in Holden Showcase and he made it to the finals. The legendary Frank Smith, a member of the Hector Crawford Showcase Orchestra, gave him free lessons and from then on his journey took a professional turn with regular session work and engagements in Sydney as a soloist and support musician for many international stars.

With the demise of the big bands Paul took up piano at the age of 23 and began working as a pianist/vocalist in the Sydney club scene and major hotel piano bars. Following study at the Sydney Conservatorium as a voice major he joined the then Australian Opera for five years as a tenor. It was this period that ignited the desire to compose musicals and he wrote 'Prix D'Amour' performed by Spectrum Theatre Group in July 2010.

Talented bass player James Luke.

Talented bass player James Luke.

James Luke plays all kinds of music and has played at many festivals from jazz to blues and country. Has also played in orchestras at the Sydney Opera House and has a Bachelor of Music with Honours. He manages to fit in a busy touring schedule and teaching part time at the ANU.

"Noddy" Brassington is one of Australia's most versatile drummers and percussionists. After starting his career in the Australian Army Band at RMC Duntroon, Noddy has gone on to play with many musicians and entertainers such as Shirley Bassey, John English, Normie Row, Grace Knight and many others. He has also musically directed the Blamey Street Big Band and played with Leisa and the Keen Kats on many occasions at the Merimbula Jazz Festival and other leading Australian jazz festivals. A big interest of his is helping youngsters develop their musical talents.

Vocalist Colleen Spillane.

Vocalist Colleen Spillane.

Guitarist Saul Richardson is principal at Jazz Workshop Australia, a music academy in St Leonards specialising in jazz education. He conducts the Sydney Youth Jazz Orchestras, is a jazz guitarist and bassist. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney in education and is an internationally recognised jazz educator who served for two years as Australasian representative on the Board of the International Association for Jazz Education. Saul has nearly 30 years of successful jazz teaching experience, directing combos and big bands in schools and community band programs as well as at JWA. He was also a recipient of the Merimbula Jazz Festival Award,

Guitarist and jazz educator Saul Richardson.

Guitarist and jazz educator Saul Richardson.

Colleen Spillane is very well known, both in the area and to the Down South Jazz Club. She studied singing at The Australian Institute of Music and UWS where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Honours). Since moving to Pambula, Colleen has become a successful jazz performer in her own right, singing with musicians at the Merimbula Jazz Festival, Down South Jazz Club and various venues throughout the south coast. Colleen draws audiences in with her rich velvety voice and stunning tone. She moves effortlessly from jazz to pop, blues and gospel.

Try not to miss this excellent night of jazz from a highly talented group of performers. Cost is $15 for jazz club members and $20 for visitors with music commencing at 7.30pm. Bookings can be made with Aileen/Kevin Walsh (64959853), at bookings@downsouthjazzclub.org.au, or will be available on the night at the door. The Club Sapphire bistro opens at 6pm; meals can either be eaten in the bistro, or ordered, collected and eaten at leisure while listening to the music.

Highly versatile drummer Noddy Brassington.

Highly versatile drummer Noddy Brassington.

This story Paul Dion and Friends at Down South Jazz first appeared on Merimbula News Weekly.

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