Wedding At Cupitt’s Winery

Last week the five-piece Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters’ played for Angus & Alex’s wedding at Cupitt’s Winery near Milton on the south coast of NSW

Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Broadcasters are a Great Gatsby trio to 6-piece band who take you back in time to the 1920s and 1930s with authentic small group Hot Jazz and swing. Singer and band leader Greg Poppleton is Sydney’s only authentic 1920s and 1930s singer

Visit the Broadcasters’ official website, 

Greg Poppleton, Sydney's only 1920s and 1930s style swing and jazz singer
Greg Poppleton, Sydney’s only 1920s and 1930s style swing and jazz singer. Pic by Nigel Unsworth Photography

What a fantastic reception. A beautiful couple celebrating with great family and friends, dancing the night away to Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Broadcasters in a glorious location of rolling fields and vineyards overlooking the top of Burrill Lake and the rugged, Croobyar Forest and mountains in the west

Capturing plenty of magic moments for posterity was photographer Nigel Unsworth. Nigel took some stunning photos of the band and below I’d like to introduce you to the band through Nigel’s sharp, evocative portraiture with Angus’ and Alex’s kind permission

Angus and Alex emailed the band after to say: “how pleased we were with the band – and how much all of our guests enjoyed the music as well. Alex and I were particularly impressed by the rendition of Beyond the Sea and how easy you guys made it for us to perform our first dance (which we were very nervous about leading up to it but greatly enjoyed on the night). It was also very cool that Jamie was able to play a couple of tracks and for Linda to sing a few – all in all, it was a fantastic night of music and we greatly appreciate the effort you and the band put in coming down the coast for the night”.

Thank you Angus & Alex

Now if you’d like to book Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters for your occasion, please visit the Broadcaasters’ Enquiry Page. We answer all enquiries very quickly

Based in NSW, Nigel travels interstate on a regular basis to photograph weddings and for other photographic projects. He captures emotions, focusing on the natural and on the relationships between people. In the shots of the band below, you’ll see that Nigel has captured some fascinating human moments

Firstly, here’s Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Broadcasters’s trumpet and trombone player, Al Davey

Al Davey, jazz trumpet and trombone with Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band
Al Davey, jazz trumpet and trombone with Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band

Al Davey is one of Sydney’s busiest swing trumpet players. He also plays trombone with Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band

Al Davey has been called one of Australia’s best jazz trumpet exponents. His trumpet playing is described by Jazz Critic John Shand as “being plump of sound and sharp of line.” He also doubles at weddings and events on trombone for Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Jazz. From Melbourne, Al began playing in a brass band at 8 and in his late teens joined the 3rd Military District Band. He moved to Sydney were he was accepted into the jazz course at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and was tutored by many greats, including Don Burrows, James Morrison, Judy Bailey, Roger Frampton and Mike Nock. Since completing the course he has been a very successful freelance musician on the Sydney scene, playing in many jazz groups and backing many big names in the cabaret scene. Al was the ‘Festival Ambassador’ at the Clarence by the Water Jazz Festival in Hobart in 2007 and a featured solo artist at the 2008 Thredbo Jazz Festival

Playing piano – Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Broadcasters’ professor, Peter Locke. Nigel Unsworth snapped him in an unguarded moment…

Peter Locke, jazz and swing piano with Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Dance Band
Peter Locke, jazz and swing piano with Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Dance Band

Peter is Sydney’s most in demand swing pianist. He’s recently toured the US twice and Europe once, playing jazz clubs and festivals

From Europe is Bakelite Broadcasters double bass player, Dieter Vogt. Nigel‘s camera captures Dieter in a musically intimate moment…

Dieter Vogt, swing double bassist with Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Swing Jazz Band
Dieter Vogt, swing double bassist with Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Swing Jazz Band

Dieter Vogt has played double bass all over the world. Dieter was born in Basel, Switzerland, and began his musical career at the age of 12 playing the trumpet. At 17 he took up the double bass and played with the Oscar Klein Quartet. (Oscar Klein played with Lionel Hampton & Joe Zawinul.) He migrated to Sydney and became a foundation member of the Daly-Wilson Big Band. Dieter went to the USA, playing for a year with the Allan Pennay Trio. On his return he joined Winnifred Attwell for eight months touring Australia. Dieter toured China and South East Asia with the Nolan-Buddle Quartet. He also toured with Ricky May and Georgie Fame, and again toured Australia with British jazz stars, Humphrey Lyttleton and Alex Welsh in their Salute to Satchmo. Dieter toured with Graeme Bell’s All-Stars around Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, China, Hong Kong, the Phillipines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Japan

On drums was the man who’d played in Cliff Richard’s big band when Cliff Richard’s was still a big star with the Shadows, Laurie Bennett. Here’s Laurie as photographed by Nigel Unsworth

Laurie Bennett drums. Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Swing Jazz Band
Laurie Bennett drums. Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Swing Jazz Band

Drummer Laurie Bennett comes from a musical Sydney family. He has played in the bands of Don Burrows, Johnny Nicol and Judy Bailey to name a few. He was a long time member of Geoff Harvey’s TCN Channel 9 Midday Show Band. Laurie has played on many tours throughout Asia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Europe and has performed throughout Australia. He has backed many international Jazz artists such as Richie Cole, The Toshiko Akyoshi Orchestra, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Buddy Tate, Eddie ‘Lockjaw Davis, Joe Newman and has played for many local and international cabaret performers including Buddy Greco, Harry Secombe and Liza Minnelli

Now for Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Broadcasters’ singer and band leader and author of this post – Greg Poppleton. Nigel’s camera caught me in a very expressive moment rendering a 1930s love song, hair flopping everywhere Cab Calloway style…

Greg Poppleton is Sydney's only authentic 1920s and 1930s swing and jazz singer
Greg Poppleton is Sydney’s only authentic 1920s and 1930s swing and jazz singer

From my own publicity, let me introduce myself …”The darling of Sydney underground cabaret, Greg Poppleton is Sydney’s only 1920s and 1930s swing and jazz singer. Operatically trained by the same New York maestro who discovered Bette Midler, Greg has a 4.5 octave range. He plays with only the best internationally touring classic jazz musicians

Greg sings in clubs, for weddings, corporate functions, parties and historical events. He was chosen to sing at the sold out first Sydney Artists’ Ball recreating the wild, bohemian Sydney Town Hall Sydney Artist Balls of the early 1920s. He opened the International Sunset Jazz Concert series at SKYCITY Darwin in 2007. He has played at the Vanguard (sold out), the 75th Anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the 60th Anniversary of Film Australia and for the Wallabies. And he DJs his exclusive collection of swing & jazz from live 1920s-60s radio & TV twice weekly on his award-winning Phantom Dancer Radio show on 2SER-FM and for Jingle Jangle and the Pan Dimensional Halloween Syndicate

Now if you’d like to book Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters for your occasion, please visit the Broadcaasters’ Enquiry Page. We answer all enquiries very quickly

And, of course, if you wish to engage the photographic services of Mr Nigel Unsworth, well, we heartily recommend him and here is his website

Phantom Dancer CD and Greg Poppleton Voiceovers

Hello Radio Loungers,

I’m nearing the end of rebuilding my website, home of Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Dance Band – 1920s & 1930s Hot Jazz & Swing

Lots of new pics and film clips still to go up, but here are two newies I’d like to share with you

This first one is a slide show of mostly recent live band photos taken by professional photographers. Most are by the stunningly talented photogapher, Janine Kaye

The white background shots are by Robert Stow, Hornsby Arts, for a music mag shoot

The soundtrack to the clip is from the Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band album “The Phantom Dancer: 14 Swing Era Songs of 1926 – 1939 in Radio Review” available at CDBaby for US $9.99 (mp3) and US $12.97 (CD with 8-page glossy booklet of song facts and historic 1920s & 30s photos from my archives)

The second clip is a voice reel of commercial radio ads I’ve been doing for a major radio network. I hope you enjoy them. And that’s my current actor headshot in the mix. While I freelance as a voiceover, my film & TV agent is Woodburn-Sweitzer Management


Torwood Lounge

I want to share something most extraordinary with you. It’s called the Torwood Lounge, 247 Rocky Point Road, Sans Souci

This is one of Sydney’s hidden gems and I happily stumbled across it in the line of musical duty last Friday night

You see, the Greg Poppleton Bakelite Trio played there last Friday night. It was a corporate Murder Mystery night. The stars were Murder Mystery Fun who provided the murder, while Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters murdered the music

Murder Mystery Fun was, as always, fun. Afterwards, the Greg Poppleton Bakelite Trio got guests on the dance floor and guests took dozens of photos of themselves with the band. Everyone had a great time at the Torwood Lounge

The Lounge was built in 1963 and it retains that early 60s modernist feeling of space and optimism. It’s one of the few rooms in Sydney where you walk in and go ‘WOW!’ – you’re transported. (I personally rank the Cello Room in the City and the small ballroom of the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba as the two other ‘WOW’ rooms about in Sydney.)

And just like the Cello Room and Carrington, the Torwood Lounge and the music of Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters fit together hand in glove. The Bakelite Band’s repertoire, though 1920s & 30s, is very much a part of early 60s Australian popular culture and heightens the experience of this historic room. In return, the room heightens the experience of the music

However, the room is just the icing on the cake. Reema and her staff who run the Lounge are the friendliest, most generous and genuine event managers you will be lucky to meet. And that’s so important when you and your guests will be spending hours in their room celebrating

In the kitchen, Rob, who also teaches cooking, is the masterchef. Everything that came out of his kitchen on Friday night is perfect – classic dishes from the oysters to the roast lamb and the chicken curry which everyone raved about. Yum

And is this room CLEAN!. I’ve never seen a room so CLEAN. The axminster carpet is immaculate. It’s glorious!

I’ve taken a picture off the Torwood Lounge website to show you this classic 60s room, but really this is a case of seeing is believing. You have to walk into the room to fully appreciate it. Maybe I’ll be able to post a picture of the band playing on the Torwood Lounge stage and post that for you soon, till then, here’s the Lounge (dance floor in foreground) set up for a wedding reception

Torwood Lounge, 247 Rocky Point Road Sans Souci
Torwood Lounge, 247 Rocky Point Road Sans Souci

Bakelite Dance Band Review – Castle Lounge, Penrith. Saturday 20 Nov 2010

Caption: Exactly Like You. Guffaws and groove aside, this reviewer asks, if this is swing, where are the dancing girls?

PS: – The CD Greg is taking about in the video clip that will make a lovely coaster for your coffee table is the band’s Phantom Dancer CD: 14 songs from 1926 – 1939. Only 5 are left at CD Baby for only $US 12.97 + Postage. Get yours now while they’re still available

Band Review by Tony Deff, Jazz Critic, Penrith Bugle

“When the Bugle’s editor-in-chief told me to cover the action at Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band’s show in the Castle Lounge last Saturday afternoon, he added, “And use a lot of superlatives. These boys need a break. The bass player has played for Tony Bennett. For crying out loud, that’s a suit outlet!”

Well I thought at the time that superlatives meant extra strong laxatives. Turns out I didn’t need them…

On entering the Castle Lounge I was instantly struck by the show’s stage designer, the flamboyant Coco de Lamé

“Sorry,” she apologised afterwards. “From behind you look just like that bitch of an agent, Noah. He hasn’t paid me in months.”

Lamo, as she is affectionately known, went on to explain her stage concept to me for the band.

“It’s all about irony, darling.,” she purred. “The curtains along the back wall suggest inevitability. The plain wall down one side, domesticity. The toilet door in the background refers to the music.” (See video below)

At that I hastily excused myself

The bandleader gave the downbeat, 1,2,3,4,5 and the dance floor filled with dancers

As a learned music critic, I make the following notes about the band…

1. Grahame Conlon, guitar. The guitar Grahame plays has 6 strings. Each string makes a different sound. Played in combination, Grahame is able to create a palette of sounds that follow the melody. Sometimes in the middle of a tune he makes up his own melody. This is called improvisalisation

2. Darcy Wright, double bass. I don’t know how he does it. Playing the guitar must be hard enough. Granted, the bass has two fewer strings. But on the bass the strings go up and down instead of side by side. A totally new direction in jazz. Crazy, man.

3. Bob Gillespie, drums. Bob had a lot of drums in his kit. I noted that the bigger the drum, the deeper the boom. The cymbals (pronounced symbols, I’m reliably told) make a metallic ting. The only suggestion this set of ears has is that there should be a square drum placed slightly to the right of the drummer and up a bit. The square drum would fill the round hole I sensed percussionistically.

4. Greg Poppleton, singer. Do singers have to sing? This jazz critic for one says a big fat NO. What’s wrong with skiddily-diddily bed-ee bop? Now that’s jazz. As for presentation, his dress wasn’t short enough. In fact he was wearing a suit!

Band manager and agent Noah Problemo, whose roster of real stars include the Koala Suit Stompers, Hot Harmonica Hepcats and Vegemite on Toast – The Musical, (where I occasionally cameo as ‘Ol’ Crusty’), was surprisingly upbeat about the band, “Some laughs, some songs, (I winced). But too many people on the dance floor – not enough bums on seats.”

“Do you mean like in a soup kitchen,” this jazz reviewer parried wittily.

Noah stopped a passing drunk. “Go tell the band to stop that noise for a minute. I’m trying to talk to the man from the Bugle!”

“So how would you put Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band in a nutshell?” I grilled the legendary agent.

“I don’t like putting bands in nutshells,” Noah huffed. “Jazz critics are always asking me to put bands in nutshells. It’s impossible!” His eyes brightened. “Unless, of course, I get the set designer to build me a big nutshell on stage to put the band in for the 8 January show. But how do I get Lamo to do all that for nothing?” Noah laughed as the obvious came to him. “I’ll tell her it’ll be great for her portfolio.”

At that, the band stumbled back on stage for their seventh set and I had to race back to the toilets – to write this review, of course

So what do I think of the band? Well, in a nutshell, this inky-fingered hack gives Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Dance Band two fingers”