Sunday night is Carnival Night in the Victoria Room – music, acrobats, magicians and burlesque – all from 7 – 10pm
“What is this magical place?” I hear you ask. Well, I’ll quote from their website for you: “The Victoria Room restaurant and bar in Sydney’s Darlinghurst is an ultra smooth dining establishment. Richly decorated in British-Raj style, this exotic dining room and award-winning cocktail bar exude bon-vivant chic.”
Now see for yourself. Check out the band pics at te Victoria Room by Rick Monk…
Greg Poppleton and Bakelite Jazz played two sets for Carnival diners. First, as a duo, with Greg crooning the songs of the 1920s and 1930s backed by Grahame Conlon on guitar…
Then, later in the evening, Stan Valacos, joined in on double bass,
And just like the band’s July appearance in the Victoria Room – it was full house. That doesn’t mean crowded and uncomfortable, either. In the Victoria Room, a full house is buzzy and alive. It’s that kind of space. You feel good
You can feel good and have Greg Poppleton and Bakelite Jazz at your place, too. Or have us at your wedding, corporate function, Great Gatsby and Underbelly Razor party. You can have the band as small as a duo and as big as a sextet – and everything in between. We can even play without electricity! Simply call or email me (Greg) at the band’s official website to discuss your requirements
We look forward to enhancing the magic of your evening soon
This Melbourne Cup found Greg Poppleton’s Bakelite Trio entertaining diners on the harbour in the spectacular Manly Pavilion. The Manly Pavilion is one of Sydney’s exciting, new, top-line restaurants. You’ll find it in a beautiful 1933 deco building right on the water at Manly Cove Beach.
The Pavilion was full of happy guests dressed up for race day, enjoying the spectacular food, wines and harbour views that Manly Pavilion has to offer
Greg Poppleton’s Bakelite Trio serenaded guests after the cup was run with songs from the 1930s, since we were in a 1930s heritage building, and with requests from the era by guests. In the trio was myself as Sydney’s only authentic 1920s and 1930s singer with Peter Locke on piano and Darcy Wright, named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the world’s top ten jazz double bassists, on, well, you guessed it
Here’s a short clip of the trio playing Gus Arnheim’s 1931 hit, ‘Sweet & Lovely’ with myself crooning. I was unaware of the catwalk parade of Melbourne Cup fashions in the background while I was singing (on the TV put up to show the races on Cup Day) until I saw the film back. Voila! An instant video clip! Enjoy…
If you don’t know about Manly Pavilion yet, here’s a good, clear description I found online:
“Awarded 1 Chef’s Hat -The Age Good Food Guide 2012 – ‘Best New Restaurant’
Originally built in 1933 as a dressing room for the comfort of bathers, the heritage-listed Manly Pavilion has been restored to its original grandeur and beauty boasting soaring ceilings, an Italian marble terrazzo balcony and unrivalled views of Sydney Harbour. The modern Australian menu, created by Tony Gibson, former head chef at Astral, has a focus on local produce.” BestResturants.com.au
I can personally tell you that the food is fantastic!
I’ve also taken the liberty of posting for you a view of Manly Pavilion from the harbour, taken from the above website
Eventhough I was pushing a trolley of PA equipment across Sydney, I found it really easy and enjoyable to get to Manly Pavilion. After taking the train to Circular Quay, I hopped on the Manly Ferry for a laid-back half-hour boat ride across the harbour. This is what tourists pay thousands to do. And I was doing it to play at Manly Pavilion! So on the way back I took a happy snap of the blue Pacific in early evening as the ferry was passing South Head. What a beautiful day!
To enquire about Greg Poppleton and Bakelite Jazz for your event, wedding, corporate function and party, please visit the band’s official website at www.bakelitejazz.com. We look forward to playing for you
It was the opening night for Art and About 2011. Greg Poppleton’s Bakelite Jazz played 1920s and 1930s jazz and swing for the first night crowd at the Art Gallery of NSW. Here’s a short clip from the night. Had the camera been pointed the other way, instead of towards the Enquiry Desk, you’d see hundreds of people gathered to see the band (you can hear them at the end of this short taster…)
One of the Gallery’s current exhibitions is Mad Square, Modernity in German Art 1910 – 1937. The Gallery has put out a CD of 1920s and 1930s music as part of the exhibition. So I chose songs from that CD to include in the Bakelite Jazz set, including ‘Falling In Love Again’, which I sang for the very first time, performing the song made iconic by Marlene Dietrich in both German and English.
Greg Poppleton and Bakelite Jazz attracted a huge crowd who loved the show. In fact, I’ve been stopped in the street a few times by people who said how much they enjoyed the show. We look forward to playing for you soon. Visit the band website to see where you can see the band next or to enquire about the band for your occasion
Greg Poppleton, Sydney’s only authentic 1920s and 1930s hot jazz and swing singer, with a 3.5 octave vocal range, recently sang at a 1920s party held in the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, with his 1920s & 1930s band, Bakelite Jazz
Greg Poppleton & Bakelite Jazz play for weddings, corporate events, clubs and parties. Here’s a clip taken with a teeny-weeny camera of Greg & Bakelite Jazz singing Makin’ Whoopee for charlestoning dancers…
We pride ourselves on posting fly-on-the -wall, pocket camera films of the band playing live so you know exactly how Greg Poppleton & Bakelite Jazz will look and sound when you book the band for your occasion or for when you come to see us
In fact, we’ll be performing next at the Art Gallery of NSW for Art & About 2011, Friday 23 September, 7 – 7:30pm with lots of burlesque and other acts
The Carrington Hotel is a magnificent 1880s Hotel in the heart of Katoomba and the Blue Mountains, with Ballroom, Grand Dining Room, Cocktail Lounge and the Billiards Room, in which we played, with it’s art noveau stained glass windows, lounges and a 100 year old billiards table. Here are some pictures snapped by a party-goer towards the end of the night…
Greg Poppleton, Sydney’s only authentic 1920s & 1930s swing singer, recently performed two sets of delightful songs from the 1920s and 1930s in the stylish Victoria Room, up the stairs at 235 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Greg’s 1920s & 1930s small group, Bakelite Jazz, varies in size from duo to sextet and plays at clubs, weddings, corporate functions, parties and soirees of all kinds for background and dancing. Greg Poppleton and Bakelite Jazz are in particular demand for 1920s, 1930s and vintage themed events
In the first set at the Victoria Room, as part of the Vic Room’s regular Sunday night Performance Nights featuring the most amazing acrobats, dancers and magicians, Greg duetted with Grahame Conlon, guitar…
Then, later in the evening, after some spellbinding acrobatic acts, both adagio and pole, Greg returned with more songs of the 1920s & 1930s, this time adding Darcy Wright on double bass for a trio…
The Victoria Room was full and humming the Sunday night we played. And though the place was packed, with a few Bakelite Jazz fans to boot, the vibe was spacious and relaxed.
Indeed, the atmosphere in the Victoria Room is special, reminding me a little nostalgically of the old Baron’s in Kings Cross, but with more subdued lighting, scatterings of plush lounges creating intimate niches throughout, and all tied in by a colour scheme of rich scarlet, gold and brown which gives one the feeling of carefree comfort and understated opulence. The food is great. The cocktails spectacular. And for this little black duck who doesn’t drink, the best surprise was that the lemonade is made at the bar with real lemon juice, syrup and soda and the ginger beer is made fresh at the bar too, like a cocktail, with fresh ginger!
Here are some more Bakelite Duo and Trio pics from the night. I especially like the megaphone picture casting the long black shadow on the wall behind – very 1930s! Enjoy! Thank you to Rick Monk who took the photos
Below is a clip hot off the movie editor’s desk from Avantgarde Events who hired Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters to play at a corporate 1920s Great Gatsby party
Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters are Sydney’s trio to 6-piece 1920s – 1930s swing jazz experience, featuring Sydney’s only authentic 1920s -30s singer with world-touring swing jazz musicians
You’ll find more information about Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters, including video clips, photos, testimonials and a contact form for your enquiries and bookings at The Bakelite’s official website www.bakelitejazz.com
Now, EXCITING NEWS, Greg Poppleton, has launched Sydney’s hottest, most authentic 11-piece 1920s Dance Orchestra – The Lounge Bar Lotharios…
The Lounge Bar Lotharios feature Sydney’s only authentic 1920s-30s singer and Sydney’s Top Ten jazz musicians under the musical direction of ARIA nominated maestro, Geoff Power
Early in te clip you’ll spot Tony Esterman playing solo piano as guests enter in the foyer. In the chill lounge, under the chandeliers, you’ll see Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters adding enormously to the 1920s theme, with myself conducting (when I wasn’t singing the songs of the 1920s & 1930s), Al Davey on trumpet (he also played trombone that night), Peter Locke piano, Darcy Wright double bass and Joel Davis on the big 1927 vintage drums and 1924 vintage temple blocks
These magnificent drums are unfortunately obscured in the film clip. So here’s a pic of how they looked, which I snapped on the night before the band started playing, just to show you…
To find out more and book Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters for your 1920s – 1930s theme function, visit the Broadcasters’ website at official website
PS – And that’s where you can also enquire and book Sydney’s most exciting 11-piece authentic 1920s Dance Orchestra, The Lounge Bar Lotharios. Imagine a full sized 1920s Dance Orchestra, playing authentic Roaring 20s arrangements adding wow to your 1920s Gatsby event. Book now
The audience singing Irving Berlin’s 1925 hit ‘Always’ with me at a big concert in the Sutherland Entertainment Centre
That’s the Bakelite Broadcasters playing in the background. We were supporting the World’s greatest yodeller, Mary Schneider. There were lots of other acts, too, including magicians and contortionists in two big concerts. The concert hall was packed!
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
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 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 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 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
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…
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
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
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”