[Dixielandjazz] Jazz Archives.

Sam Meerkin/Evelyne Perks smeerkin at melbpc.org.au
Sat Aug 2 03:22:53 PDT 2003

My old mate Bill Haesler is coming down to Melbourne from Sydney next week to check out The Victorian Jazz Archives.  This wonderful facility has existed for about 6 years now, is open 2 days a week & is staffed by volunteers, fellow lovers of OKOM mainly, and is a repository of recordings in all media, memorabilia, video, film and artefacts to do with the history of Australian Jazz.  It is an amazing facility, as Bill will no doubt attest after his inspection.  A library of books, recordings and visual material of world jazz in general is also available to members and others doing research or just wanting to know more about  Jazz.  As part of the Australian Film & Sound Archive, the facility is closely monitored and is very professionally managed to ensure that OKOM is preserved for posterity.  Another old mate, the late Ron Halstead was the sound engineer who established the Archives' recording facilities with other like minded friends, to save acetates tapes and deteriorating recordings onto more durable formats.  The results have been most gratifying and access to our rich history of jazz is growing daily.  Anyone coming to Melbourne would have to include a visit to this outer suburban treasure trove to see what we have done.  The Victorian Jazz Club young people's jazz workshops are conducted here, so the next generations of musos are put into direct contact with our roots and history.  As a volunteer, I marvel at the dedication of the office bearers, movers and shakers who've made it happen.  Regular exhibitions of some of the collection, which includes a Louis A handkerchief signed by members of his band on a visit downunder, instruments such as Ade Monsbourgh's plastic sax, the smashed cornet being carried by Frank Johnson when he was struck and killed by a car in Noosa and many other significant pieces of memorabilia are a feature of the building.  
 Not only is OKOM alive & well in our part of the world, but we are doing our best to preserve the past and make the next generation aware of it.
Sorry to ramble on, but all this morbid chat about the imminent death of OKOM makes me laugh.  Seekers of quality music will always find their way to OKOM & if a repository of its past is accessible, it'll never die.
Sam " it's not over 'til the fat lady sings" Meerkin.

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