[Dixielandjazz] Vale Dave Dallwitz

Bill Haesler bhaesler at nsw.bigpond.net.au
Wed Mar 26 11:02:44 PST 2003

Dear friends,
The sad news is that pioneer jazzman (famed artist, bandleader, tbn, pno,
composer, arranger) died suddenly at home (Adelaide SA)on Monday night 24 March
2003,  of a heart attack, while watching the Academy Awards.
Out thoughts are with his long-time friend/wife, Joan Dallwitz and their family.
Dave (who was born on 25 Oct 1914) was as active as ever and last week was
busily organising his famed big band for the Australian Jazz Convention in
Forbes (Dec 2003), and an Anglicare fund-raising event.
My dear friend, Dave, always had a 100 things to do.
And managed to do them.
He will be known to the worldwide 'jazz family' for his countless jazz
compositions, including the celebrated "Cinderella Girl'.
Kind regards,

Herewith an extract from the notes I wrote for the CD 'The Famous Wilco
Sessions' (still available).
They are specific to the Southern Jazz Group and in no way cover the many
activities of this extraordinary man.

The Southern Jazz Group.
In May 1950 the Southern Jazz Group travelled by train, via Melbourne, from
Adelaide to Sydney, and back, for their last series of engagements. They had
announced their retirement and Dave Dallwitz, anxious  to preserve the band¹s
sound, had organised Sydney recording dates with WILCO and Parlophone.
 This important Adelaide jazz band came out of a 1945 rehearsal group and became
a working unit later that year using some members of Malcolm Bills¹ band to form
the Southern Jazz Group. For about six months both bands existed side by side
until Bills¹ dissolved his group to continue university studies.
 In 1946 Dave Dallwitz became leader of the Southern Jazz Group which by then
had adopted a 1920s classic jazz style. In December 1946 they attended the 1st
Australian Jazz Convention in Melbourne, playing to a small, but enthusiastic,
audience of dedicated jazz musicians and delegates. Their original approach to
traditional jazz developed and by 1948 they were one of Australia¹s leading jazz
 They toured regularly interstate for concerts and the Jazz Convention and
recorded regularly between 1947 and 1949 for Bill Holyoak¹s Memphis label. It
was Holyoak who arranged the recording date at Adelaide¹s ABC studios, from
which the first WILCO release (0-100) ³Smokey Mokes² - ³Red Hot Henry Brown²
came. An acetate of the two titles was sent to Ron Wills while he was working at
J Stanley Johnson¹s music store. With this initial disc WILCO was formed. It was
a big seller nationally and was re-pressed several times.
  The final May-June 1950 tour by the Southern Jazz Group (augmented with Ade
Monsbourgh) was a momentous affair. The week in Sydney was hectic. They recorded
seven titles for WILCO on Monday, 29 May, at the ARC studios then took part in a
Celebrity Jazz Parade at Sydney Town Hall with local modern bands. Two days
later, as Dusty Rhodes and His Jackeroos. they recorded four Œcountry¹ sides for
the Rodeo label. On Thursday, 1 June, the band put down six original tunes for
Parlophone and that night appeared, with the Jack Brockensha Quartet and Edwin
Duff, at Bill McColl¹s Battle For Jazz concert at the Assembly Hall. In addition
to private parties, they also played a dance at Paddington Town Hall, probably
on Friday, but we lack details.
 On their return through Melbourne the front-line members of the Southern Jazz
Group joined Graeme Bell¹s big band on a record date for Swaggie.  On Sunday
they were the guest band at the Maison DeLuxe Jazz Club and were given a
tremendous final ovation. Thus ended the career of a great pioneer Australian
jazz band. For over four years the Southern Jazz group had been Adelaide¹s
premier jazz band, popular with local and regional audiences and instrumental in
converting many younger Adelaide musicians to jazz.
 Dave Dallwitz formed a new Southern Jazz Group for local engagements and ABC
broadcasts (highlighting original Australian jazz compositions), but they
disbanded in mid 1951 and Dave left the jazz scene until 1972.

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