[Dixielandjazz] Alvin Alcorn - redux

Bill Haesler bhaesler at nsw.bigpond.net.au
Thu Sep 25 20:57:11 PDT 2003

Dear friends,
On 18 July 2003, following the sad news of the death of Alvin Alcorn, I posted a story I had sent to Jim Kashishian in
Oct 2002.
Contained within my tale regarding the gentle Alvin was included a throw-away comment about his March-April1973 tour of
Australia : (touring with a Sydney-based New Orleans style band).
I recently received a terse letter from my long-time Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) friend Eric Brown.
Eric will be known to many on this list, through his extensive travels to the US, Europe and the UK and from his
legendary correspondence to jazz identities world-wide. 
In a letter to me Eric states:
"I found this Alvin Alcorn obituary on my desk at the Victorian Jazz Archive.
The obituary [from the Jazz World UK web site] is OK but your comments are a load of crap.
Maurice Garbutt, with my assistance, got Alvin to Australia where he toured with the Yarra Yarra Jazz Band from
MELBOURNE see appropriate pages from my book '15 years of the Yarra Yarra Jazz Band'.
I don't remember Alvin touring with any Sydney band - who were they?
Have you become Sydneycentric like [a Haesler mate, who shall remain nameless]? 
Your ex friend.
Eric. "
Well now. What can I say?
Other than to apologise profusely to my (ex) friend, Eric.
Not only on the phone, as I have already done, but to those on the list I have misled.
Eric, of course, is right.
I should have remembered that Alvin came to Sydney with my friends (also ex?) the Yarras.
As a researcher and writer I know only too well the dangers of relying on memory. I should not have done it in this
This email is not just an apology to Eric and Maurie, it is an attempt to correct the inadvertent misinformation which
is now out there in the public domain.
For the public record here is the extract from Eric's book (which I have had ever since it was published).
"During February [1973], preparations were being finalised for Percy Humphrey's tour but unexpectedly it was found that
he could not come. However, rather than cancel the tour, Maurie phoned New Orleans and invited Alvin Alcorn. Much to
everybody's relief he said he was delighted to come.
Alvin's tour opened with him doing spots at the Yarra's Mordialloc and Prospect Hill jobs followed by a Victorian Jazz
Club Barbeque in the Dandenongs.
Each of the three concerts at the AMP Theatrette in Melbourne finished with Alvin and the band marching around the hall
followed by the audience "second lining" in New Orleans style.
They travelled to Adelaide for a concert at Unley Town Hall and a "jazz and a jug" night. On the way over they did a
concert in Mildura to a very enthusiastic audience.
Back in Melbourne there was a recording session at Emulation Hall in Canterbury followed by a Jazz Club Ball.
On arrival in Sydney there was a concert at the Teachers' Federation Auditorium and appearances at the Captain Cook
Hotel, The Rocks Push and the Musicians Union. Flying back to Melbourne they stopped off in Canberra [Australia's
Capital] for a final concert which proved to be the best of all because everybody seemed relaxed.
Alvin left Australia after impressing all with his trumpet playing, his personality, his incredible memory and above all
his completely professional approach to music'."
I should not have forgotten that!
Sorry Eric, old mate.
Kind regards,

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