Graham Wood: The Ellington Jazz Club

A Slice Of New York Jazz In Perth: The Ellington Jazz Club.

Having experienced and performed at the world’s best Jazz Clubs in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, Graham Wood, manager of The Ellington Jazz Club decided it was time Perth got in on the action.

“So myself and my business partner Bernard Kong decided we would bring a little bit of New York to Perth. I have been a professional musician for 20 years and when I got a night off, there was really nowhere to go. So we made our own place to relax, play great music and everyone’s invited,” he explains.

And with that Graham and Bernard set about finding a location, eventually stumbling across the Chinese Laundry/ Dye works in Highgate.

Graham says: “We really wanted to do something on Beaufort Street and we didn’t want to be in central Northbridge as we felt our clientele wouldn’t be too interested in going there. We were looking at places up near the Queens but we stumbled across the 108 year old Chinese Laundry/Dye works that was derelict when we first looked and thought ‘perfect’ – two levels, good size [and] good location.”

With a location found, the pair set about getting the club off the ground.

“It took a long time, a lot of money and a heck of a lot of lobbying to get opened. It seemed that everyone was willing to say no and very few people were willing to say yes. But we persisted and just had to hold the line that no was the wrong answer,” he explains.

And their persistence paid off. Opening in February this year, Graham says the club has been received tremendously well.

“Many of the visiting artists have been saying that is one of the best jazz venues in the world – I’m serious- and the audiences absolutely love it. The weekend shows are booking out 1-2 weeks in advance and it is really solid from on weeknights as well.”

Currently opening six nights a week, hosting local, national and international artist, The Ellington is very supportive of the local industry, hosting 50 shows a month.

Graham explains: “That is the best support the jazz community can get. Aside from that, we host JAZZWA Jam Session on a Sunday from 6-9, The Perth Jazz Orchestra on Sunday from 3-6…as well as numerous special events and fundraisers.”

And it is such support that Graham says is essential to the local industry’s survival.

“No gigs, no industry. Musicians have to play and play a lot to reach world class standards of excellence. “

Official website…

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Copyright (C) 2009 Christina Ballico.
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