Ahead of the Waiheke International Jazz Festival this weekend, we profile one of our favourite picks of the line up, Greg Poppleton and the Bakelite Broadcasters, who we recently included in the pages of our Home Issue. Read on to find out more about their unique vintage jazz sound and how you can win a double pass!
Greg Poppleton and the Bakelite Broadcasters, Australia's only authentic 1920s-30s singer and band, is flying in from Sydney to play at the 2016 Waiheke International Jazz Festival, Friday 25 March - Sunday 27 March.
Greg Poppleton is, according to critics in the US and Australia, an uncannily authentic 1920s singer. Energetic and theatrical, he has more than 600,000 YouTube views for one video mix (left channel only at that!), making him by far Australia’s most listened to 1920s - 1930s style jazz singer. Word is spreading internationally about this unusual singer and his band.
Popular in Germany and the U.S, Greg is in growing demand in his hometown of Sydney. He is the resident 1920s singer in Sydney’s popular monthly Roaring ‘20s soiree, The Gin Mill Social, and has a stream of club, hotel, private and festival dates.
Greg has just recorded his fourth album, Back In Your Own Backyard. It’s full of songs from the 1920s and 1930s and due for release in June 2016. We have his third album "Doin' the Charleston" available for purchase in our Emporium.
Click here to find out the details for all six of the Bakelite Broadcasters performances at the Waiheke International Jazz Festival this weekend!
Glory Days contributor, Jimmy Vargas, interviewed Greg in our 2105 Home issue. Read on to find out more about this vintage jazz sensation and find out how you can win tickets to their show at the Waiheke International Jazz Festival this Friday 25th March at 8pm.
VARGAS: Why did you start a band that majored in the vernacular of 1920s and '30s entertainment, in the post-modern age of the 21st century?
POPPLETON: Ever since childhood, I loved swing. I loved the syncopation, the fun of it, swing moved me. Rock music I found to be so plodding in comparison, and the universality of the Tin Pan Alley lyrics of Broadway appealed as well.
VARGAS: How did you break into the swing biz?
POPPLETON: I first started as an emcee then got into acting. But it was a legendary Sydney vintage blues singer by the name of Kate Dunbar who connected me to my first love of jazz music of the ’20s. It was she who introduced me to likeminded musicians and from there, I started off in cafes, then onto clubs, and from thereon I got a bigger band which is now the Bakelite Broadcasters.
VARGAS: How long has it been?
POPPLETON: I got my first band together in 1994, and that was for the Pyrmont Festival, but my present six-piece is the Bakelite Broadcasters and we started around 2003. Some of the members of the band are pre-eminent international jazz performers like Paul Furness (reeds), Bob Barnard, Matt Baker, Graham Conlon (guitar / banjo).
VARGAS: You have also a bigger 1930s swing orchestra on the Poppleton payroll don't you?
POPPLETON: Yes. In 2012, Jeff Powers approached me and asked if I wanted to put together a 1920s orchestra with him. He had the original arrangements from the 1920s, and saw me as a good frontman. That eventuated pretty quickly and we became known as the Lounge Bar Lotharios. We've played the City of Canberra's Centenary 1920s Gala Ball, played the Winter Ball at the Art Deco hall in the Carrington Hotel Katoomba, and headlined the 60th anniversary of the Sydney Jazz Club. These are some of the highlights so far.
VARGAS: There's a definite cartoon element to your live performance. Would I be correct in assuming that vintage Warner Bros animation has inspired you greatly?
POPPLETON: Yes, you're spot on. The earliest and greatest influences I had were as a kid, cartoons like Krazy Kat, Felix the Cat, the Merrie Melodie cartoons and their soundtrack. Remember we had no access to this sort of music as kids, apart from the occasional programme on TV. One of the most memorable and influential cartoons for me was a Warner Bros 'toon of Cab Calloway called I Love a Singer.
VARGAS: Do you see yourself as a preservationist?
POPPLETON: No, I see myself as one taking this music into the 21st century I'm certainly not a nostalgist.
VARGAS: At a gig of yours, I observed some hip hop crewsters cut some amazing jazz urban moves to the musical dynamic that you were creating on stage. They locked into your infectious groove. It was a true cross-cultural osmosis.
POPPLETON: Well I've been told by a few people who listen to my 1920s and 1930s radio show, Phantom Dancer, that it’s big within the Australian hip hop community. So there is a connection. However I don't contemporise my music, don't sing it with an American accent. I see myself as an authentic purveyor of the art of 1920s swing.
For more information, visit Greg's website at: www.bakelitejazz.com
Greg Poppleton hosts his own weekly radio show, Phantom Dancer, on Sydney Radio station 2-SER every Tuesday at midday.
WIN A DOUBLE PASS FOR YOU AND A FRIEND TO GO AND SEE GREG POPPLETON AND THE BAKELITE BROADCASTERS THIS WEEKEND AT THE WAIHEKE JAZZ FESTIVAL ON FRIDAY THE 25TH MARCH AT THE ARTWORKS THEATRE 8PM.
TO ENTER PLEASE TAG THE PERSON YOU'D LIKE TO TAKE ALONG ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.
THE WINNER WILL BE DRAWN THURSDAY 24TH MARCH AT 9PM.