Category Popular Music

TANZA Label- Dancing in My Socks

Pat McMinn- Entertainer Extraordinaire!

Singer, dancer and all-round entertainer Pat McMinn died last weekend aged 91. She was one of the last musical connections to the Swing Era and to some of our most iconic (and ear-wormy) novelty songs. McMinn was also one of the last old-school multitalented vaudeville entertainers. Born in 1926 ‘Pretty Pattie (or Paddie’) McMinn was […]

Jazz dancing

The Charleston and all things 1920s

A couple of weeks ago I was in Wellington doing some research, and while I was there I was interviewed by Zoe George of Radio NZ Concert’s Upbeat programme about the Charleston and all things 1920s New Zealand. It aired last Friday, but if you didn’t catch it you can listen to/read it and learn […]

Alice ‘Al’ Clarke

Auckland based pianist Alice ‘Al’ Clarke was one of New Zealand’s earliest- and longest active bandleaders on the dance/jazz scene. She shortened her name to Al when she began leading bands in the 1920s because she thought that Alice sounded too prissy. Because of this many people (who had not seen her) thought she was […]

Jazz dancing

Very Important News

I’m very pleased to announce that I am the Auckland Libraries Sir George Grey Researcher in Residence for 2016/2017. For my residency I’ll be researching the Jazz Age in Auckland. This project is part of a longer on-going project on the Jazz Age in New Zealand, which I’m hoping that will be published as a […]

An Update on the Orange Hall

Frequently when I talk about heritage jazz venues in New Zealand I finish off my spiel with “…and now it’s a car park/office building/apartment block,” etc. However, I can happily forego that here, and report that the Orange Coronation Ballroom is alive and well! As Aucklanders well know the Orange Hall has been sitting derelict […]

So, what’s going on here

As you may have noticed, not much has been happening on the front page lately. That’s because most of my efforts have been over on the Got A Little Rhythm page. My article ‘Got A Little Rhythm? The Australian influence on swing in New Zealand in the 1930s and 1940s’ appeared in the special issue […]

Cabarets and Clubs: 1930s

The late 1920s dance venues boom in New Zealand was strongly affected by the advent of the Great Depression in late 1929. Dance venues in New Zealand were spread across towns and surrounding suburbs, which meant that New Zealanders rarely attended more than one venue in an evening. With the cost of a night out […]