On Thursday 20th July, at Club Sapphire, the Down South Jazz Club has pleasure in presenting “Rags to Riches”, featuring Bev Long (banjo/vocals/tap), Erol Richardson (keyboard), Chris Ralfs (double bass) and John Cursley (drums).
Bev started her passion with the banjo as a child after a brief introduction , but it wasn’t until her early 30’s that she officially took it up. Her first lesson was with Jenny Harris (the girl with the golden Banjo) and that fuelled a passion and enthusiasm that is still as strong today. Bev kept up her playing while running a very busy dance and performing arts studio, also family, children etc.. Upon moving to Central Tilba nine years ago Bev met many jazz muso’s in the area and was able to continue to play and develop her skills, firstly with “Second Time Around”, also a duo with Bob Porter, then with “The Jazz Pack” and many guest invitations with Des Camm, plus many more sit ins at various Jazz Festivals. Rags to Riches was formed as a duo with Erol Richardson on keys; it has now grown with the introduction of Chris Ralfs on double bass and John Cursley on drums. It is a culmination of many years of playing with many different bands and styles. The music sits somewhere between Trad/Ragtime/Honkey Tonk.
Erol Richardson learned classical piano but with a ragtime emphasis from age 9 till giving it away at 14. Many exciting things kept him away from music till he was 40, and residing in Canberra. He then resumed lessons from Debbie Masling and Alex Powell. Erol played professionally in restaurants, hotels and clubs including Ainslie Football Club, Hyatt Hotel, Rydges Hotel, Park Royal Hotel, Canberra Jazz Club, Southern Cross Club as well as some memorable nights at “Tilly Devine's” with Down South Jazz Club’s “President for Vice”, Peter Robinson. He was musical director and pianist for Linda Hansen's “Empress of the Blues” cabaret, performed at the Queanbeyen School of Arts and the “Old Goulburn Brewery” and was featured on the National TV show “Today” with Eric Walters. Since retiring to the South Coast of NSW in 2010 Erol has performed with the following bands: Rags to Riches, Second Time Around, Sarabande, The Jazz Pack, Swings the Thing and Mrs Jones and Me
John Cursley was the founding drummer of the seven member Down South Jazz Band. He has played with various bands in the region and Sydney metropolitan area. He also toured in 1984 with the Graham Bell All Stars as a relief drummer, and played many times with The Des Camm Band, , Tom Baker, and Paul Furniss to name a few. John is currently playing with Rags to Riches and a regular attendee at The Australian Jazz Convention where he plays with many outstanding musicians.
Chris Ralfs has been annoying the neighbours with his bass for over 40 years, firstly with electric bass in working rock and pop bands. When that began to seem a little undignified, he took up the upright bass, getting his first break in jazz with gentleman Ed Davies in Easy Street. Since then he’s been fortunate to collaborate with a range of artists in a variety of genres from Trad to Modern. Influences range from Ray Brown to Scot La Faro.
Early bookings are encouraged in order to get a good seat. Music will commence at 7.30 pm. Cost is $15 for jazz club members and $20 for visitors. Table bookings can be made with Aileen/Kevin Walsh (64959853), by email at bookings@downsouthjazzclub,org.au, or will be available on the night at the door. The Club Sapphire Bistro opens at 6.00 pm with its extensive menu, and meals can either be eaten in the Bistro, or ordered, collected and eaten at leisure while listening to the music.