Sam Lemann

Sam first picked up a guitar at the tender age of 8 and hasn’t let go yet. Another esteemed graduate of WAAPA, Sam migrated to Melbourne in 1990 as a member of the Jam Tarts, who were featured on the NBC Today show during the Americas Cup. With a wide range of styles at his fingertips, Sam is the preferred choice of many singers and bands for TV shows, pub gigs, huge budget corporate events, lazy evening concerts and the odd international and interstate junket. Sam can often be spotted on stage with Lisa Miller, Leslie Avril, Andy Baylor, and Gypsy Swing to name a few. His highly danceable and ultimately delightful music can be heard on over 50 CDs! His favourite music is ‘40’s and 50’s Swing Jazz – Not that kooky 70’s stuff’. Sam’s musical highlights include the first drink after the show ends, just as he lights up a ciggie.

Phil Rex

The double-bass player in a Big Band has quite a load to bear – and we don’t just mean on the tram coming to the gig. This instrument is often the best visual queue for the audience that they’re about to have their socks bounced off, and Mr. Rex’s muscular, percussive tones never disappoint!

His versatility is renown, and many critics and fans shake their heads in wonder at his ability to finesse, ‘hook in’ or play with great speed, never sacrificing his hugeness of tone. Fuelled by his favourite giggle-water (vodka, if you’re buying), his fingers blur on the strings and you can hear why he’s plucked & slapped with the best in the country – Barney McAll, Paul Grabowsky, David Campbell – and the best in the world – Johnny Griffin, Jimmy Cobb (drummer on Miles Davis’ “Kind Of Blue” album), Joe Lovano, Steve Lacy, Andrew Hill, Arthur Blythe, Vincent Herring, Louie Bellson, Joe Williams, Eddie Henderson, Cindy Blackman, John Stubblefield and Horace Tapscott.

He’s honed his talents through the VCA and through workshops with Ray Brown and Eddie Gomez in NYC. He’s toured Europe, Mexico, India, Japan, and New Zealand but always finds time to hook in with B#, who he describes as: “The most consistently good and well organized Big Band that Melbourne has…or ever had!”

When not on stage, in pub or at the recording studio, Phil runs a post-production facility & works on recordings by other jazz, pop and dance music artists.

John McCall

John’s inspiration for jazz isn’t hard to track down. He grew up with Len ‘Sluggsie’ Barnard as a neighbour – leader of one of the earliest Australian groups to record a jazz album. More recently you may have seen John as part of the David Chesworth Ensemble or on tour with Vince Jones, Renee Geyer, James Reyne or Ross Wilson. His keyboard support of Nichaud Fitzgibbon’s Peggy Lee Show drew acclaim, as did his work for Ross Wilson’s ‘Cool World’ in 2001. Look out for this Melbourne piano stalwart at Australia’s premier music festivals and at the Logies.

Dave Beck

Young Mr Beck’s drumming journey began as many must – whacking ten shades of blue out of the pots and pans on the kitchen floor. To his parents’ pride (and relief) he soon graduated to playing snare drum in the primary school marching band and then on to become one of the most called-upon percussionists in Australia.

Dave has honed his drumming skills in New York and L.A. and is very familiar with many top name national and international talents of our times (especially their back views), including Tina Arena, Marcia Hines, Faith Hill, Chubby Checker, Little Richard, Danni Minogue, Delta Goodrem and Joan Rivers. When he’s not providing key percussive soundscapes for smash-hit musical theatre shows (Priscilla, Dirty Dancing, Shout, Sweet Charity, Crazy for You, The Boy from Oz, Wicked), he’s often found recording and playing with local and international jazz legends including Barbara Morrisson, Joe Chindamo, Paul Grabowsky, and Hans Ulrich.

His understanding of the nuances that Sonny Payne, Gene Krupa and Sam Woodyard brought to the Basie, Goodman & Ellington bands, sets the foundation for B#’s underlying and unmistakable, groove and drive.