You may not see all of these faces at each B# gig, but with this line up at our 
fingertips, you’ll always be assured of swingin, powerful, caressing vocals.

Frank Benedetto

The boyish grin, the Sinatra-smooth tenor notes, the rakish dark suit – if this guy isn’t living the Rat Pack legacy, then no-one is! He’s his own man, but the passion for Big Band swing tunes came straight through the genes. Three generations of musicians and singers stretch behind him, including the Old Man of Swing himself, Tony Bennet. Is it any wonder, as he winds an audience around his signet-ringed finger, that the men want to take Frank by the hand, while the women want to…well…just take him?

With a new CD in the wings, waiting to take him straight into the world’s lounge rooms (and, dare we say it, bedrooms), we’re gassed to have him fronting B# with his suave and playful stylings from the great American songbook, as well as the odd 1950’s Italian swing anthem. There’s no doubt – if Tony Soprano was ever looking for a band for Meadow’s wedding, this guy’d be the guy out the front of it!

Julie O’Hara

Julie’s first love is playing around in the ‘musical sandpit’ that is the Melbourne scene. This red-head’s musical talent and chutzpah ensures she’s never short of playmates. Julie’s voice has been described by B# fans as the band’s ’18th instrument’. She is heavily influenced by horn players and other instrumentalists, and her gravitation towards instrumental music comes through in the fabulous vocal scatting that is her Swing trademark.

If singers were circuses, Julie would be our Cirque de Soleil. Her daring and colourful stylings carry her through the musical spectrum: 1940’s swing, R&B swing, gypsy swing, bluegrass, country & western swing, trad jazz, vocalese and bebop, electronic lounge, hip hop and pop.

Not a shock then, that we often have to prise her from the grip of other acts. She cites career highlights that include singing for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony with The Cat Empire, featuring on Rachel Griffith’s short film ‘Tulip’, numerous recordings with her own bands and others, international festival acts and local jazz club residencies. She’s the twinkle in B#’s eye, the woman who has shaken James Brown’s hand and stirred a lot of hearts.

She’s a great believer in the spirit-lifting power of Swing, saying recently “I hear from people who had turned up to a gig feeling pretty flat or down and leave feeling elated and ready for anything, so jazz seems to be a good medicine for the human spirit.”

Want to win Julie’s heart? Buy her an Alaskan Polar Bear Heater to drink – no, we’ve never had one either, but it’s apparently ‘the business’ in ‘a world that swings according to Julie’.

Fiona Thorn

Ah, la belle Fiona! ‘The Bulletin’ raved that her voice could melt butter – well we think it could dissolve the whole fridge. We love her many personas – jazz diva, cabaret showgirl, go-go dancing icon, euro-daaaarling. She sings in eight languages – nine including Swing! Watch and marvel at how she can fit those deep breaths within her fabulous body-con couture. But there’s more to her than meets the eye. She doesn’t just cite her vocal and song writing influences (Janis Ian, Ella Fitzgerald, ‘Barbara’, Boris Vian, Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Brel)… she puts them to work!

She has written for countless songs and shows including ‘Million Sellers’ with Bob Downe (nominated for three Green Room awards), ‘Live at the Club Republic’ with Max Gillies, ‘Silly Season’ and ‘All Het Up’ with Guy Rundle and John Thorn (nominated for two Green Room Awards).

On the Tube (the old one) she has appeared in various high-profile series, including Stingers, The Games, Round the Twist, High Flyers, and Man From Snowy River. She has sung live to great acclaim on Good Morning Australia, The Midday Show and Denise. Fiona has also lent her vocal talents to many commercials and voiceovers, including Yoplait (a natural fit with her luscious French accent).

Her musical theatre experience shines through her performances – she engages every tune, every audience, every time. She feels the tune, and brings you into it with her. Her wealth of travel and life experience helps put her in touch not just with the emotions of the tune, but also the energy of the room.

Fiona’s multilingual skills are a real rarity – and adored by audiences! She gives each language and culture the respect of getting it right, but keeping it light.

Whether she is swingin us through the 60’s London scene with Dusty Springfield, enthralling us with Anita O’ Day Lounge classics or flashing some French angst, Fiona gives it her all! Amazing she can still manage a glamorous stiletto-stride offstage after all that!

Elle e’ vraiment magnifique!

Emma Franz

This cat-eyed Northern Italian temptress may be svelte to look at, but she’s no lightweight in the performance stakes. We try hard to pin her down between international engagements (Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and North Africa in recent times) and the support she’s called on to give to a mix of superstars of the music biz (including the Bee Gees, INXS and Harry Connick Junior).

Emma’s first passion is music – especially the fabulous tunes and time-honoured charts of the jazz idiom – closely followed by producing and directing documentary films. Whether she’s in front of an audience or behind the camera, her emphasis on performance spins a magical web! We thank her papa for spending those long-ago car trips teaching her how to harmonise (and presumably, implicitly, how to do two things at once, well).

Other than Dad, Emma’s other influences include: Ray Charles, Betty Carter, Federico Fellini, Anita O’Day, Italo Calvino and Dinah Washington. Did we mention she’s well-rounded?!

Eugene Hamilton

Have you heard people talking about the “total man”, the “ultimate star”, or even “Mr Dynamite”? They’re talking about Eugene Hamilton, the richest man in the world! Eugene is Australia’s most dramatic, daring and charismatic vocal artiste. His rich tenor voice is complemented by a deep understanding of jazz ballet, formal disco technique, liturgical dance, and primitive fertility rites. Oh, and you must have heard about his million-dollar wardrobe…

You may have been among the fanatical hordes who flocked to see this “Man Wonder” front the wildly successful ‘Stone Cold Boners’, or experienced the mind-expanding power of his ‘Grooveathon’. Boy,… you kids must be missing him! So, what happened? Well, ten years as Melbourne’s disco king took its toll, and “Eugene the Artist” struck out on his own, like an “Ultra Virile” Siddharta in the wilderness, to find his own truth, and therein the truth for everyone else.

AND NOW… HAMILTON IS BACK!

Back to share his revelations and new-found inspiration. He’s ready to storm his way back to the top and rebuild his shining empire. Eugene will dazzle you with gems from the entire musical spectrum – Swing, Latin, Cabaret, Soul, Schmaltz, Vegas, Country’n’Western, Soft Metal, Sea Shanties, Oompapa and perhaps, some occasional Disco and Pop.

Eugene brings great emotional warmth, traditional manhood and loads of cash to the stage in each performance. And each performance is a triumph!

He is Eugene, hear him roar!

Nina Ferro

“Nina Ferro can sing – and I mean sing! ….she phrases with feeling and Swings infectiously” Kevin Jones – The Australian

Nina Ferro is one of the brightest stars to emerge on the Melbourne music scene over the last decade. She is a singer with a wealth of experience, and the skill and taste to make the most of every song she performs.

Since 1992, Nina has been busy performing in Australia and overseas including festivals, venues and television appearances in Europe, Asia, Scandinavia, USA, Canada, Middle East and Pacific region.

Nina is featured on a number of recordings with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio Texas. The shows are being broadcast on Public Radio throughout the USA.

Nina has worked with many leading international-level performers, including:

Tony Bennett
Ricky Martin
The Commitments
James Morrison
Vanessa Amorosi
Rhonda Birchmore
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Nina’s wealth of experience also sees her performing regularly at the corporate level:

Presidents Cup Commissioners Dinner for USA former president George Bush
Sydney 2000 Olympics
Sydney International Festival
Melbourne International Festival
Australian Grand Prix

Nina has released 3 albums of her own- “Just You, Just Me”, “Out of the Blue” and more recently “Tender Is The Night”. These recordings have received rave reviews and are among only a handful of Australian jazz releases being played regularly on commercial radio.

Rod Gilbert

Rod’s performance journey began when he started stepping up to school musical roles as a child. His nights were often spent sitting next to his parents at famous jazz clubs, drinking in the music as thirstily as others around him drank their red wine. Not happy with the age-requirements to study music at college, our precocious youngster was playing his first trad jazz gigs at 16. Finally armed with his qualification in Music Performance and with the music of the 1940’s Swing Greats ringing in his ears, he made his mark on the international music scene. If you’ve been to a jazz music festival on this planet in the last five years, chances are you’ve experienced the c! rooner stylings of Rod for yourself.

In demand from Hokkaido to Thredbo, Edinburgh to Echuca, Rod’s singing style is most easily described as a hot blend of jazz, swing, blues, and boogie – but that hardly does justice to his raw energy and enthusiasm. Yes, the kind of energy that will bring you to your feet and onto the dance floor before you even quite know what is happening.

Rod has earned respect not only with his bluesy and exciting vocals, but also his sticks as one of the top jazz drummers in Australia. Being a natural performer, Rod is extremely adaptable to any performance environment and often delves into his naturally light comedic bag of tricks if the situation permits. Rod is one of those rare individuals who can capture any audience and bring them around – no wonder he’s in demand for jazz residencies all over town (Kitten Club, Transit Lounge, Manchester Lane, Z Bar, Palace).

His approach is summed up by his favourite Charlie Parker quote: “Master your instrument, master the music, and then forget all that s**t and just play”. Of the B# Big Band he has been heard to say: “Man! This band is EAR CANDY, it swings like no other. I would have it play at my wedding AND my funeral!”