How Good Was This Band?
Back in 1987, I joined a band called “Melodious Thunk”. It was the brainchild of Scott Saunders, who later went on to great success with “DIG” in the 1990’s. I played trombone in the horn section.
In the second half of 1987, we shared a Thursday night residency at The Harbourside Brasserie with the legendary Sydney band “Jump Back Jack”, led by the late bass guitar virtuoso, Jackie Orszaczky.
I was already a huge fan of this band. Back in 1986, I followed them around town and must have watched them play weekly. As a young trombone player, any band in Sydney with a horn section was a “must see” and Jump Back Jack’s horn section were exemplary. James Greening was on trombone, with Mike Bukowsky and Linda Bacon on trumpets, along with Mark Simmons on tenor saxophone. All were seasons jazz musicians, but here they were assembled to play funk. I would typically stand right in front of James Greening’s trombone slide, his fat notes and short stabs filling me with insecurities about my own trombone playing.
Two drummers on stage together was an extraordinary feature of the band. It’s very rare to see a band with two drummers as it obviously leads to many complications, but the two drummers in Jump Back Jack, Phillip Campbell and Hamish Stewart, were perfectly synchronised.
Guitarist Rick Morrison was so understated. I never saw him take a guitar solo. He just grooved without soloing, which was something rare for a guitarist in the 1980’s.
Fronting Jump Back Jack was Jackie Orszaczky. He’d be playing complicated and syncopated bass lines while singing over the top. His bass playing was effortless, as if it required no concentration. His singing was like a Hungarian James Brown. I was mesmerised.
Sydney Music Scene in the 1980’s
Yes, we all know that the live music scene in Sydney was pumping in the 1980’s. You could go out any night of the week and watch a band play. In addition to the live scene, their were also many opportunities for singers and musicians to work on television. There was The Midday Show based in Sydney, Steve Vizard’s nightly show coming out of Melbourne, plus shows like “The Don Lane Show”.
“Jump Back Jack” On The Don Lane Show
Watch this live performance by Jump Back Jack on the Don Lane Show. This is the original line-up, so it must have gone to air in 1986. The line-up later had a few changes, but (as they say), here’s the original and the best… check it out!