Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Salute to Ian Pearce

Having come all this way just for the concert, it is only fitting that it has its own blog entry. In time, this will be expanded to include a video of part of the concert but we have to wait for that to arrive from Hobart – no doubt it will take a while.

This concert is being held at the University Concert Hall.

An evening with Ian Pearce

Devonport Jazz says of him:

Ian Blog Image Ian Pearce is an icon of the Tasmanian jazz scene. He was born in Hobart in 1921 and began playing piano at the age of twelve. In the 1930s, he picked up a cornet and, along with his brother Cedric and neighbour Tom Pickering, began imitating the jazz style they heard on recordings by musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman. This group became the Barrelhouse Four – founding the jazz music scene in Hobart. The group recorded its first record in 1946, and went on (under various names and line-up changes) to record further albums, play countless concerts and dances, as well as regularly play for ABC broadcasts.

Ian Pearce travelled with Graeme Bell on the famous Czechoslovakian tour of 1947, playing alongside Ade Monsbourgh, Don ‘Pixie’ Roberts and Lou ‘Baron’ Silbereisen.

Pearce’s impressive music career spans more than 70 years and continues with his current band, the Ian Pearce Quartet.

The following old video with him playing the piano (largely hidden) at the Hobart Jazz Club is on Youtube

Before the concert, the Hobart Mercury newspaper ran an article on him, just click on Ian Pearce Birthday Bash to see a PDF of it.

The Concert

Initially there were a number of pieces from the Ian Pearce Quartet who have played together for many years.

Ian PearceQuartet

Then they were then joined by two jazz performers of renown from the mainland

And Guests

(Bob Barnard and Paul Furniss) who had flown over just to perform in the concert.

Ian Pearce at the Piano

Ian took the whole thing in his stride and seemed to ignore

Enjoying himself

the fact that he was 90 and just did what he liked doing –

Taking a Bow

playing jazz for the whole two hours with a

brief interruption for the cutting of a cake (shared with the audience afterwards) with two other performers who had a birthday in November. Regrettably, he is also hiding behind the piano in this clip so you will have to make do with listening to him. I am told that eventually a real video will arrive showing him playing.

Cutting the cake 

Afterwards, it was signing CDs and autographing programmes for anyone who asked

Meeting his fans 

and the first photograph of the three cousins (L-R Andrew Pearce, John Pearce, Paul Harvey)

Three Cousins

taken since the last time they were all together in 1954 (L-R John Pearce, Paul Harvey, Andrew Pearce).

 Before Emigration

A post concert review appeared in The Hobart Mercury – again, click on this link to read it and to see a picture of the man in action.

All-in-all it was a great evening and a privilege to hear someone just sit down and skilfully play jazz as he has done for many many years.


  1. Hi Paul and Pat. Andrew Pearce here. Just found the blog. Terrific. Thanks for the photos.
    Best wishes for 2012 and beyond.

  2. Hi Paul and Pat. Just found the blog. Excellent.
    Loved being home in Hobart for Dad's birthday and catching up again.
    Thanks for the photos!

    Andrew Pearce

  3. Just before his 91st birthday,as of this early November, Ian is very weak of body, and may, despite his wonderful embrace of life, be soon no longer with us.

    I hope it is not so, but hold his well being in my my own prayers. Perhaps others might like also to hold his well being in theirs.

    viva ian