As you should all know by now, we just released our new tie collection based around Melbourne's laneways, so to give you a little insight into the venues behind the laneway choices we had a chat to them. First up Bennetts Lane (Melbourne's penultimate jazz venue)

For those who don’t know, what is Bennetts Lane and when did it start?

Bennetts Lane is a jazz club that runs 7 nights a week hosting performances by the best local, interstate and international musicians. We’ve been operating since November 27th 1992We have a ‘listening’ policy which means no talking during the performance, and that sometimes annoys people, but they come to appreciate it once they stop talking and start listening to the music.

Do you guys just venture into other genres that aren’t jazz based or do you have a very strict music policy?
We’re pretty strict – only good musi c :) As we have 2 performance spaces, we do vary outside of jazz now and then, but we always have at least one jazz performance every night.

You have had a pretty impressive list of names play at the club, such as Prince, Maceo Parker, Kenny Kirkland, Wynton and Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Junior to name a few. Who is the most unknown artist you have had play there, who you think everybody should know?
Outside of the jazz circles no-one would probably know the names George Garzone or Joe Lovano, both are considered the best sax players in the world. We’ve also had some artists who had no profile when they did gigs here and have since become huge (Sarah Blasko, Megan Washington, The Cat Empire). Sarah McKenzie is probably next in line to explode into the world, she’s a young singer/pianist in the mould of Norah Jones.

Who is your favourite artist who has played at Bennetts lane? (It would have to be prince wouldn’t it?)
Prince was pretty amazing, and we all agree those shows were pretty incredible, but we each have our favourite bands too. Megg (one of the Managers) is a huge Neil Cowley fan – people might recognize his name as being the musical director for Adele. Jeremy (the other manager) was a huge fan of Nels Cline; the guitarist from the band Wilco, and Sally (Bar Manager) was massively impressed by Jim Black & Alasnoaxis.

If you were able to pick your dream line up of acts, who would they be?
Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter,  and Wayn Shorter). Granted you’d have to raise most of those guys from the dead, but that would be a life defining performance to see.Of those still around – John Zorn and Keith Jarrett would have to be at the top of the list.

A quick few questions

Big band or little?
The Bennetts Lane BIG Band is pretty amazing, but I do prefer the smaller trios and quartets most of the time.

Whiskey or vodka?
A couple of years ago I would have said vodka, but nowadays a nice, well aged single malt is a good way to wind down after a gig.

Neat or on ice?
Depends on the drink, but generally a little bit of ice

Miles or Duke?

Trumpet or Sax?
I prefer the sax, but a great trumpet player is always a pleasure to listen to

Any last words?
People seem to have a misconception about jazz – which is that it is only listened to by older folks – it’s not. We get people (and musicians) of all ages. Give it a shot; chances are you’ll come away loving it.


17 August 2012
Bennetts Lane
25 Bennetts Lane Melbourne 3000 VIC (03) 9663 2856
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