Party: Pearce-Pickering Ragtime Five


Tom Pickering came to Tasmania from South Australia aged twelve. Here he met the Pearce brothers, Cedric and Ian, and they discovered a mutual love of jazz. Tom took up clarinet, Ian trumpet, Cedric drums, and with a friend Rex Green on piano they formed the Barrel House Four. Their first public performance was a twenty-first birthday party in 1936, and they played anywhere for anyone. In 1946 they attended the first Australian Jazz Convention in Melbourne.

In the late 1940s Ian moved to Melbourne then London, but the band played on under various names, with an ever-changing line-up. Ian returned in the late 1950s having taken up piano. In the 1960s the band became known as the Pearce-Pickering Ragtime Five. The 1970s saw a great jazz revival in Tasmania, and the band played regularly, first at Tattersalls Hotel, then at the Wrest Point Casino. Tom became renowned not only as a clarinettist but also for his unique vocal style and his original compositions. He died in 2001; Ian at 83 plays on.

Chris Pearce

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