Person - Dick Hughes

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For NT’s 31st birthday party at Graphic Art House 22 Regent Street on 23 October 1963 Dick Hughes played piano and sang “St James Infirmary Blues”. In 1964 he loaned records to Marie Armstrong for the Workshop Who Killed Bessie Smith.

Born in Melbourne on 8 July 1931, Dick Hughes was introduced to jazz in 1941 by pianist Willie McIntyre and attended the First Australian Jazz Convention in 1946. He took up drums and piano about this time, and became president of the University Rhythm Club (1950-1951). He worked in London as a journalist 1952-1955, played with bands and interviewed US and British jazz stars for ABC National radio.

In 1955 he settled in Sydney where he played with the Ray Price Trio and Port Jackson Jazz Band (1956-1962). He led a quartet at the Macquarie Hotel in 1962, toured with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 1965 and from 1966 until 1986 held residencies at the Windsor Castle Hotel, Adams Hotel, French’s Tavern and the Journalists Club. From 1977 to 1987 at Soup Plus he was a piano soloist and player with his Famous Five. He was a member of the Port Jackson Jazz [Reunion] Band during the 1990s and, from 2008 worked and recorded with his daughter singer-entertainer Christa Hughes.

He married NT member Fay Parsons in 1962. Dick Hughes wrote two autobiographies: Don’t You Sing: memories of a Catholic boyhood from napkins to long trousers and Daddy’s Practising Again: an Australian jazzman looks back and around.

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