Who are they?
Formed in 1984 by ex-leader of New Harlem, Chris Ludowyk hand picked the cream of Melbourne's jazz talent to form the Society Syncopators, now known as 'The Syncopators'. With their versatility (the guitarist plays banjo, the bassist plays tuba, the clarinetist plays alto and tenor sax and the trombonist plays bass and piano), they cover a wide range of styles and material. The vocal harmonizing talent of the front-line also lends itself to the performance of popular jazz material a la Mills Brothers and Boswell Sisters.
Although their repertoire stems from the roots of traditional jazz, they can play everything from classic jazz through mainstream to pre-rock rhythm and blues. This guarantees a much broader audience and wider appeal than that of a 'straight' jazz group. In fact, few other groups are perceived to possess the range of material and individual talent of this group.
The instrumentation also allows total flexibility for formats ranging from concert through cabaret to trio or quartet acoustic or roving situations. At concerts, virtuoso solo spots highlight the talents of the individual artists.
The group has toured extensively, with annual European tours at major International Jazz Festivals since 1995 and most major Australian Jazz Festivals, as headliners.
By excelling at the music they love and loving the music they excel at, they are recognized as one of the leading jazz groups in Australia by critics and jazz fans alike. Arguably they are regarded as the leaders in their field in the world. This, plus their stage presence and sense of humor invariably draw standing ovations worldwide.
Past performance highlights
The only Victorian traditional jazz ensemble selected to tour Europe in 1995 as part of the Australian Government's Experience Australia program, including a performance at the prestigious Northsea Jazz Festival, Den Haag, Netherlands. As headliners, a standing ovation at the main auditorium of the 1996 Breda Jazz Festival, Netherlands before an audience of 2500. Overwhelmingly selected by a panel of State Jazz Co-ordinators for an overseas tour for Dept. of Foreign Affairs/Musica Viva in 1989 from 15 nominations Australia-wide. Further similarly funded tours in 1990, 1991 and 1992.
- Privately funded concert tour of New Caledonia, 1993.
- Live ABC-TV simulcast 1990 and pre-recorded ABC-TV concert 1989.
- On-camera appearance in the movie Death of a Soldier, 1985.
- Exclusive artists during the inaugural series of the Melbourne Zoo twilight concerts and regular artists during subsequent years.
- Performances at the opening ceremony of Melbourne's new Crown Casino at Southbank.
- Regular appearances for the Victorian Arts Centre (Concert Hall programs, Melbourne Summer Music series and for their 5th. birthday celebrations).
- Featured artists at several jazz festivals around Australia, e.g.:
- York Jazz Festival, WA, 1985 to 1994 inclusive; also 1996
- Gold Coast International Jazz Festival 1991
- Montsalvat Jazz Festival, annually since its inception, including several standing ovations.
- Melbourne Spoleto Festival, 1989
- Melbourne International Festival, 1990, 91, 92, 94 and 95
- Castlemaine Festival of Arts, 1990
- Wangaratta Festival of Jazz; numerous occasions since 1995