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Brenda still a cool cat

Brenda Withers will perform as part of All Strung Out trio.
Brenda Withers will perform as part of All Strung Out trio. Darryn Smith

WHEN all the crazy "cats" swing into town for the Noosa Jazz Festival starting August 29, Brenda Withers will be there for the meet and greet, just as she has been from day one.

Back then in the early 1990s she was alongside her late husband, Aussie jazz legend, Frank Johnson, who decided to throw the first party to help blow the town's trumpet.

But these days Brenda has joined the band of merry music makers as one third of the All Strung Out trio alongside husband John Withers and the other band member John Murray.

Having watched Frank of the Fabulous Dixielanders fame play for years, actually getting out and performing was never part of her scene.

"John made me (take up an instrument). He wanted a bass player so it went from there.

"I joined the ukelele club and took up bass - it's a lot easier than the big ones.

"Me playing the bass? Frank would be terribly surprised."

But they all have a ball - just as Noosa will again this festival time.

Frank, who played a mean cornet, and his Dixielanders blazed a trail of improvised jazz in his home stomping ground of Melbourne before relocating up to Noosa.

He was out on the town at the festival having a blast as usual in 2000 when he was struck by a car.

His body may have finally given out but his spirit is till partying hard every year at every jam session in town.

Topics:  noosa jazz festival


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