In early 1945 New Zealand’s hippest bandleader, Freddie Gore, took his band on a national tour, sponsored by Warner Brothers. The band was plucked from its residency at the Civic Wintergarden cabaret in Auckland and travelled throughout New Zealand, all the way to Bluff – and all using NZR trains. The band would practice in the guard’s van, and each small town they visited, a talent quest in the afternoon would find some female vocalists to take part in that night’s concert. The flyer above is from the Alexander Turnbull Library (ref no Eph-C-CABOT-Music-1945-01).
I just found this review of Fred Gore’s band in the Bay of Plenty Beacon from 24 April 1945, using the National Library’s Papers Past searchable site of many pre-1945 New Zealand newspapers. The photo below shows Gore – a Wellingtonian – with one of his hometown bands, which often played on radio station 2YA. Among those visible are Bill Hoffmeister on piano, Vern Clare on drums, and Jimmy Carter on guitar (he also played on ‘Blue Smoke’, ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and ‘Pie Cart Rock’n’Roll’). Here is what the Whakatane reviewer thought of Gore’s Civic Wintergarden band:
ACE DANCE BAND
VISIT TO WHAKATANE
EDUCATION IN MODERN MUSIC
Whakatane attained a new height in musical entertainment on Tuesday evening when the Civic Winter Garden, at present on a New Zealand tour, played in the Winter Show Buildings. The hall was well filled, the floor was good, and the music an education in itself.
Dancing commenced at 8pm and continued till 1am. The tunes were played in the very latest style, and almost without exception, were top numbers of the Hit Parade.
Perhaps the most popular of the players was the band leader himself, Mr Freddie Gore who could apparently make a piano do everything but climb stairs. Such numbers as ‘Cow Cow Boogie’ and other requests attracted such a number of .spectators from the dance floor that the piano almost groaned beneath the weight of onlookers, while the string bass player, right next to the piano, had scarcely room enough to even wriggle his eyebrows. In these numbers, piano, drums and bass predominated, and, to use “jive” language, they certainly “sent it sweet, solid and eight-to-the-bar.” Another first class number was ‘Twelfth Street Rag’, given out by Reg Gould on the clarinet. At this stage the number of spectators had increased to almost half of all those present.
A popular feature of the evening was the introduction of half a dozen local singers selected on Tuesday afternoon after twelve or fourteen voices had been tried. The vocalists were Mrs Thomson, Miss Keepa, Miss Jean Armstrong, Miss Gay Burt, Miss Romela Winstone, Miss Rangi Hohapata and Mrs Smith (Opotiki). Such numbers as ‘It Had To Be You’, ‘As Time Goes By’ and ‘Stormy Weather’ were among the favourites heard.
The band itself consisted of two trumpets, two trombones, a fleet of three saxophones, piano, drums. string bass and guitar, together with Reg Munro, who, as the vocalist, caught on immediately with the crowd.
Extras, during a brief spell half way through the evening which the band utilised to recuperate in readiness for the second half, were supplied by a young and energetic, if not totally accomplished quintet.
Altogether, the evening was an unqualified success, and the. band may rest assured, that if Whakatane is ever treated to a return visit, the fullest support from the district can be expected.