Swing Night

Swing Night
From the Bill Miller Radio Scripts

‘Last Consignment’

As broadcast by 3UZ on the 19 February 1940

This CD was produced as a documentary radio program

The following introduction should be read by the presenter.

William H Miller, known to most as Bill, is best remembered as Australia’s first jazz commentator and foremost driving force in creating a forum for jazz discussion and activity.

Born in Melbourne in 1914, Bill went to England in 1933 to study law at Oxford University. Being interested in jazz, he amassed a large record collection which he brought back to Australia when he returned in 1938.

These records represented a unique library of jazz music largely unobtainable in Australia at the time, and Bill made his collection available to enthusiasts through a long‑running weekly program broadcast over 3UZ commencing in 1939.

Initially called ‘Jazz Night’ the program soon became known as ‘Swing Night’, and although Bill wrote all of the scripts, the broadcast were presented by announcer Rowley Barley. ‘Swing Night’ continued up to the end of 1941.

Bill Miller is also remembered for his recording ventures. In 1943 he commenced recording, onto acetate discs, many Australian jazz bands. In 1945 he began a series of commercial releases on his own ‘Ampersand’ label which featured the first Graeme Bell recordings. Other activities included the creation of the magazine ‘Jazz Notes’ in 1941, and contributions to other publications. He later took up the washboard and can be heard on several Australian jazz recordings.

All of the scripts for his ‘Swing Night’ program are still in existence and Bill has deposited them with Australian Jazz Museum. From these original scripts the Museum has reconstructed a program that was broadcast on the evening of Monday, 19 February 1940. It relates to the then newly introduced record importation bans. The part originally read by the late Rowley Barley is read by Bill Passick.

Listen to the audio below.