The JGSWA was founded by Ian Macgregor and Garry Lee in May 1989 and was formed at a workshop conducted by the late Emily Remler (who would have been our first patron, but for her untimely death). Our first newsletter consisted of 4 pages typed out by Garry's wife Sue. Our second newsletter came out about 6 months later and was put onto computer by our first editor, committee member Mike Slaven (l990-91), who really created the newsletter's basic style.
JGSWA founders Garry Lee (left) and Ian Macgregor (right), (centre Mimi Fox)
Garry Lee was born in England in l951. Born in England but raised in Sydney, Australia, Garry Lee is unique in the jazz world, recording and performing on guitar and vibraphone. As a guitarist his influences are Wes Montgomery, Grant Green , George Benson and Pat Martino. As a vibist his influences include Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, Charlie Shoemake, Joe Locke and Dave Samuels. As a teenager he took up guitar and studied privately with George Golla, he later took up the vibraphone and was self taught until he studied with Dave Samuels in l981. In l983 he moved to Perth, Western Australia. In l993 he won the coveted Australian Jazz Award for his vibes playing and in l998 became the first Australian jazz musician to receive a Churchill Fellowship. Since l991 Garry has toured extensively in Eastern Australia and Asia and as well as leading his own band. Garry performs regularly as a solo jazz guitarist. He has a number of CDs under his own name and with others.
Ian Macgregor was born in England in l943. Ian grew up in Renfrew, Scotland moving in l960 to Southern England. Although he played the guitar briefly as a teenager he only began to play the instrument seriously at age 30. In l979 he was a road manager for The Great Guitars when they toured the UK. In l981 he emigrated to Perth Western, Australia where he began organising "Guitar Nights" at the Perth Jazz Society in l984. From 2001 until 2021 JGSWA fundraiser concerts were held annually at Jazz Fremantle, Navy Club, High St, Fremantle. Sadly Ian passed away during March 2022.
For over three decades the JGSWA has been instrumental in lobbying such organisations as the Perth Jazz Society and the Perth International Arts Festival formerly Festival of Perth to bring some of the world's finest jazz guitarists to Australia including Joe Pass, Martin Taylor, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Peter Leitch and Emily Remler etc.
The JGSWA has been very fortunate since it began, by having the sponsorship of Graham Hoskins of Concept Music who supported the JGSWA from 1989-2000 and also put on some memorable workshops with world class guitarists. The Lotteries Commission of WA have also been a tremendous help with grants for items like computers and a photocopier which has enabled us to produce a top class newsletter for over three decades. Since 2003 the JGSWA has been privileged to have as our main sponsors, leading Perth music shop Zenith Music.
The JGSWA has also been very fortunate to have the support of our patrons: Joe Pass (our first patron for 5 years until his sad demise), Martin Taylor, the late Barney Kessel, the late Charlie Byrd, Peter Leitch , John Pisano, Ulf Wakenius, George Benson, Tommy Emmanuel, Paul Bollenback, Peter Bernstein and Hank Marvin and the honorary members: The late Ike Isaacs, George Golla, Bruce Clarke , Doug deVries and David Smith.
The JGSWA is a non-profit voluntary organisation that has kept its head above water by sticking to a formula that works. Many friendships have been made among the members and the JGSWA has made many friends both here in Australia and around the world. As well as having members in the states of Australia the JGSWA has members in USA, Japan, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Ireland, Sweden and Holland.
The only qualification needed to be a member of the JGSWA is an interest in jazz guitar. The purpose of the Society for over more than three decades has been to generate interest in jazz guitar in all it's forms. The Jazz Guitar Society of Western Australia holds monthly meetings/jam sessions. If you would like to come along to play, listen or talk jazz guitar feel free to send a message to one of the members on the contact page.