The Toowoomba Jazz Society began on May 24th 1976. This original meeting was instigated by Brian Close, Dennis Levonis and Don Armstrong who had all played together several times in a ‘Scratch’ band and thought that Toowoomba definitely could do with a Jazz society.
These three, Brian Close on Saxophone and Clarinent, Don Armstrong on cornet, Dennis Levonis on trombone were joined by Ray Carrol on banjo, Alan Zimerle on drums, Jon Rotteveel on bass, Pat Harrington on baritone sax and Noel Russell on tenor sax.
At the first meeting for the Toowoomba Jazz Society a constitution was formed with the major aims to:
Promote and conduct the various aspects of Jazz music
To co-ordinate and promote all Jazz events in the Toowoomba area
To represent Toowoomba area in all Jazz matters
The first traditional jazz group played at a variety of venues in and around Toowoomba in the first year.
The Farmers’ Arms Hotel at Cabarlah hosted many early gigs. As their popularity increased, the publican removed a number of internal walls to enlarge the function area and dance floor.
The 37th Australian Jazz Convention was held in Toowoomba at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education in 1982. This event was largely organised by Jazz Society members. Profits from the convention and the annual JAZZ BALL were used to purchase the lease of a modest building in Water St south and this was the home of the Jazz Society until 2012 when the lease expired. The land where the building once stood is now part of a flood detention basin in Clewley Park.
The Toowoomba Jazz Society now uses the function room at the North Toowoomba Bowls Club.