Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vale Edwin Duff 1928-2012

He was regular sight around Kings Cross where his name is immortalised in stone on the footpaths- the diminutive jazz singer Edwin Duff who passed away last Monday at a nursing home in Vaucluse at the age of 84.

Barry Crocker & Edwin Duff
Edwin emigrated from Scotland in 1938 at the age of 10 as a 'ten pound Pom". On board the ship he won a talent quest impressing the audience with his soulful voice. One of those in the audience was associated with the Melbourne radio station 3KZ. He invited Edwin to sing on air with a group of children and he was such a success that he was soon invited to sing in variety concerts. leaving school at the age of 14 he became a regular entertainer in coffee shops, restaurants and clubs.

During the 1960s and 70s Edwin was part of trio of singers who appeared regularly on TV shows including Graham Kennedy Tonight in Melbourne and the Don Lane Show in Sydney. One of the them, Norm Erskine became a club regular while the other Tony Monopoly went to the UK where he found fame as the winner of the Opportunity Knocks talent quest. All 3 teemed up for Edwin's 60th birthday in 1988 for a concert at the East's Leagues Club.

Edwin was small in stature at 5'3" but his smooth jazz vocals made him a popular act around the smarter Sydney nightclubs like Quo Vardis, Abe Saffron's Roosevelt Room and Denis Wong's Chequers where Duff crooned one night for an hour along with Frank Sinatra. And at the age of 72 he hired the Darlinghurst Theatre and appeared for 5 nights to a capacity audience. Today he was cremated with singers Barry Crocker and Delilah officiating at the service.
Here is Edwin singing with Peter Kaye, host of the show Saturday Night Live.