Stewie Speer

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Stewie Speer (Stewart Speer, 26 June 1928 – 16 September 1986) was an Australian jazz and rock drummer who is best known as a member of the 1960s-70s Australian group Max Merritt & The Meteors.

Like Charlie Watts, Speer was one of many Australian musicians who began their career in jazz but later branched out into the pop/rock scene and, like other contemporary Australian jazz musicians who worked in popular music (e.g. Bob Bertles, Bernie McGann, Warren Daly, Bobby Gebert, Don Burrows) Speer was known for his ability to work across many musical genres.

Early life and jazz career

Born in Melbourne, Victoria, Speer was one of the generation of distinguished Melbourne jazz drummers who came onto the music scene in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Alongside contemporaries like Len Barnard, John Sangster, Laurie Thompson and Alan Turnbull, Speer was strongly influenced by Melbourne's three leading "trad" drummers, Bob Featherstone, Charlie Blott and Billy Hyde, who founded the well-known Australian music company that bears his name.

Throughout the 1950s Speer played the prevailing trad jazz style with Roger Bell, Bob Barnard, Frank Traynor and others, but he was drawn irresistibly to bebop, which had begun to filter across to Australia from the USA in the late 1940s.

Although 'trad' ruled the roost in Australian jazz well into the 1950s, both Speer and Charlie Blott amassed considerable collections of imported bebop records and both were avid fans of the new genre....
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