Mark Stryker, music critic of the Detroit Free Press, sent this note:
Thought you might be interested in this a couple months ago I recall a comment on your Mitch Miller/Bird post including a reference to the Australian Jazz Quartet/Quintet. The vibraphonist from the group, Jack Brokensha, a longtime Detroiter, died this week at 84. This is a link to the Free Press obituary.
Couldn’t find any YouTube clips with Jack, save a few Motown hits where he’s playing various percussion instruments and/or vibes. There must be film of the band somewhere; I can’t imagine they weren’t on television at some point, particularly when they went back to Australia to play. Interestingly, Jack once showed me a fascinating reel of home movies that he had taken back in the middle ’50s when the AJQ was traveling widely as part of package tours with Miles Davis’s band, Brubeck, Carmen McRae and others. The films were super 8 and they were silent. What stays with me 14 years later is that you saw all the cats relaxed on tour, waiting for the bus, hanging on the street, smiling for the camera (Miles too), plus film of the marquees and clubs in various cities. My memory is hazy but I think he also had film of the various groups performing though the reason this doesn’t stick out is that, as I said, it was all silent footage.
Brokensha was a sweet guy with a firecracker personality. He was a real fixture here.