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Bob Passmore formed Counterpoint around 1991 when he first became involved with the NQ Jazz Club at the Rugby League Club in Redpath Street, North Ward. The band’s name is from the musical term counterpoint – a melody added as accompaniment to an existing melody – somewhat like jazz...

Since those early days Counterpoint basically operates as a vehicle to showcase visiting (or local) musicians because of its fluid membership.

Current basic trio line-up is
Piano               - John Ruffle or Steve Martin
Drums             - Reg Braun or Doug Lye
Bass & sax     - Bob Passmore


Additional members
Vocals - Vicki Salisbury or Sara Shaw

Horns  - Les Nicholson, David Salisbury
Guitar  - Larry Thomson

Counterpoint plays Swing, Modern Jazz (generally not bop or fusion) and Latin styles.

Musical Biography – Bob Passmore

Had three months of piano lessons when about 10 years of age, first started saxophone (alto) at age 14, played country dance bands from about 15 to 19 years old. From age 20 to 38 years mainly played in pub bands, show bands (very little jazz) in both Brisbane and Townsville.

Around 1974/75 Bob played with the Battersby Big Band Sweet Inspiration on a regular TV show and at the Musos Ball at the beautiful old Cloudland Ballroom in Brisbane which had the best dance floor imaginable.

A couple of years later, just before he came to Townsville, Bob was offered an opportunity to play in the Lotus Room (which was Brisbane’s most well-known jazz club) and the spot was for a bass player. “So I had to learn overnight! I was awful for a long while!” recalls Bob.


In about 1985 Bob started working with Larry Thomson and developing his knowledge of jazz – which had been a passion since a very early age. Muggsy Spanier, Louis Jordan, Ray Charles and Freddy Gardiner were his earliest influences. Around this time Bob joined Les Nicholson’s Pacific Mainstream Jazz Band and is still playing sax in this band.


When Brian Lane raised the idea in 1997 of starting an activity to encourage young jazz musicians Bob became one of the Directors of Nth Qld Junior Jazz Festival Inc. which ran for seven years. He has also been heavily involved in all of the Palmer Street Jazz Festivals since it commenced in 1997.


Bob’s association with NQ Jazz Club has continued since the early 1990s and in 2011 he joined the committee with the primary role of co-ordinating the jazz bands for the club’s annual program of bi-monthly gigs. In addition to this role, Bob co-ordinates bands for a variety of venues throughout the year.


In the words of Steve martin, a fellow Townsville jazz musician “Bob is probably the current father of jazz in Townsville. It would not be what it is today without his constant input and enthusiasm driving it along... finding gigs... talking to management etc., etc.”

Counterpoint