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Jazz band has lowdown on sweet success

Singer and drummer Sandra Talty is a jazz mama.

She's the frontwoman of The Sweet Lowdowns, a classic jazz band of Canberrans who moved to Melbourne for the bigger music scene and to work.

The quartet's string bassist, Richard Mander, is Talty's husband and their children are baby Josephine and Gwen, 2.

The girls are jazz divas in the making who like to imitate their mother when she sings and have a taste for Doris Day and Ella Fitzgerald (plus the Wiggles).

''A lot of people would have given up [performing] after having kids, but I don't think we're ever going to give it up,'' Talty said.

That said, she does try to shed her mum persona when she takes to the stage.


''I pretend I'm one of the great vocalists from the '20s and '30s and that helps get the right feel.''

The Sweet Lowdowns - Talty, Mander, plus Michael McQuaid on reeds and trumpet and guitarist Liam O'Connell - are returning to Canberra for a concert tomorrow week.

The band is presented by the Canberra Jazz Club, a not-for-profit group that aims to foster live jazz in the community. It'll be a homecoming for a band that last performed in Canberra in 2008.

They'll perform from their repertoire of French gypsy swing, western swing, 1920s New Orleans roots, 1930s speakeasy jazz and blues and their own original tunes, and will be joined by Australian jazz pianist Peter Locke.

Talty's advice to jazz rookies starting up bands was to be true to the music.

''Go in and get the music you like out there,'' she said.

Tickets to The Sweet Lowdowns' concert at the Canberra Southern Cross Woden cost $25 and can be booked on 62837288.