Welcome to The Pearly Shells


“Bassist- vocalist Steve Purcell makes invigorating, witty and swinging music”            Ken Williams    The Age

“Sensuous and cinematic, a kind of bluesy swing with a smokey noir vibe” – MELBOURNE TIMES

Steve Purcell's Pearly ShellsOver more than 10 years, The Pearly Shells have gained a reputation as Melbourne’s premier Jazz/Swing/RnB band with a classic style and look reminiscent of the Golden Age of Ellington, Basie, Goodman and Brother Ray.

Famous for their Swingin’ back beat sound and Hollywood style, luminescent clam-shell stands, The Pearlys have been providing atmospheric sound tracks and irresistible dance grooves in bars, clubs, festivals and dancehalls as well as at parties, receptions and other “doos” uncountable.

With their enormous repertoire and variety of band sizes, The Pearly Shells pride themselves on striking the right tone for any musical situation.

The flagship line-up is The Pearly Shells Swing Orchestra , the ten Piece “Little big band” comprising 3 saxes, 2 trumpets, trombone, piano, double bass, guitar and drums and often joined by some of the cream of Melbourne’s jazz singing fraternity.

Playing their own arrangements of the Big Band classics and Pearly Shell originals, the band is famous with dancers for its ability to leave the written music behind “Riffout” when things are really swinging!

The Pearly Shells Swing Orchestra features a stellar line-up of Melbourne Jazz players from across the generations, including in the horn section:
Adam Simmons, baritone; Dean Hilson and Rob Glaesemann tenor saxes; Bruce Sandell tenor/alto; Vinnie Bourke and Paul Coyle trumpets; Shannon Barnett trombone; Dai Jones guitar; Dave Allardice piano; Andy Swann drums and Steve Purcell double bass and vocals.

The Pearly Shells can also be found playing ’round town in a variety of small band combos gleaned from the Big Band including the PS Trio, Hot Five and Hot Seven (see bookings page).