Ade, sometimes known “Father Ade” or “Lazy Ade” was a central and popular figure in Australian trad jazz – his influence on Australian jazz has been compared with Louis Armstrong’s influence on international jazz. He had a long career commencing in the 1930s when, as a young man, he played with the Bell brothers Roger and Graeme and their friends in Melbourne, playing the music of the New Orleans pioneers which they had heard only through recordings. In 1947 he was a prominent player in the Graeme Bell band when it made the first of its tours to Europe and spearheaded the revival of classic jazz worldwide, and he continued to tour with the Bell band until 1952. Over the years, he played with groups led by Roger Bell, Dave Dallwitz, Len Barnard and Frank Traynor, as well as leading his own bands, called his Late Hour Boys. He was a mentor for many younger musicians.
Ade was a true multi-instrumentalist and played valve trombone, trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, piano, violin, recorder and also sang. He recorded prolifically – the discography compiled for the Victorian Jazz Archive, contains 58 pages listing his recordings.
Ade was the co-founder with Pixie Roberts of Pan Recorders, which from 1951 manufactured recorders in Victoria for the first time, and he introduced them into schools in Victoria and New South Wales. Fred Morgan who later become an internationally renowned recorder maker, worked for a time at the Pan factory in Melbourne. Ade worked for a time teaching music in Victorian and New South Wales secondary schools.
He made several recordings on recorder in the 1950’s and 1960’s (for Swaggie Records and W&G record company) which are now available in the delightful CD “Recorder In Ragtime”, in which he plays recorder mostly with a classic rhythm section of piano, banjo, tube and washboard, but with some interesting additions, including violin and piano accordion on some tracks.