In 1949 the ex-Duke Ellington cornet player Rex Stewart toured Australia with Graeme Bell’s Australian Jazz Band. While here he also played and recorded with the Sydney modernists and appeared at the 4th Australian Jazz Convention in Melbourne. As the not-for-profit AJC became financially successful, an early dream finally became a reality with the involvement of an international jazz identity. It was finally implemented in December 1960 by the autonomous Sydney committee who brought out English jazz trumpet player, Ken Colyer.
Over the years, until 1985, AJC committees organised and funded important overseas guest artists including diverse jazz personalities Alton Purnell, Bud Freeman, Dick Cary, Kenny Davern, Dill Jones, Danny Moss, Digby Fairweather, Art Hodes, the Turk Murphy Band and The World’s Greatest Jazz Band. Additionally, other overseas jazz musicians performing in Australia at the time attended the AJC including Billy Banks, Sammy Price, Tom Pletcher and Beryl Bryden.