No News is Good News? The Jam Sessions start this Sunday

Avid readers of the Jammers News will have noticed that there has been no news since the 16th December. Avid readers of the Saturday Age will have noticed something similar, but for $3.50 more…

So… it is back to the Leinster Arms, favoured watering hole of the Colliwobble cognoscenti, this Sunday 19th January, for the first Jam Session of 2015. The punters (Front Bar Eight Ball Division) will no doubt be aghast, birds will fall, lifeless but relieved, from the tree out the front, the windows, cheap stained glass renditions of Irish motifs though they be, will rattle and roll, Hortense may be hovering in the background, dreaming of years gone by and opportunities missed, and, if Madge has her way, which she often does, this will be the longest sentence of the year, unless Rotten Ronnie Junior joins forces with the Datsun 120B Boys of Moonee Ponds once more for a night of debauchery followed by a deep and meaningful conversation with a tone deaf Magistrate in the Bairnsdale Working Mens Club and Combination Sessional Assizes.

Which, by the way, was the scene of Madge’s last performance, before the stage collapsed.

Or you could just turn up and blow the tits off your favourite toon.

Captain Chaos has promised to appear. Jazz may be played, but only as an aberration.

4.00pm start.

Captain Chaos Fridays at the Laika Bar: The Divine Miss Smith… it had to happen

The Divine Miss Smith

The Divine Miss Smith

Yup, the last CCQ event of the year will feature the Divine Miss Smith, and about time too!

After last Friday’s busy little sesh with the immaculate Mme Sonia Davoine, things are going to turn decidedly quirky: always assuming the Divine Miss Smith doesn’t lose her car keys, turns up only marginally late, and hits a few of those numbers we love.. ably supported by the Captain (sax), meself (piano) and Doug “haircut” Kuhn, with Peter Cole as special guest on sax.

The Laika Bar is turning out to be a bit of a gem – there is a constantly passing parade of Fitzroy Street fashionista, gangsters, wannabes, confused tourists, poseurs and maybe even your good self. Drop in for a wine or even a fabulously expensive cocktail – and say g’day to the Diva

The Divine Miss Smith, Laika Bar, 6 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, from 7.32pm, Friday 19th December.

The Last Jam Session of the year: Pre Christmas bash at the Lunatic Soup Lounge

The Annual Jammers pre Christmas bash kicks off in the Gold Street Gossip Shop Atrium at 1.00pm this Sunday December 14th for those jammers desirous of a light luncheon, with what we laughably refer to as music starting shortly thereafter. Piss elegance may not be the order of the day, but you should at least start with good intentions.

You may expect an afternoon of ballad bashing, bossa bungling, standards mangling, interspersed with malicious gossip, slander, outrageous lies and innuendo. There will be a separate room for innuendo. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that a little jazz will be thrown into the mix. In this case, try and keep a straight face, and do not call the Fire Brigade, as it will generally self extinguish in no time at all.

You are encouraged to bring wives, husbands, partners, children and grandparents, but they are not to be eaten before 4.00pm. The whole shebang is expected to descend into a shambles some time after 6.00pm, so there will be plenty of time for those wishing to play.

Feel free to enjoy yourselves, but preferably in private.

Enthusiasm essential, charts a bonus, performance anxiety optional and competence to be well concealed as a kindness to others.

The last Jam of the year – see ya there?

The Lunatic Soup Lounge last Sunday: sweet!

Sunday arvo at the Leinster can be a hit or miss affair. After last week’s shenanigans, one could hardly have thought this would turn out to be much at all. And for starters, it wasn’t… but as it turns out, this was about as enjoyable an afternoon as I can remember – the regular crew, ably lead by Captain Chaos himself, all got up and boogied, or sat back and gossiped over the occasional cooling draught, as they are wont to do.

Doug Kuhn, Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse, Noel the Sax, Ben Stewart, Is Don Is Good, Monsieur Sebastien, Peter Cole, Kevin the Krooner, Glen (Il Duce to those in the Know), Bob the Piano, Curtis at his debonair  best, the Divine Miss Smith, Ivan Five String Bass, Jason The Hat, trumpets, chord wranglers,  drinkers, gossipers, the lightly medicated and confused… all conspired to produce an afternoon of aural delights that occasionally veered into the dangerous waters of real jazz, but in a good way.

Possible highlights of the afternoon were the Tyro piano player launching into a tune he didn’t know and making a pretty fair fist of it; and that rarest of occasions,  the Captain forgetting to call fours, although the pick of the bunch, for me, was Jason on sax, making the rest of us sound better than we really are. Any time, feel free…

Ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids…



The Leinster Bar… well, we stuffed that up didn’t we?

After last week’s gallimaufrey of bass players, this week it was the piano players turn:

Ade Ish, Larry from Townsville, Rory Clark, Sam Izzo, Gentleman John Curtis (welcome back, were ya been!), the Venerable Bob and meself all got a short turn eventually. The Ageing Roue played an inordinate amount of might fine sax, and the Captain played a subordinate amount of mighty fine sax, as did Noel. Ben and Chic provided some neat guitar work, hardly anyone sang (well, Kevin smoothed things out for a while), young tyros Tom and Mike played drums and trombone,  Doug Haircut Kuhn nearly got trampled in the rush, Sebastien rattled between good and not so, and Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse  provided a relieving role on bass.

So, why did we stuff it up? Such was the seemingly endless procession of hot jazz that a few of the less experienced jammers missed out or left early – with that much talent in the room, getting up to play after them would be an unnerving experience.

The essence of the jams is to get everyone involved as much as possible, even if this does mean that the standard of music becomes a bit, err, variable. So if you missed out, please come back and if Coltrane walks in and takes over, we will toss him out in your favour, on the grounds that (a) he needs to join in not take over, (b) he probably won’t come back next week as he is too busy reissuing dodgy compilation CD’s,  (c) he is dead and (d) we would rather you played anyway. Or any way, as long as it is fun.

Or not as the case may be…

Props to Peter Cole for getting this, waiting for his opportunity,  and blowing up a storm, to Sam Izzo who got the briefest of sessions and still got drowned out by the soloists,  and most particularly to Colonel T for his patience before finally getting up on bass and swinging. Unheard of, call a doctor. Or a vet. Or a mechanic. I give up, what does he run on?

We will try to do better next time –


The Laika Bar: Angie Strickland with the CCQ

Last Friday saw a polished little Ange, accompanied by Jason Chalmers playing out of his skin on saxaphone, and Doug Kuhn (bass) and meself (piano) fill in the doofy bits and twiddly bits where needed. The Diva trotted out a coupla great new  ballads.

A good turn up of people dropping in for a listen, although not as big as the first week. Well received by the Laika folks.

No Captain Chaos Quartet this week, as the Laika had a prebooked solo singer. Next week… stay tuned!… the CCQ will be back.



The Ludicrous Arms Jam Session; Hortense goes on a diet. Madge doesn’t.

It may have been at last week’s debacle at the West Altona Distressed Gentlefolk’s Bide A Wee Rest Home Meet and Greet (apparently it wasn’t a barbecue after all) that Hortense announced she was going on a diet. After much and morose deliberation she settled on a Vegan. Nobody was more surprised than the Vegan.

It is Madge’s proud boast that she once went on a diet – she ate seven Chiko Rolls in a single session at the Strangled Ferret. As this had no discernible effect, she has since reverted to her more customary nine. Diets are, in her opinion a load of old rubbish.

Which brings me to the Jam Session. Come Sunday Arvo, at the Gold Street Dentistry Emporium and Gossip Shop, several musos were sinking their teeth into the nether parts of a wide variety of toons: starting with a debutant pianist on Tenor Madness, followed by Mercy Mercy Mercy, Boplicity, Equinox and a bunch of Debbie’s bouncy little numbers. All delivered with some panache and no bassist at all until Ivan turned up.

It actually started as a bit of a rough afternoon, but ended up swimmingly , with a surprising number of new faces in the crowd: Ken singing, a trumpeter whose name I forget, saxophonists aplenty, Chico on guitar and Sam on bass towards the end. And speaking of new faces I am not of course referring to Mr Hirsh although he was the pick of the drummers.

In truth, there were only two pianists all afternoon and one of them had very sore hands by the end of it, but a splendid session of ballad mangling, gossip and Carlton Daft.

Summer is upon us. See ya Sunday?


Sunday Arvo Jam Session, The Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Collingwood every Sunday, 4.00 until the Captain Calls it Quits, or about 7.30, whichever comes last…

What Where When Why Wang

Apparently there was a Jazz Festival in Wang, in amongst the crowds of people milling about Reid Street enjoying the deep fried food on offer to wash down the occasional social lubricant. Saturday started wet, then blew hard, and Sunday started cold then turned delightful. I am referring of course to the peripatetic Jammers, who played in the street (dancing),  played at the Bulls Head (full) the Festival Market (9.00am start, a good crowd and good grief!) and ended up enjoying fine sets on the free stage from Agus Batara, Standing Tall and the blindingly good Ish Allen Project, before putting up a Sunday evening set at the Bull once more.

Props to the tireless Divine Miss Smith, Doug on bass and Chris LeBon, all in top form. And to The Captain and Ashley for organising the whole weekend.

Are ya coming next Year?

The missing bass, and the Captain turns up late wearing a cheap suit

Sunday was a warm day, well fitted for convivial conversation and the occasional healing draught of social lubricant. Or it should have been, when Bob and I sauntered in to the Upper Mid Gold Street Gossip Shop, we were met with… almost nothing.

As in no soloists, no bass player, no charts and not much inspiration. A desultory start to a Jam Session, although when the Captain arrived, noise was soon the order of the day. He wasn’t really wearing a cheap suit, it just gave that appearance. Such is life for the extra 3B reserve saxophones in the Port Phillip Show Band, apparently.

A few phone calls rustled up the prerequisite bass player (Ivan the not Terrible at all) and in no time, or 45 minutes, take your pick, we had started to murder perfectly respectable jazz tunes by the dozen.

Props to Christine Manetta for insisting on singing Cry Me A River in the wrong key, cheerfully expecting the band to transpose without charts. It was a memorable mess, although she did manage to redeem herself by sing Route 66 in the right key, rather well.

Really, there should be more than one trainwreck for the afternoon, but you have to take what you can get.

By the time Ivan had reduced his fingers to a mangled mess, and the rest of us had sat back with the aforementioned soothing draught or three, it became apparent that most of the problems of the world could be solved quite simply, but, on sober reflection, none of us can quite remember how.

So, we will have to start all over again, next week.

Ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids


Sunday Arvo Jam Session, The Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Collingwood every Sunday, 4.00 until the Captain falls over.

The Gold Street Tearoomes: scones all round

Spring, it would seem, is on its way – last Sunday being a particularly balmy opportunity for sitting outside the Leinster Arms, historic single storey watering hole to the gentry etc.etc. and watch the birds fall out of the paperbark tree with their wings tightly stuffed in their little birdy ears. Yes, yet again the jam session was in full swing, or perhaps more accurately in full bebop.

Not a huge crowd of musos, but some very good ones, had a fine old time – Gentleman John Curtis led the hymn singing for a while, Hirsh spent a few brief minutes replacing about half of the drum kit before drumming up a storm, the Captain comprehensively murdered When I Look in Your Eyes, having given a chart to the Curtis, thereby fooling said Gentleman into thinking that there was a relationship between the chart and the saxaphone playing that ensued. Then Jason (sax) got up to blow the proverbials off a toon or six in fine style.

Remarkably, there were no singers – at least until the Divine Miss Smiff turned up late (which is quite early by her standards). Doug and Ivan amused themselves playing five and four string basses respectively, Sam Izzo jumped the keys, the Captain, Ali Chico and I think Peter C joined in, Hirsh and Mark (?) traded places at the drums, and the place was fairly rocking by the time I left.

A fine afternoon’s entertainment all round. Normal service will be resumed shortly.



Sunday Arvo Jam Session, The Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Collingwood every Sunday, 4.00 until the Captain runs out of notes

There was a Jam, wasn’t there?

Due to both the Captain and meself being otherwise engaged on Castlemaine Jazz Festival matters, I have relied on both Madge from Altona and the ethereal Miss Hortense for the following reports of proceedings…

Madge, as is not unusual, may have been soundly asleep in a corner of the back bar, having indulged in a light breakfast of three Winnie blues, some cold chips and a chipped mug full of ersatz instant coffee, before preparing herself for the afternoon with several cartons of Carlton daft and some cask port laced with brandy, which seemed like a good idea at the time, and probably still does..

Having thus attained a mood of somnolent imperturbability, she proceeded to snore somewhat rhythmically for the several hours of music to which she had subjected herself. The tempo, if not the volume, of the snoring was generally held to be a vast improvement on some of the more usual drummers.

Hortense, on the other hand, had a splendid afternoon of eightball in the front bar, followed by several hours spent picking up green baise cloth and sticking it back down with a glue stick, before attempting to light the gas log fire with the considerable amount of kindling she had generated. If anyone would like to purchase an empty cue rack, pop into the  Lunatic Soup Lounge next Sunday.

I am reliably informed by Glen (Il Duce to those in the know) that it was a quietly pleasant jam session, Gentleman John Curtis in the chair, so none of the above may be true. I can honestly say that I have never heard music played better, in the circumstances, and look forward to normal service being resumed next week.

And the Captain? You may well ask, but he has put his hand up to do the Castlemaine thing all over again, as have I, John Hannah, Doug Kuhn, Brett Willis, and five or six others from Castlemaine. Experience, they say, is recognising your mistakes when you make them again, so we can look forward to some real purlers come June 6th 2015….



Sunday Arvo Jam Session, The Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Collingwood every Sunday, 4.00 until the Captain falls over.

Jazz at The Leinster: Another first

They are putting a new road through a tunnel, right under Refinery Terrace. What with the bicycle path, relocated lamp posts, and native ecosystem reboot that is all part of Councillor Elect Dodgy Dave’s plan for a newer, brighter Altona West, Madge fears, as she blearily remarked to me the other day, whilst putting out the empties ( a box of stubbies and three sailors) that Refinery Terrace will never be the same again. Not that it ever was, but your memory can play tricks on you after a night spent slurping The Strangled Ferret’s house gluhwein in the company of unsuspecting merchant matelots.

Fortunately, these types of plan are never quite realised, as to do so would deprive Dodgy Dave of an election promise that might otherwise work for him again and again. So it is reasonable to expect that things will be much the same as before, only different.

Which brings me to the Jam Session, at much of which I was not. The afternoon was dominated, I was told, by singers. Dominated! Were they all dressed in skin tight black leather, metal stilettos and dark glasses of the uber kewl variety., and waving whips? Judging by the Captain’s enthusiasm, quite possibly.

When I eventually fronted, there was something closely approximating jazz going on, a tight rhythm section led by Doug Kuhn, Lisette tickling the ivories, Angela Strickland singing, a general air of bonhomie and quite possibly jazz cigarettes being passed around on the pavement outside.

So I spent an entertaining hour or two listening to some fine music, sipping on a Guinness and catching up on the gossip with the Divine Miss Smith, several of whose observations I am sworn not to repeat.

Ya wouldn’t be dead for quids

Sunday Arvo Jam Session, The Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Collingwood this Sunday, 4.00 until Gentleman John Curtis calls stumps, the Captain being up in Castlemaine this week,