The Gold Street Suprisarama

Having attended, at a rough guess, 276 jam sessions, I have noticed that you can often tell from the get-go whether a session is going to be average or excellent. Average being a mathematical expression that is rarely supported by fact.

I have also learnt that this is a rule much honoured in the breach. Hortense, be quiet!

Anyhoo, I would have put this one down as a meagre affair, so it was with some surprise that I counted 20 musicians as turning up, tuning in, and doing their thing. It all ended up quite classy, despite my best efforts at drumming at the outset.

Props to Sebastien, who drummed with a sensitivity that one would assume was beyond a Frenchman, to Sonya, for a couple of swinging numbers sung with elan, to George whose bass gets better and better, and particularly to Miss Hayres for singing a couple of numbers with which my acquaintance was somewhere between not much and not at all.

The Captain, after a stressful week of scheduling bands for the jazz festival, rose to the occasion, and Chameleon was a standout – even Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse ( I don’t know what happened to the other three) got in the groove, and stayed there ’til cooked. As a general rule, this is a tune that is on a par with waterboarding, watching paint dry and listening to Tony Abbott, possibly simultaneously. but rules are made to be broken: best I have heard it, really.

Ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids. Try The Lunatic Soup Lounge next week.


The Lunatic Soup Lounge… ssh!

After the lively session last week, I half expected the back bar to be packed. Turns out I was half right, but it was the other half.

The smallish turnout got to enjoy an afternoon of Captain Chaos specials – very few singers in attendance, but a welcome return from Sebastien and the ever improving Paul Phillips on drums, some bizarre musical direction from Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Cavalry, and some fine bass work from George, and young Jonah. They are both booked for Ruby’s Music Room, of which more anon.

A late entrant was the Christine/Bruce quinella, well backed and did not disappoint. Hortense would have approved, had she been there, which she probably wasn’t due to a Prior Engagement. Sympathies to the Prior.

All in all, a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and although several of the Captain’s more obscure toons did lie somewhat mangled on the floor at the end of it, nobody suffered a permanent injury, which was nice.

Stick to the black notes – they’re cheaper!

The Gold Street Gossip Shop: Absolute knockout

A quietish start to the arvo, with some classy instrumentals from Doug, Simon “getya haircut” Atkinson and John C. Sounded like real Jazz for a while, but after the Captain turned up in his Port Phillip Brass Band uniform, normal service soon resumed, and the sessions lurched from good to average to bloodyawful as it usually does. The (possibly guilty) parties also included meself, Bob (piano) Paul Phillips and Spike on drums, Ivan (bass), George (bass) Taariq (guitar) and Celeste and the Divine Miss Smith. Well, we were all guilty of something…

Later on, we tried a session with just bass/drums/guitar which successfully emptied the Front Bar as well as the back bar, even though the lads were having fun.

Finally, after most everyone had gone home, Sevil Sabah and Chelly got up to sing – with Doug Kuhn on bass, Spike on drums, meself on piano and Ben Stewart on guitar. The Captain joined in on sax later on.

Gob smackingly good. Kate Vigo (Route 66) once bowled them over at the old Dizzy’s, Henry Manetta (Cry Me A River) was sensational at the Scarlette Bar about eight years ago. There was a six saxaphone session at Ramage in about 2009 that really cooked. Given my (peripheral) involvement I hesitate to say this, but what took place last Sunday was the best 30 minute set that I can remember in 20 years of going to the jam sessions.

If ya missed it, bad luck! Be back next week.

The Ludicrous Arms, Gold Street Collingwood

After last week’s near perfect jam session, normal service will be resumed on the 27th April, at 4.00pm sharp. Or flat. Probably both if history is a guide.

The Captain has returned from Adelaide, and the rest of us from whatever you got up to last week. Hortense, just possibly, may be there. Or not as the case may be.

She has spent the last few days in court, poor dear, having returned home late one morning to discover a summons. Any mail excites Hortense, and indeed she often says she doesn’t get enough of it; so she was off to the Magistrates in a flash, having neglected to top up her Myki. Hortense’s Myki hasn’t been topped up in quite a while, it seems.

Anyhoo, she pleaded guilty to all charges, took a fancy to the tipstaff, and went home poorer but no wiser. I have no idea what all this means, but, um there wasn’t a jam session last week.

So, where was I? Ah yes, normal service. Turn up, why don’t you, it should be fun, and there will be a prize for everyone attending. Yippee!

Some More Jam Session Terms Explained

Part of an ongoing series of one.

Soloist: Can only play one instrument at a time, often quite loudly or badly. If talking to a soloist, make sure that you speak clearly, as they are often not good listeners, due to lack of practice. On no account should you mention the presence of a rhythm section, as this might startle them.

Saxophonist: a sub set of soloist. They cannot all put five beats to the bar in a 4/4 tune, but most of them are pretty good at it.

Trumpeter: They can play louder than a saxophonist. They could also play quieter, but no trumpeter has ever tried this in living memory.

Guitarist: A gifted player without whom the entire band would fall to pieces. It wouldn’t matter if they did, because no-one can hear anyone else anyway.. Needs to be attached by some electrical wiring to a large box. Or to a rafter, in some cases.

Bass player: Intelligent, talented, young, good looking, delusional.

Vocalist: someone who is always right. Often sings with a five piece band , all of whom are in the wrong key.

Pianist: someone adept at playing entirely different notes to the vocalist. This is referred to as a “melody”. Often plays the wrong notes, but prefers to call these “altered chords”.

Rhythms section: note the plural. A mildly deranged collection of drummers, guitarists, pianists and bass players who can play different rhythms, and sadly often do. All at once.

Arrangement: A device used by vocalists to confuse everybody. Including the vocalist.

Charts: an indication of what you should have been playing.

Fours: often called by the Captain as a warning that there will be five bars.

Vibrato: Hortense, put that down, it is not what you think . . .

Something Cool

Composer Billy Barnes (1927-2012) wrote Something Cool released by June Christie in 1953.
As Alan Kurtz has said it is a remarkable four minute drama.
Listen to June Christie here on You Tube.
What  is the song about?
Kurtz takes the meaning to be along the lines of Blanche Dubois in a Streetcar Named Desire, a role recently reprised by Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen’s latest movie.

Are the words a dream or a memory. I’ll leave you to work it out.


The Gold Street Gossip Shop : Well, that was weird…

An entire session without a bass player … leading to some mighty fine adjustments from the usual suspects, if not from a coupla unusual suspects as well.

After last week’s shenanigans, it was almost a relief to quieten down a bit, although I suspect the Captain gets more fun from creating chaos on a grander scale. An opportunity to trot through the entire canon of songswhatcolknows and a few gems amongst thetrainwrecks were to be savoured.

Notwithstanding the lack of basso profundo, some dextrous playing by Lisette (looking rather spiffin’ as she had a gig to go to after), a fair innings from the debonair JC, and Chelly going the tonk later in the arvo. All rather pleasant and even, on occasion, restrained.

It could have been the cold weather, but personally I think society is to blame.

Nobody received a knighthood, so that was nice..


What’s On, What’s Not

Rubys Music Room: The Captain Chaos Sessions: Not Now Hortense…

Risa duly packed ‘em in last week, for a cracker of a session as promised.. So if you missed it, you will almost certainly be heading down to Ruby’s Music Room this Friday to see Sevil Sabah do her sultry little thing. Don’t – RMR will be closed for a private function for Friday night (at which the Sevil Sabah Trio will be playing) …. for a Lithuanian wedding reception.

Next week, Amy Jaulin hits the stage Friday 21st March, followed by Ange Strickland on 28th March. Should be some gems between them. More anon…

Ruby’s Music Room, Bennett\’s Lane, Friday March, CLOSED.

The Castlemaine Jazz Festival June 7th and 8th 2014:

The rush of band applications continues – Captain Chaos and moi will be struggling with the mighty spreadsheet whilst the rest of the Committee do the real work… Band applications will be closing on April 15th, so get yours in now. Then go out and sell your grandma some tickets…

Kojo Brown: Group du Jour

Richmond’s finest lamb shanks continue to appeal. Kojo Brown provides Saturday night spots for the Jammers – Buddy has been singing there for years, Anne Hayres is a regular, and in more recent times, Ruby Rogers, Amy and Sevil have all had a number of nights without scaring the locals.

Whoever is there (and this week it might be Chelly Parisi) the shanks will be fabulous.

Kojo Brown, Church Street, Richmond, Saturday 7.00 – 10.00pm

The Gold Street Gossip ShopSunday Arvo Session (episode 192)

If you worked all Sunday and got there late, you will have missed as much as me….fortunately, I got there just in time to catch Peter Bennett (bass) Don (guitar) and Gentleman John Curtis (piano) ripping through some jazzy little toons – sounded like real music for a while before the Captain (sax) and I (drumsfergawdssake) managed to restore normal service.

Despite my worst efforts, it took quite a while to persuade Glen (Il Duce) to take over the slap bash and rattle department, and the afternoon took off. After last week’s seven singers, the tonsil artistes were a bit thin number-wise, but Christine Manetta and Bruce (d) managed to reduce us to chaos on a coupla songs, the Debster and Bob Vinard had a fine old time, and Spike (playing RMR with Ange on March 28th) set up a magic little groove or three before a late breaking Sebastien cooled it all down.

The guitars had the best of it – Bennett switching to six strings and making them sound like eight, – Ian stretching it out with a few fine solos later on, whilst I sat outside in the late afternoon sun discussing the dubious fortunes of Barcelona FC and listening to some smooth -as jazz.

Ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids.

The Leinster Arms: QLD

The Gold Street Gossip Shop has been going off, of late. This one took a while to get going, and was decidedly off on occasion – a quieter session than usual but some roses amongst the thorns as ever. Hortense, who has of late, been barely visible, if at all, was barely visible. But I am unreliably informed that she might have been there, and as I couldn’t see that she wasn’t, must assume that to be the case.

She and Madge have taken to hanging about the combination Altona West bus shelter and Revivalist Meeting Hall of an evening. Hortense is beginning to think that Rotten Ronnie Junior will never show up, Madge the meanwhile remaining firmly seated, with a satisfied grin on her face.

If he ever gets found out, Rotten Ronnie will flatly deny everything.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the jam session… nice little interlude from Logan, fresh from the Land of the Long White Cloud (drummer). Restrained elegant session from Monsieur Sebastien. The Divine Miss Smith turned up late. Noel dropped in. Bishop Bennett, possibly awaiting the red cap now the monstrous Pell has gone to Rome to count shekels or something, played guitar and bass, Mr T alternated, Chelly turned up and didn’t sing. Kay turned up and did.

And we all played the usual rubbish, followed by the unusual rubbish, followed probably by more of the usual rubbish. Time to lean on the bar and have a Quiet Little Drink. “Twas all fun, but.

See ya this week?


The Gold Street Gossip Shop – where too much music is…, probably too much

In a break from tradition, last week’s Jam Session was held on a Sunday Afternoon for a change. This is in total contrast to the mid Eighteenth Century, when, by tradition, the jam session wasn’t held at all because it hadn’t been invented yet, and anyway, we were all too busy dreaming up unlikely outcomes from the Balkan Wars, of which more anon, or not, if I forget.
But I digress.
Other than Sir Roger de Coverley playing swing, this session had a bit of everything – the Clark gang in fine style, Ali producing a beautiful solo on And I Love Him, Chelly Parisi, singing up a storm, and elegant with it; Captain Chaos on top of it all afternoon, and Bob in particularly good form on piano. Bishop Bennet, Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Division, Ian Andrews, Sebastien and a coupla others providing the rhythm section, and the rest of us jost bopping about having a good time. Coda by Ann Schmith. Not a great session, or a particularly large one, but the sort that can often be the most fun for players and audience alike. Nobody Died, and we’ll all do it again next week – other than the Halls Gaps Desperates who feel the need to rush off to the middle of nowhere and  indulge in real jazz – don’t be fooled into thinking that they haven’t rehearsed, it just sounds that way from time to time. So,  come to think of it, next week, there will be no-one at the Lunatic Soup Lounge:  don’t turn up, definitely don’t bring charts, and about three of us will have a really good time…
Bliss . . . Catchya round the trapsss.