Not a bleedin’clue… and Christmas is coming

Wandered into the Gold Street Gossip Shop at the unappointed hour, listening to the early birds warbling their way through a toon or three. Settled into a comfortable spot, as near the bar as possible, and as far from the noise as I could decently get, without appearing unduly disinterested. Several of the regulars appeared to be in fine form, and one could go so far as to say that one or two of them were even playing in tune, although I would not hazard a guess as to with what.
In time, I got up to play and a pleasant old mess it was. We trotted out some old toons, some new, and to Colonel T’s disgust, no Coltrane, at least for a while. He worries about that sort of thing, but the truth is, we regularly play Coltrane tunes – he just doesn’t recognise them, and fair enough too.
It must be said that, given there were only 15 or so combatants on the day, this was one of the quietest jams for some time; and the standard of playing did not, mercifully, reach the heights to which the last few jams have left us accustomed.
All of which means two things:
(a) We didn’t scare off any tyro. Indeed one pianist from the Sedergreen stable got up and made a pretty good job of Blue Bossa. Hopefully, inculcated with the S Sedergreen philosophy of “learning on the gig”, he will return.
(b) You can pretty much bet the sheep station on the Jams arcing through another great series of musical adeptness any day now. We are nothing if not consistently inconsistent.

Meanwhile, this Jam left us mystified – played, had fun, never really hit the heights.. the reason?

Not a clue!

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30.


Humphrey B Bear, Pluto, Kylie Minogue and Mike Hirsh on drums…All names have been changed to protect the innocent…

Christmas is Coming: The Jammers Pre-Christmas Luncheon and Jam Session Deluxe is on the 13th December – be there!

When wasn’t CHristmas coming, I wonder… anyhoo, it is that time of year again, and the Melbourne Jazz Jammers annual Christmas bash will be happening on December 13th. It is rather hoped that a few of the regulars will turn up for lunch at 1.00pm, and stuff themselves sufficiently full that they are unable to get up and leave in haste, when the music starts at 2.00pm. We should fall over from exhaustion around 6.00pm.

The entire debacle will take place in the Atrium, at the Leinster Arms, and Glen is hoping to be able to open the doors onto the street, so we should manage a bit of tempo disturb de neighbours

If you haven’t been to the pre-Christmas Bash before, this is the one time of the Year when a whole bunch of Jammers get together, tell exaggerated stories of past deeds and play some extremely raucous music, possibly quite badly, although the last couple of years have seen some great music played. The Good Captain, as ever, will disorganise the entire bash, and the rest of us will insist on everyone getting up to play – even if this is the only Jam Session of the year that you attend. We even had one long time Jammer fly down from Newcastle for the event last year, although if you know Newcastle well, you will probably understand why..

Stick it in ya Diary!

Another Sunday, another Jam Session

There have been around 1,100 jam sessions since the Dizzy’s days. We ought to get it right soon. One might surmise that several peeps turned up for this week’s Jam, played several toons quite well, murdered a coupla standards as you do, in honour of the lugubrious Belgian’s 100th birthday, and then left with that sinking feeling that betokens another Monday fast approaching. One might be right, but as I wasn’t there, I could not say..

Brussel’s answer to the sprout, Adolphe Saxe did indeed turn a hundred this week. He has much to answer for, but has done very little of late, on account of being dead.. He could have had the decency to stuff Eric Dolphy’s soprano sax with pate de foie gras before he shuffled off the mortal coil, but singularly failed to do so. Amongst his many achievements, he managed to send Belgium’s first hearing aid company broke, by practising on his soprano sax. Sales plummeted, as most customers preferred to be deaf.

Little has been heard from Mme Hortense of late, although she may have hovered briefly in the back bar of the Gold Street Gossip Shop last Sunday. She has recently broken it off with Rotten Ronnie Junior, whose second saxaphone harmonies at Madame Trixie La Belle’s Altona West Academie de Danse have taken on a consequently rather joyful tone, much to Hortense’s chagrin. The Stuffed Parrot remains deathly silent, hardly surprising since in burnt down in 1963, and will not re-open until the West Altona Progress Association consents to its new rooftop terrace, or learns the meaning of irony, whichever comes first.

Rioting in the street, the Americans are coming, commotion in the back bar, and Chaos does his nut

Not really, but in truth, we had suspected this one might be a bit special – Trombonist Al Herman had promised to turn up, and he did: and he brought with him the impeccable Rory, his ageing sidekick Sir Roger De Coverley, and, as if that wasn’t enough, the unimpeachable Ade Ish, and even Chelsea on drums, reprising her Friday night sesh at the Laika,, along with Firman, Tom McGlinn and Ben (guitar), young Alan Richards (drums), Kevin and Katerina (vocals).

Steve bassed along with the best of them, with Anton the jazz arriving just as he was wilting from exhaustion. Added to the mix Chrissie Manetta, Bruce on drums, South Australian interloper Sophie on sax, Julian on flute, Peter Cole on sax, the Calamatta, sans I think chapeau rouge, Tom McGlinn on guitar, David Nole and meself on keys, and you had a right old schemozzle, which ran all afternoon.

A great session, some disturbingly good jazz being played, and this was one out of the box. Hardly a dud amongst that lot, although I did my best to lower the standard when I could, and probably succeeded on occasion.

Ya missed it? There is always next week…

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30.

On Improvisation, and Jam on Sunday

Friedrich Nietszche once famously remarked “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Of course, I have no idea what he was banging on about, but I am unreliably informed that he may have been in the plastic wrapped lettuce section of Coles at the time, and would have been better off at the Lunatic Soup Lounge last Sunday, where the good, the average and the delusional neatly collided at around 4.39pm. for a splendid little session de jam.

It is a little known fact that, Nietszche, who detested Klezmer, once took up the pfennig whistle after hearing Adolphe Sax trading fours with a boy scout from Brussels. This is, of course, little known, mainly because I just made it up…

But I digress. The Jam Session, yes, it is all coming back to me now..Jam Sessions thrive on improvisation, coupled with desperation, inspiration and a good slap of mistakes. And last Sunday’s was one such, it would seem, The arvo kicked of with a set from Gentleman John Curtis, purveyor of fine toons to the gentry, with Noel and the Captain on saxophones, and I can’t quite remember who else. Two new drummers turned up – Steve, all the way from Euro, and Mike both on the money, the Debster got up and sang, with Bob on piano, then Katerina Myskova put in a coupla fine numbers, the Hirsh on drums, Mr Lole amusing himself at the eight ball table and getting up later, Colonel T I think, Ivan the terrible, Chrissie and Bruce and a bunch of others, before I left – the final tally stood at 22 musicians, all marvellously talented, young good looking and in most cases delusional.

And imrpovisation, or omparvosition as it is sometimes called? Well, if you can tell the difference between that and a muso just being plain lost, then don’t – you would be wasting your time in this fine company. Or just make it up as you go along.

Twas bigger than Ben Hur

The Captain Chaos Birthday Bash started in a hurry, and just kept getting busier and busier. It was the biggest Jam session on record. Only we didn’t record it, which is possibly a good thing.

We passed the previous record just before 7 o’ clock, when jammer No 34 got up to croon Happy Birthday to the Captain – Brigid De Neefe leading a massed choir of the Debster, Maria, Mme Sonia, Chrissie, Rachel, Kerrie, Lisette (possibly) and Julie. Croon is possibly an inapt description of the rendition, but it sent the Captain off to a fine dinner with relatives, friends, and jammers in the Atrium.

So… quantity, for sure, but what of the quality? Not that the defining element of a good Jam Session is necessarily quality, but with the likes of that bounder Clarke in bristling good form, Alex Yarosh possibly shading Tom on guitar (but only just), David Lole and Sam Izzo leading the charge on keys, with Bob and meself grabbin’ a couple of toons each, the Hirsh, M Sebastien, Bruce and Alan Richards slappin’ the skins, Kevin croonin’, Taariq his usual self (bass and then drums), Lisette and Julie having fun as a duo, Agus sublime, Tony, Ali, Keef and Peter Cole on sax, Terry trying some nice guitar, as did the original lounge lizard Ray Hood (happy birthday to you also!), Richard a newcomer on flugel, and his mate Bill so bemused he actually didn’t play trombone, Benjamin who flew in from Berlin to play guitar (hope he can’t afford the return flight yet!) and Doug Kuhn and Anton holding up the bass end of proceedings with Ivan the terrible having dropped in without so much as a violin, so he didn’t play, nor did Trev the harp (sorry Trev!),

…the quality was up there with the best.

You will have to go back and read that sentence again.

Should be dead quiet this week…

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30.

The Sunday Jam and The Captain Chaos Chronicles… continued

It is surprisingly hard to hear the jazz jam from Brisbane, which is where I was for the weekend. I am indebted to Captain Chaos for a reliable report of this week’s debacle – not that it was a debacle, it was by all accounts, singularly spiffin’

The ageing Captain (see below) reports as follows:

Sunday at the Leinster Arms

The jam kicked off with a lone saxophonist, Doug K on Bass, John C on Keys and newcomer Alan Richards on drums. Taariq joined in on guitar and much later on bass. David Lole took over from JC and the sax section was reinforced by John Callamatta and another newcomer, Julian. Gary relieved Doug on bass. Don took a turn on keys and Alex on drums. Ben Stewart and Alex Yarosh joined in on guitar and Ivan played bass. Peter Cole and Keith Hughes added to the reeds and Igor added to the drums. Sam Izzo played a cameo on keys..Vocals were supplied by Kevin Rolfe, Debbie Woodroffe and Maria. Christine and Bruce arrived late to keep the vibe moving along.

A surprise visitor was a bearded Buddy Love who has recently moved to Queensland.

This Sunday, the jam will be somewhat augmented by the celebration of the Venerable Captain turning 70. Drop in and say g’day!

…and stick to the black notes, they are cheaper.

The Gold Street Sheltered Workshop for Indigent Musos

We have never quite managed to work out what makes a jam session “tick” And even if we could, we probably wouldn’t, on the basis that there is always another perfectly good jazz toon waiting to be mangled beyond recognition.

Whatever, this one was an absolute peach. Took a bit of time to come to the boil, but when wasn’t that the case? Once we had a drummer slotted in, and Ivan the terrible had unwrapped and tweaked his basso profundo, this was as good a session as we can remember (admittedly we prefer not to remember too much these days) – a smaller roll call than the last few weeks, but class all the way.

The opening stanza bubbled along, with a welcome return by trumpeter Peter Dann, a desperate attempt (unsuccessful) at a latin beat by meself on drums failing to disrupt the debonair JC, tickler of ivories to the gentry, and a bit of a reed lick by the Captain and Tony. Mr Hirsh esq. was cajoled into taking over the percussion department. Things livened up with Ribdig De Feene (she asked me to spell her name right, what was she thinking) trotting out Some Other Time, and then Besame Mucho sung in Spanish, which finished in an extended drum solo by the Hirsh, possibly also in Spanish, defying all attempts by Keef to join in.

Taleb took over on drums, followed by Il Duce, I think, and Jason Chalmers wandered in and blew up a storm, but in a good way, and by the time we got to Mercy Mercy Mercy, the joint was jumping fit to bust, and even the 21st Birthday party in the Atrrium (Glen’s spelling, so it must be right) wandered in to enjoy the chaos. Kids these days!

There followed some mighty fine keyboard work by David Lol, the ever smooth Alex Jarosh on guitar, in walked Cardinal Pell, the Izzo and a coupla others before I left, well surprised at what fun it had been. They could be going hard at it still.

And if you are at a loose end next Sunday, will we see you at the Gold Street Sheltered Workshop for Indigent Musicians for the next one?

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30.

Chaos Returns, China Stockmarket plummets, Japan hit by typhoon

And all is back to the new normal at Chateau Leinster, watering hole of the Colliwobble cognoscenti.

So… wandered in to the Gold Street Gossip Shop at about quarter past something or other to be greeted by the sight of a young, talented, good looking and delusional pianist. Glen must have polished the mirror for the first time in ages.

And speaking of polish, there was Captain Chaos his good self, armed and dangerous, and ready to blow a few toons. Pausing only to admire the fine skein of cobwebs that emerged from his weapon of choice, I settled down for a refreshing b., and a bit of natter, awaiting the first mangled melody with a keen anticipation. The room was filling fast, sun was streaming through the lovat green and vermilion stained glass window, there was a quiet hum of gossip around the room, all with the desultory clicking of the eight ball heroes in the front bar. It doesn’t get any better than this, I thought, and for quite a while it didn’t

The jams have seen a lot of new faces in recent weeks, as well as the usual miscreants, but tis one turned into a busy little set, with Ben, Chico, Alex and Colonel T on guitars, meself and Gerald swapping keys, Keef, The Captain, Peter Cole and Red Hat Calamatta on reeds, with a dude called Jeremy contributing some clarinet for spice, Chrissie Manetta and Bruce, Kev on tonsils, and Carlton on bass. Kay Young popped in from downtown Darwin, as you do, and the ever improving Steve, Il Duce, and Talev (?) waved sticks and brushes around with conviction, occasionally hitting something to show they meant business.

There was even a very large Tuba wandered through the room – didn’t play, possibly due to the lack of a bagpipe section. No jam can be perfect (it would be ruined if it was) but after a while this one was pretty damn good.

Steady on lads…

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30. See ya this week?

The Laika Bar Diaries: Sevil Sabah Quartet Friday Night


The Laika Bar: Sevil Sabah Quartet, 


Sevil will be singing a new selection of blues/soul/pop/ballad tinged numbahs, some of which we have even rehearsed. There’s posh for you. Meself, Doug “got a haircut” Kuhn and Ben Stewart (guitar) in attendance.

with a sit in drummer..

Well, we couldn’t really ask Geoff to come all the way from Bendigo, so Chelsea Allen will be squeezing into the bar for a bit of light drumming. I’ve heard of her.

Should be a busy night – drop in and strangle a cocktail!

Sevil Sabah Quartet, from 8.00pm Friday 25th September at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda,

The Ludicrous Arms Jam Session: ptwang, ptwang

Smooth As – what’s with all the geetars?

Managed to make it for a jam session – in the Captain’s continuing absence I even got there a bit early to help Il Duce set up. All a bit quiet for starters, but the main course soon wandered in, clutching an assortment of instruments and by about 30 minutes late we had even started kicking the ball around the paddock with a toon or two.

Early disasters (it didn’t take long) were entirely down to Sir Roger De Coverley, who had polished up his tootlefloot for the occasion, which, as it transpired was not so much an occasion as an extended set of directions for the hapless Il Duce, culminating in Sir R de C the cad, ignoring his own tempo and coming in late. Fair enough, nobody else was following his instructions either… although when they did get started, it all sounded pretty good to me.

The arvo wore on (japanese fashion label). Even Ali (sax) had a dip; and by the time Alex Yarosh, Tom McGlinn, Elliott Joe and  Chico had worked up the guitar solos, one would be tempted to say there were some fine solos going on.

Resisting the temptation, The Debonair JC, Gerald, Don and meself had a fine old time on the piano, with honours going to JC who played the rather tricky When I Look in Your Eyes without getting lost, and without giving away the fact that it had been put into a mildly easy key.

The late Miss Smith sang up a storm, Chris Manetta belted out a coupla bluesy numbers, Bruce drummed, Anton played every note he could think of, and Colonel T was in such an affable mood on bass and drums that he missed the new Doctor Who episode. Devotion to the cause or what? Meanwhile, Ivan the terrible swung the five-string basso profundo, and we all had a good time.

A quieter jam, but smooth as, and a high standard of music all made for a spiffing afternoon. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked where the Captain might be (Kyoto as it turns out) I would be richer by $4.35 cents.

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30. See ya this week?

Jam Session? Not Quite

I was talking to Madge from Altona the other day. She is most incensed at the sudden change in management of the West Altona Bowls and Drinking Club. Seems the white hatted old buggers had decided to spike the president’s turkey club sandwich in a fit of pique and reinstate the lawnmower as the new power base of the Pennant Extra 3B Reserves team, in a vague attempt at snaffling the upcoming Refinery Terrace Perpetual Rose Bowl.

It has been some years since Madge’s disgraceful performance at their last Bowl triumph, which ended in her using the afore-mentioned trophy in a manner that would have disappointed its maker, and did no credit to the alumni of the West Altona Juvenile Correctional facility, or indeed Madge herself. Not that she cared, as she was, at the time, taking the first hesitant steps in a mildly glorious career as a member of the Bairnsdale Working Mens Club corps de ballet, an exclusive troupe of exactly two. There being no prospect of gainful employment in what is laughingly referred to as the entertainment industry any closer to home. And we all know how that ended…

It is customary for there to be some digression at this stage into a glowing, factually inaccurate, and probably scandalous description of last week’s Jam Session at the Gold Street Gossip Shop and Society Tea Rooms. Since I was unable to attend, any such description on my part would run the risk of being factually accurate, which would set a dangerous precedent, and possibly not scandalous, which would disappoint two out of the three regular readers of this august journal.

I am nearly sure they all glowed.

But not quite. I do hope you all had fun.

Should see ya all this weekend?