Castlemaine Jazz Festival 2015

Probably…

By the time you read this, we should have an elected Committee for the 2015 Castlemaine Jazz Festival, with a number of volunteers from the last bash already putting their hand up to do it all again.

If you would like to be involved, and the authorities are prepared to let you out of the Institution for the weekend, we are looking at June 6th – June 7th – the Queen’s Birthday Weekend. Drop an e-mail to melbournejazzjammers@gmail.com

The Umbrella Bar: A class act

This week, Anne Hayres will be singing, accompanied by Daniel Pickard (bass), meself (piano) and the Captain, on an assortment of saxaphones, clarinets and possibly bagpipes.

You may be thinking that Miss H is way too classy for a joint like this, and you may be right, but we are all looking forward to swinging the tits off her favourite toons and generally having a good time.

Which we undoubtedly did last week, when Angela Strickland vocalled up a storm in front of a smallish audience, and Jason weaved some wonderful lines on his tenor. Scarey good!

Anne Hayres at The Umbrella Bar: Friday Night Captain Chaos Sessions: 338 – 340 Glenhuntly Road, Friday 26th September, 7.30pm – 10pm,

The Sunday Jam Session: Don’t play You Are The Sunshine of My Life until you have checked the weather forecast.

If, as seems very unlikely, Will (guitar), Daniel (electric bass), Bob (piano), Gentleman John Curtis (piano), Paul Phillips and Spike Tiernan (drums), Colonel Taariq (everything),  Chico (guitar), Christine Manetta (vocals), Bruce (drums), Col (chaos), The Divine Miss Smith (vocals), Sonia (vocals, but in French), Chelly (vocals but not in French), Jason (saxaphone and hat), Nicholas (Chilean saxaphone), Tina (piano), Doug (double bass and haircut) all turned up to hear me play piano, they were mainly disappointed, as I hardly got a look in with that lot all playing.

Which was a good thing, because the standard of music they produced was remarkably high, and intermittently consistent…

With one glaring exception: an absolutely splendidly cocked up version of Stevie Wonder’s You are The Sunshine of My Life. People a good deal more sensible than the assembled jammers would have called it a day at about the third bar in, retired hurt, resorted to strong drink and sought medical advice.. Fortunately they persisted, and gave us a most memorable trainwreck. Sheer bliss from start to debacle, and the audience’s collective faith in humanity restored.

Nevertheless, if Jam Sessions were all about good music, this would have been one of the best.

Normal service will be resumed shortly.

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

The Sunday Jam Session: Four and a Half

Bob and I arrived about half past four, to find Ivan and Andy Moon averaging four and a half strings per double bass, The Captain calling fours somewhere between four and five beats in, the Curtis deftly avoiding the drummers of lesser ilk, Spike, Monty and the Phillips all playing drums with panache, Chico really good on guitar, and Richard taking over the evening keys after four and a half pints. Or thereabouts.

The numbers were, as befits Fathers Day, somewhat down on recent weeks, but by the time Gerald stepped up to the piano, it was setting for a session of some musical deftness. No, Hortense, I said deftness… oh, never mind.

Had the Captain and Ali not sung, all would have been disturbingly good, but character must re-assert itself at some stage, and their vocal performances left the audience remarking on what fine saxaphone players they are. The impeccable Chris Le Bon showed them how it should be done – scatting The A Train in fine style.

I amused myself by booking everyone in sight for a session at the Umbrella Bar – other than singers who were entirely absent (see previous para).

A pleasant afternoon, made exceptional, I would think, by the complete absence of train wrecks. Yard Bird Suite was so good, someone asked for it again. Or maybe they didn’t recognise it the first time, and it wasn’t so good after all?

So, four and a half hours later, they all packed up and went home, suitably refreshed to face another week in the corporate saltmine, or whatever floats your boat.

We will do it all again next Sunday, of course; and it will, of course, be predictably unpredictable.

I may be there. The Captain may be there, We may stick to the black keys (they are cheaper) and you should consider being there too.

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

The Sunday Jam Session: The Captain goes fishing

Experience, according to Wikipedia, consists of knowledge of or skill of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event. For example, the word experience could be used in a statement like: “I have experience in fishing”.

In the dying hours of last Sunday’s Jan, the highly experienced Jazz Jammers, led by the incomparable Captain Chaos, played for the second time only, an obscure Pat Metheny ballad. No-one, neither the band, the back bar gossip squad, the Eight Ballers out the front, nor Pat Metheny, fortunately, had the slightest clue as to what they were doing.

The preceding Jam was an interesting one, to say the least. We swung through a rep of swing tunes, show tunes, diverted to a lengthy bebop interlude, had some half stride from the venerable Bob, Spike and Monty both classy on drums, Chico ace on guitar, Sam Izzo, back from Italy, engaged at last, in fine form on piano, Sonia and the Divine Miss Smith on tonsils, and an audience that remarked several times on the high standard of music. Amazing things those ear buds.

Experience, within the context of the Jazz Jam sessions, could just as well be defined as “recognising your mistakes when you make them again..” Had we finished half an hour earlier, Metheny could have remained unmolested, and we could have all gone fishing.

This week is Father’s day, so the Jam Session will be packed with confused looking middle aged gentlemen wearing hideous cardigans and clutching power drills. Or not as the case may be.

Should you feel so inclined on Sunday arvo I am sure we can squeeze you in somewhere.

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

The Sunday Jam Session: another fine mess, possibly

I was talking to Madge from Altona the other. day, windbreaks and shade structures being somewhat scarce in Refinery Terrace. She remarked upon the weather (getting worse), the price of beer (getting worse). the economy (getting worse), the availability of Winnie Blues (getting worse), and the shortage of merchant ships in Corio Bay. Apparently there is a consequent dearth of sun tanned drunken cashed up matelots wandering the windswept street of Altona West. Those that do are looking for a good time for a long time, and waiting for the shutters on the Altona West sub sub newsagents, hock shop and liquor store to come down (proprietor Phat Tow Nee).

They will be waiting a long time. The shutters went up in 1997, and Phat hasn’t been seen since, as Hortense ruefully observed only a week ago, although she could have been talking about someone else.

I would cease to digress, but what with almost no memory of last week’s jam session at the West Collingwood Sporting Men’s Club, have little inclination to do so. Apparently it went on quite late.

This Sunday the Leinster Arms is hosting a special Jam Session: a celebration of a completely ordinary Sunday, when there will be almost nothing else going on elsewhere. As a consequence, all the musicians who do turn up to the Jam will be eligible for a door prize. Quite what you are going to do with the door is a mystery to me, Who will win? Will Colonel T play Smoke on the Water, can the Captain count to four and not five? Will there be no drummers or five? Is there a verse to Autumn Leaves?

These are important questions, and we at Bendigo Towers, world headquarters of the Jazz Jammers Newletter, demand answers. Quite what they are, none of us can know, and most of us could not give a rats. All will be revealed at the Gold Street Gossip Shop, Lizard Lounge department.

And you will have to be there to find out.

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

The Sunday Jam Session goes up: standard crazy good

Pliny the Elder once wrote ” Difficile est tenere quae acceperis nisi exerceas.” I have no idea what he was banging on about, but I thought I would mention it. Incredibly, he never learnt to write in English, whereas some of us spent ten years learning to read Latin. Hardly seems fair. But I digress.

Now, where was I… ah yes, the Jam Session, last Sunday. Usual conditions apply, Bob and I wander in late, no piano player.so the Captain had started schemozzling with those available, with predictably varied results. All of which bodes less than well.

So… by the time Kyle (trumpet), Gill, (vocals), Monty (drums) Gerald (piano), Chico (guitar) Bob (piano), meself (piano) the eponymous Captain, Alli (saxes), Paul Phillips, Sebastien, Glen (drums), Ann Craig (floot), the Reverend Kevin (guitar), Taariq (everything), Ivan (bass), Felipe (congas) and gawdknows who else had all got up and boogied, this was rather a crazy good session. You never can tell, and even if you could, who would listen…

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the standard of music was as high as it it has ever been, if not better. Regular readers of these reviews will, of course, treat that with a grain of salt, or cum grano salis, as Pliny would have said had he been silly enough to wander into the Gold Street Gossip Shop.

And a fine time was had by all. Apparently, this is all going to happen again.

Next Sunday.

Ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids.
TW

The Sunday Jam Session: Old and New Faces: Not only, but also

A surprisingly busy session at the Lunatic Arms last Sunday.with nineteen musos wandering in and stepping up to the plate.

Not many sessions in recent memory have had two piano players called Tina, but this one did – one the ever improving regular jammer Tina, the other being the other Tina, accompanying Lisbeth, who has not sung at a jam session for several weeks (as in, maybe two years?)

Also met up with Jason in a hat, who averred he had not been to a jam for years. It took me a while to figure out we had played in the same band a few years back. Great to see him back , and some beautiful sax playing to boot- he will be playing at The Umbrella Bar this Friday, if you care to join us.

The Captain, as ever, orchestrated the chaos, got the various musos out of order, probably called fours more than once, and bounced around the room ’til 8.00pm

Chelly Parisi sang jazz for the first time in six weeks, didn’t miss a beat, Ivan played some solid bass, Ali did his singing thing (actually we should pay him to keep the Captain away from the microphone), Paul Phillips. Spike, and the raucous Sebastian hit things in the background, and the world traveller Miss Kay Young dropped in from Darwin, whipped the band into some semblance of shape, rashly attempted a funk version of a swing toon, ( I couldn’t believe Curtis would fall for that one) and probably dropped a beat or two along the way – now there is a gal who understands the quintessential features of a jam session

· Timing,
· Tempo,
· Co-ordination,
· Smooth starts and endings
· Synchronicity
· Harmony
· Form

and wisely avoids all of them. Great to see her back.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Colonel T was mysteriously good again. Although he did slip in a little Pastorius from time to time. One time being 5/4 and the other 7/8

I don’t know much about improvisation, I just make it up as I go along…

See yez next week?
TW

The Annual General Meeting of the Mildly Distressed Gentlefolk of the Jazz Persuasion…

…took place, as it does almost every week, in the back bar of the probably not Royal but decidedly ancient Leinster Arms Gossip Shop and Social Lubricant Dispensary. Mostly nothing was discussed and certainly nothing was resolved, as the 6-2-5-1’s kept rolling around.

And what a splendid meeting it was, with several propositions put to the sword, the debonair Curtis at the keys, Brent (Saxaphone) trading licks with the Captain, Mike (long time no C) at the drums, Ali quietly singing, chuckling to himself and playing sax, almost simultaneously, and the wily Colonel T (ret’d) of the Punjab Fourth Light Cavalry playing some neat bass lines, as if to persuade us that he won’t break into All Along the Watchtower at any minute.

Newcomer Gill sang with increasing confidence as the afternoon wore on, Ivan and his monster 5 string bass pulled the rhythm section together and a slightly under the weather Bob nailed a coupla Gershwin’s.

Nothing got broken, nobody died, Collingwood got beaten, again, and a good time was had by all. Not a great Jam Session, but satisfying nonetheless.

I need a lie down. See ya Sunday?

TW

Sunday Rolls Around: A Survey of Musicians

Once more unto the breach, dear Friends, or failing that, the Gold Street Gossip Shop. Due to something or other, I forget which, Bob and I turned up early for a change. The first bout on the programme was a notable tussle between the Captain’s new charts, and well, almost everyone, really. Including the Captain.

Young Clark rightly took a dim view of this, and despite suffering from a bad back incurred during a strenuous session of pulling something (on the farm, if you wish to believe his version of events) got up to establish some sort of order, if not a tenuous relationship to music, for a while.

Fortunately this did not last, and we were back to ballad mangling in no time. As there were four saxes in attendance (young Justin?, the Captain, Noel and said RC) it was not actually possible to hear any noises that anyone else might have been making, so all in all, not such a bad afternoon.

There has been a distinct paucity of singers of late, so I have checked with all the saxophonists who all assure me that singers like the saxes playing all over the singer’s solos as well as their own. Just to make doubly sure, I asked the guitarists, and they are all quite confident that singers benefit from guitar chords being played to a rhythym somewhat independent of the rest of the rhythm section, and that in fact, the said guitarists are doing every one a favour by playing as many chords as often as possible, because it drowns out mistakes. Although they would prefer it if the saxophonists could back off a bit.

By this stage, I was getting quite misty eyed at all the goodness in the room – I hadn’t realised the sacrifices that all these fine musicians are prepared to make. So I asked the drummers, and they all said “What? I can’t hear you” as drummers do, and explained that they like to speed up in the course of a tune because they can get to the end earlier, which leaves more time for everyone else.

All of which, leaves the bass players speechless.

See ya Sunday?
TW

The Sunday Arvo Jam, Episode 304

Or something like that. Some Sundays, we arrive late, and find everyone standing around seriously thinking, possibly about playing some music, although it is hard to tell. This Sunday was one such, but if anyone was seriously contemplating playing music, they fortunately came to their senses and we had a regular jam session instead. They were all there, other than the Captain, Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Cavalry, Ivan on his electric bass (5 string, natch) Mike Hirsch, Bob and meself, and I am struggling to remember who else. Paige turned up for a late entry, and played real smooth bass, because he can.

Spent most of the afternoon gossipng, trying to persuade the recalcitrant to get up and play or sing, chatting to some Italians from Napoli, exchanging idle banter with the Leinster Arms 8 Ball extra 3B reserves team, listening to Sonia, enjoying the music and quaffing the occsional refreshing beverage, as you do.

There may well be other ways of winding down from a hard week’s work, but they escape me.

I notice Madge has been remarkably quiet of late, but she did let slip that she had her purse stolen by a young and handsome mountebank last week. Chased him from one end of Altona West to the other (it only has two ends, and its other dimensions pale into insignificance once Madge gets her dander up.) The said charlatn was eventually apprehended by a passing bicycle salesman of Italian parentage, who handed back her purse with a flourish

Whereupon Madge looked him over but once, gave a supercilious snort, passed the purse back to the theif and gave chase all over again.

It’s an old and well worn purse, but he was quite handsome….

Ifd you do come to the jam next week, stick to the black notes, they are cheaper.
TW

Jazz Jams all over the place

It is possible, although not necessarily wise, to attend the Castlemaine Jazz Jam and the Leinster Jazz Jam on the same day. After a fascinating debrief session with the Castlemaine volunteers, and some fine playing by Ade Ish, Chelsea Allen, Doug Kuhn, Bren Hamilton with at least half of Civil Bop, I sauntered in to the Gold Street Lizard Lounge at a somewhat late hour, to find the place in full cacophony, Sevil Sabah singing (of whom more later), the Captain, Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse, the Reverend Kevin, Ali on sax, Messrs Paige, Moon and others on bass and even Ann Craig as the token musician, all romping through a toon or three. This sort of thing will never do, but fortunately disorder was soon restored and a pleasant evening ensued.

Not a large crowd, but, quite possibly, Hortense would have been hovering in the darkened recesses of the back bar, or not, as the case may be, taking in the sights whilst dreaming of karaoke triumphs long past. Or something.
TW