The Jammers Bit: On Sailing

On Sailing
There is a saying amongst wise sailors that if you even start thinking about taking in a reef, it is already time to do it.

The Tower Hotel Jam Session: launched with a pretty spiffing start. Not full sail, perhaps, but of the 24 peeps who rocked up, all of them said they would come again, most thought the joint fairly classy, and the sound quality was better than ever. Miss Kay even used the cheap Chinese Shure knock-off microphone, which was a vast improvement on what we have been used to.

Highlights of the day included

· A bunch of locals dropping in for a meal, and staring, gob smacked, at the musos performing for them. Several said they would come again – the beginnings of a new crowd, perhaps?

· Calamatta, resplendent in his red hat, playing more than he ever has at a jam before.

· David Lole (piano) dropping in for a look-see, staying all afternoon and playing up a storm

· The Debster, Kay and Ash the only singers, getting plenty of air time

· Saxofollicles from Alan, The Captain, Jeff

· Drums by the Hirsh, and Andre – Andre probably the best on the day, but Mike gets the gong for helping to pack up – much appreciated.

· Garram, Malcolm and meself making up the four piano players for the day

· Ivan, Nelson and Pete taking turns on bass – three very different styles but all good.

· Quite a few people saying the venue was closer for them than St Kilda had been.

All of which makes it so much more of a pity but, reluctantly, we have decided to put the sessions “on ice” for the present. Apologies to Gina (Bistro Manager) but we would like to come back. By which, we probably mean that we will resume the sessions some time around September, but I am not saying which year..

Hopefully, the two (or is it three now) regular readers of the Jammers Newsletter will appreciate that this is being done for all the right reasons which may or may not include the fact that we wouldn’t mind a break anyway, can’t be a***ed to go on writing the Newsletter if there is nothing much to write about, and we would rather everyone went home and caught coronavirus mildly but nicely whilst there, and the Jam Sessions weren’t to blame.

Hatches battened down, and a reef taken in.

Stay in touch, and toodlepip

Newport Festival Aust Cancelled


Advice to all Bandleaders and registered Musicians

Newport Jazz Festival deferred to 1st/2nd May 2021

Corona Virus: The expert advice (1) that we have received is that current modelling shows infection rates climbing rapidly, and then starting to decline around August. For quite some time after August, there is now a real risk that tickets will not be purchased by people worried by the coronavirus situation.

The Financial model for the Festival is based upon all registered musicians receiving an equal share of profit from the Festival. If the Festival does not make a profit, then musicians do not get reimbursed. (2) We think that it is in your best interest as a musician, to defer the Festival until after things have settled down.

Venues: We have discussed this situation with the venue managers (3) . They are making their premises available either free (The Newport Bowls Club and the RSL), or at a reduced rental rate – their profit from food and beverage sales relies on sufficient numbers of people attending the Festival.

It would not be possible to hold the Festival during the Bowls season (September to April)

Choices for registered musicians:

If you have already registered and paid the $25 registration fee

Do nothing: we will hold your registration for the 2021 Festival date


Request a refund: We will process these as quickly as possible. You would need to re-register for the 2021 Festival in due course. This option costs the Festival organisers approximately 75c per refund.

If you have not registered yet and paid no fee. Hold your registration until the due date in March 2021.

If you have purchased a ticket or partner ticket: let us know if you would like a refund:

We will refund all Partner tickets now or hold until new Festival date. It is likely that ticket costs will increase for 2021, but tickets already purchased and not used until 2021 will be valid without any extra cost.

(1) Andrew Fuller, head of Infectious Diseases Unit at Alfred Hospital
(2) The 2020 Financial model was based on a projected reimbursement of $76 each plus $25 registration fee repaid. This assumed 500 tickets sold.
(3) Newport Bowls Club, Newport RSL, Newport Scouts, Newport Community Hub and Library



The Newport Jazz Festival
1st & 2nd May 2021

Yup, check the dates above. We have taken a deep breath and postponed the Festival until the same time next year. Band leaders and registered musicians have been informed and a copy of the advice is attached.

We will be locking the website whilst we process refunds etc. Leaving plenty of time for something else to go wrong…

We do not know how many bands will stay registered for next year, how many will run screaming for the hills, never to be seen again. Hopefully, the same list as was confirmed just two weeks ago… We will guarantee any band on that list that wants to stay registered a spot for next year.

Off and Running… again

The original Dizzy’s, the Night Cat, The Scarlette Bar/Onederland, The Glasshouse, Ramage, La Pena, The Royal Standard, The Leinster Arms, The Junktion Hotel, The Post Hotel, and now….There has been a fair bit of movement this last week, with Jammers suggesting, and looking at, a fair few different venues. The upshot is…

The Tower Hotel, 686 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn East VIC 3123



Good parking (free on Sundays), and the Jammers will be in the Bistro – food and bevs available. Go in the door on the left in the above picture. We have organised a 4 week trial to see how it goes, and whether any Jammers turn up, other than Jane who suggested the joint and then arranged a family function for Sunday so she cannot be held responsible. Sensible girl.

The room is larger than the corner bar at the Junk, and a similar shape so the sound should be good. If not okay. Or reasonable. Or ‘orrible in the finest traditions of the previous venue.

Does anyone get the impression that we won’t know until we have tried it? And it has more carpet than Mr Hirsh esq. could have ever dreamed of.

So….Don’t come this week unless you are desperate. We are secretly banking on having just a few peeps there so we can play some half decent tunes.

Oh, alright…See ya there?

The Questionnaire

We ended up with 69 respondents. Thank you! The answers we got would have been quite beyond our expectations; if we had any.

How long have you been coming to the jams?

72.5% said they had been coming to jams for more than a year. Of course, those who have only been once or twice would be less likely to respond, but we have counted over 130 different musos in the last year.

How often do you come to a jam session:

17.2% said every week. We know who you are…

31.9% said at least once a month: we should know who you are…

50.7% said less than once a month – so maybe the once or twicers have responded…

Which leaves 0.2% of 69 respondents unaccounted for. Thank you Google.

What time do you normally get to a jam session?

18 said before or at 4.00pm

17 said before or at 5.00pm

6 said before or at 6.00pm

The answers were pretty widely distributed, but the sessions peak at 5.15 – 5.30 (we know this from the muso list that we have been keeping) and several people consistently arrived after 6.00pm

If the jam ran from 2.00pm to 6.00pm, what time would you get there?

Turns out there was a pretty even response from 2.00pm to 4.30pm. With one “probably not go” and one “no idea”

There is nothing tying the start time to the Post Hotel – we could agree a 2.00pm start at any venue, but it does not, at this stage, have majority support. Should we revisit this question later?.

Would you still come a Jam session if it was somewhere else?

76.8% said yes, 23.2% said not sure, and no-one said “no”

This response really surprised us. Can it be interpreted as – coming to a jam session is a priority, the venue is not.?

Is there another venue (consider hotel, RSL, Bowls Club etc.) you could suggest

There were 43 responses to this. 25 possible venues were mentioned. There were two votes for the Post Hotel, (“The Post is brilliant, best venue we’ve ever had.”) and even one for the Leinster Arms. A number of RSL’s and Bowls Clubs got ticks, and The Tower Hotel got two votes, not all of them from Jane…

We still have some venues to investigate, hence the four week trial rather than just settling for The Tower Hotel. It is remotely possible that The Post could ask us back – there was only one negative comment about the Post, so this might be a popular option.

The Jammers Bit

Chaos at the Post?

So, we started at the usual time of 4.00pm, and got told at 6.00pm that the management had booked a paid band for 7.00pm, and would we kindly stop playing, but stay around for the next band, order meals and spend lots of money to make the Post more profitable. Just to add to the fun, the hotel management had failed to inform their own bar staff of the change, and the incoming band were equally unaware of the situation. Not particularly classy.

There had been some meetings and discussions over the past couple of weeks so we knew the Post had a problem – but the upshot is that we have removed the jammers equipment and set in place an urgent search for an alternative venue. It is still theoretically possible that we will return to the Post, but only if the jammers – you – are treated with some respect. The jam sessions have been the busiest day of the week for the Post, for quite some time, and have presumably been profitable for the hotel.

The Questionnaire

We feel it is important to seek the views of jammers old and new on the future of the jam sessions – there are some people who have been coming since before 2008, and some who are recent arrivals. All your views are important.

You will have received a questionnaire regarding this. We have already had quite a response to this – 50 respondents in less than 24 hours, as well as people ringing to ask what is going on. Thank you.

If you haven’t filled in the questionnaire, please do so urgently. We already have appointments with several potential venues, and some great suggestions.

There will be no formal jam this Sunday – we cannot arrange this at such short notice, but the plan at the moment is to arrange a one month trial at another venue, then go back to the Post to see how their new arrangement is working out for them.

Colin Garrett 0422 568 537

Ted Woollan 0431 968 982

The Newport Jazz Festival 2 & 3 May 2020


8+ weeks to go!

The Band registrations are closed, thank goodness. Now we need to issue the preliminary list of accepted bands, and get the musicians to register by 27th March.

More Venues! A bit to our surprise, the Newport Community Hub people had provisionally reserved more times for the two rooms we are using, as well as keeping the Mechanics Hall available for us. Whoop Whoop.

The Captain has been busy setting up the first draft of the playing schedule – details should be out soon. Can he accommodate all the bands that have registered? Nearly – watch this space (or log onto the website which has more details.)

The Committee: Susie is busy on posters, Deb will have the minutes of the last meeting up any day now, we have contacted APRA about their fee for the Festival (don’t laugh, there will be some APRA members amongst the registered musos), and should get the insurance proposal any day now.

Facebook/Whats App/Twitter: Facebook site up and running, thanks to the Bowls Club boys. Susie has Instagram up and running. First post: the Poster!

The Website Being progressively updated with information on the bands that are playing. Featured this week Visionary Steel (local band, extremely and exotically moderne) and The Slipdixies (trad band, washboard, banjo, sousaphone and everything in between)

Check out the website (updated) , like it on your Facebook page

The Jammers’ Bit

Is the standard of jazz getting better…

One has to wonder.. usual start at 4.10pm sharp, which gave the Captain an extra nine minutes to fiddle with the foldback, and Toby time to connect newcomer Salvatore‘s violin rig to the PA system. The foldbacks worked at their best for about 3 minutes, then went steadily downhill with adjustment. Sal’s violin setup, on the other hand, worked remarkably well, particularly when Sal was connected to the other end of it.

So… no bass player for a while, but a lively start to the session, and a rummage through the Debster‘s bag of tricks before Peter Garram got up with Miss Kay, Carol sang her usual immaculate set, and Ivan turned up to supply the missing bass lines.

Laurie put up some clean toned sax, Roger had a dip on guitar, Alan saxed and Jane sang.

As the arvo wore on the pub filled up with the usual assortment of jammers, startlingly single women reading E-books by the window, families with mothers escaping the humdrum , precocious kids, locals, interstate tourists on a last drink before the airport, and the usual motley crew of ruffians, ratbags and the St Kilda glitterati. So polycultural a crew in fact that we hardly need pay attention to the jam.

But we did, and a splendidly raucous racket it was, Okto on his axe, saxophones wailing about far too loud, and the Captain having such a good time, he managed to revive Little Sunflower and we didn’t mind a bit. Probably helped that Malcolm, in an avuncular mood, was on top of it Play barely settled until well after 7.30, when the usual few jammers ordered meals and sympathy at the bar. As ever, Gilbert saw us out, and the Perri bossed the remnant crew about until sticks. He told us he was a professional, in case we forgot. We didn’t.

Which brings me back to where we started. Is the standard of jazz getting better? It seems to be at one of its periodical high points, from which no doubt it will soon relapse, but what the hell, we had fun, again, didn’t we?

See ya this Sunday?

Newport Jazz Festival News

The Newport Jazz Festival May 2nd and May3rd, 2020

9 weeks to go!

The Band registrations are closed, thank goodness. Now we need to issue the preliminary list of accepted bands, and get the musicians to register by 27th March.

Venues; The Captain has had a good week – wrangling Estate Agent sized advertising signs at the Bowls Club, trying, and failing to get Leroys on board, and ending up with a fairly buzzing contact from the Victorian Jazz Club putting us in touch with more FM radio stations and holding out the promise of some further financial assistance, which may mean we might be able to solve some of our venue shortage problem. Now count the ifs, buts and maybes etc in that last sentence.

The Committee: Met again this week, and held a short notice AGM to get Consumer Affairs happy and back in their cot. Positive news all round, we are still solvent and on track; and we all got to the jam in time afterwards…

Facebook/Whats App/Twitter: Facebook site up and running, thanks to the Bowls Club boys. Instagram will be live this week.

The Website Not much movement this week – although we have updated the band registration page, and added more band details as they come to hand.

Check out the website (updated) , like it on your Facebook page

Update: The Newport Jazz Festival 2 & 3rd May 2020


Venues and Bands ; The Captain and I have spent the week trying to rustle up more venues – and the funds to pay for them. We now have more bands that have registered their interest than we currently have space for. Some of them are damn good, too. This week’s haul: a few trad bands on the old crusty wing, and avant garde Aurora Lumina at the other edge. Much talk of “spectrum” this week, as we are keen to offer a wide range of jazz styles.

The missing musician malarkey: We have a surprisingly large database of musicians – some of whom would be eagerly awaiting your call if you are one or two short.

The Committee: Met this week, cast a despairing eye over the bar chart (it is going vertical as we speak) and set about planning a media campaign.

Facebook/Whats App/Twitter: Facebook site up and running, thanks to the Bowls Club boys.

Susie has Instagram in hand

The Website We have put up details and photos on the first 40 or so bands, a few more still to come. Next task is to get some interior shost of the venues – they are surprisingly shmicko, with two big stages in the Bowls club and the RSL.

Check out the website here and like it on your Facebook page.

The Jammers Bit

Welcome Back week at the Post…

What an unexpected surprise! The theme this week was undoubtedly set by the number of jammers returning, in one case after at least three years (looking at you, Tony!)

Yuko Onishi, Singer

Geoff the piano made a welcome return, as did Ian – can’t remember when he last jammed but I do remember his guitar playing. Russell back on the sticks -haven’t seen him for a while – POCKOTL in attendance with Rod, Bette, and a moderately second hand looking Bec, who has been in the wars. Slawie, for the second week running aced the bass department, with Pete following up with a fine set. Drummers also included Michael Happysnaps Findlay, and Hirsh the Carpet (should have mentioned his band at PFJF, but it will only encourage him).

The regulars were there : Jeff on clarinet, Alan smooth on sax, Laurie even smoother, and red hat Cardinal Calamatta popped in for a whirl through a few standards.

The singers were out in force as ever – Kay, Carol, Jane, joined by Nurul shaking off the rust, and Kevin singing Take the A train in the wrong, albeit default, key. Susanna showed up later, and I missed her singing. Tye sang with heaps more confidence, and put in a neat set as a result, That’s Why the Lady is a Tramp the highlight. Getting better and better.

Pianists included Peter G and Gentleman John Curtis, a set from Richard, and Malcolm to follow. Newcomers included a nervous Barbara who played some neat drums and seemed to enjoy it. Hope she comes back. And of course, newcomer Ennes was the only Bosnian playing oboe. He made it sound simple.

Michael (sax) and his offsider, who remains a nameless guitarist/singer because I forgot to get his name, put up a rather lengthy set, not without its charms. The suspicion remains that these are carefully rehearsed and we will throw them at an impromptu line up next time. You know it makes sense.

Then Gilbert brought his own pianist, Sharon for a trot through some Festival material. Sounded good. Posh or what.

I understand that stumps were eventually drawn at around 8.30 and a fine if raucous time was had by the night watch. Definitely one of the better jams all round.

So… at 36 musos all up, this equalled the second busiest session ever, and props to the Captain who wielded his list skilfully and got everyone the spot they came for.

See ya this Sunday?