I don’t like it Carruthers, it’s too quiet . . .

Well not at the Leinster this Sunday, watering hole of the loose footed, medicated, confused and/or indigent, where 21 musos and singers fair lifted the roof from 4.00pm ’til gawd knows when. The Captain was in absentia, but we all agreed that, given the chaos that enlivened proceedings throughout, he was at least there in spirit… The place was fairly heaving from the start…

POCKOTL “We’ve created a monster, and now there isn’t a seat to park your arse”. I promised not to repeat that, so I will only write it once…

The afternoon started with Frank working up a sweat trying to keep up with Xavier, sublime on piano, Bruce Constable on drums, Ken from Maldon on guitar and Jack the lad on the big T, playing some easy blues, and then  mellowed out with Debbie, accompanied by Bob, both  in fine form,  followed by Michelle and then Melinda on tonsil duties, and both of them bopping up a storm. Next up were all three of the the Xavier junior division, on piano, (classy), guitar (very classy) and, good grief, flute (first flute we have had in a while). Classier still.

Ali and Peter provided saxaphone duties, and Avi took over from the decidedly defatigable Frank, who only played for about two hours before sinking exhausted into a bowl of chips out the back (or something like that).  Sam (I think) managed to sneek past the radar but turned out to be a pretty damn competent bass player, even if we threw him a Country and Western tune for starters. He did look a little confused… Bruce and Danilo traded duties on drums, with Fred demanding more latin from time to time. Danilo announced he is leaving for Brazil on Thursday, and will be back next Tuesday. I am not sure what you can do in Brazil in ten minutes… Glen took over and absolutely nailed the bossa. All good in the splat blat and rattle department.

So: an afternoon of firsts:

First time we have played without charts, because I forgot to bring any, and so did Frank. We survived on whatever we could cadge from the memory and/or the singers.

First time we have had jammers from Shepparton, Bendigo and Maldon. Seems some of them picked up the Melband ads (http://www.ausband.com.au), and some picked up the Melbourne Jazz jammers website (http://melbournejazzjammers.com)

First time we have had people queuing at the door to get in.

Biggest audience, by quite a margin, since the Ramage days.

First time, the public bar has clapped. Good grief!

By my reckoning (dodgy, admittedly) the highest standard of music, consistently, across the whole session, since the Leinster started to go downhill (I think we have been there about 2 years)
So, what next? Well, obviously, next week should be a total debacle, always assuming anyone turns up, and if you have booked root canal dentistry, tickets for the Warrandyte Pot Tossers Annual Dinner Dance and Swap Meet, or perhaps a colonoscopy., that would clearly be more entertaining. Anyone with a modicum of common sense is strongly advised to not turn up. Although, now I think of it, that isn’t going to cut out too many jammers at all.
Ya wouldn’t be dead for quids


What’s on at The Grand Hotel

Friday 27th. Nurul’s Last Blast. Miss Nurul is having one last show at the Grand Hotel and has invited a cast of musos to accompany her  before returning to Malaysia. This promises to be a great night – it seems that the Grand H is becoming the place for a send-off (Noriyo, Miss Kay, and now Nurul – is there a pattern emerging?) Starts at 5.30pm.

Saturday 28th: Michelle Gigliotti (from the original Black Label Jazz) is dusting off her sultry blues, jazz ballads and early swing tunes. If she is half as good as she was at the Lizard Lounge on Sunday, this one will absolutely rip. 6.00 to 9.00pm or thereabouts.

The Grand Hotel is a bit of a favourite with the musos (it is a great room to play in) and the audience continues to grow week by week.

Christmas: It’s More Than Just a Pair of Socks

Or so I was thinking, as I sauntered into the Sunday jammola. It is all starting to get a bit ridiculous, what with five sax players (Tim, Sam, Captain, Peter and Keef), three drummers (Blat splat and rattle), three bassists ( Frank, Taariq and Avi) four pianists, some of them not as good as the celestial Curtis,  Don the Guitar, godknowsmany warblers, and of course Jack on the slush pump, although it was his singing that eventually did for us all. And a fine audience to boot.

Musical highpoint of the day was an up tempo blast through Black Coffee at about three gazillion beats to the minute, possibly due to a misunderstanding on the part of Richard (piano), who thought that the saxes would play at the same  tempo that they gave him to count it in. As if. I have always held a soft spot for those many saxophonists who can’t count at all, as it can cut out a lot of confusion. Captain Chaos can of course count all the way up to four, as we know to our cost.

Al “Papa” Jazz, drummer to the stars, sat quietly amongst the enthusiastic if slightly confused and/or medicated audience. Drumming is at the very heart of jazz, indeed of all music – it is thought that primitive man, Neanderthal possibly, created the first music by crudely beating a hollow log with a stick to create rhythm. You only have to look at Al to realise that this is a tradition which has been carried down through the generations with little change. Apparently.

So there you have it: another splendid day all round at the Leinster Arms, watering hole of choice for so many of our fine city’s more mediocre musos, myself included of course.

Ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids.
See ya next week.

News from Marg:

Nurul and Xavier heading home  to Penang end of April – I think she’s having a gig at the Grand just prior to leaving. Check with Ted or Colin?  good time for a send off?

Noriyo has arrived home safely in Japan after a busy time in Melbourne studying, whipping off to London to present a paper, back to Melbourne for the jams and performances with Kay, Colin, Frank and other Jammers at the Grand. Noriyo hopes to return in July

Kay has returned to Darwin but plans to return to Melbourne to her Jammers friends


This week Taariq tells us a bit about his love of Jazz and other things (but not what he did with the p…word)?

Tell me why you like jazz: I  love  jazz   b/c Jazz is  a  cross between  Blues,  sex and  classical music.It allows you  to  be as good  as you can be and  still  show some  taste   and emotion,mixed with  one’s own considerable  technique and theoretical learning.

Why do you like the jam sessions?: It  is good   to  play  with  other humans and  sometimes  it  is even  fun.

What you are planning this year?: I am  . . . keep reading

John Curtis – a Jammers Jazz Experience

I asked some of our Jazz Jammers a few questions. The answers are fascinating. Today it is John Curtis who is sharing his experience with us.

Q: How did you get into jazz?
My early years (from age 5 to 14) were spent learning classical piano.  It was a fairly insular activity, being unusual for kids where I grew up, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. We lived out of town so it was necessary to start practicing about 5.30am as I progressed so that my younger brothers and sister could also practice before we went to school. Then I discovered the guitar and rock music. In my final year at school and at university I played lead guitar in a couple of bands – at that time the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were all the rage. That was great fun but there was no exposure to jazz. . . . keep reading

Now, where was I?

Jam Sessions:

Jam sessions, that was it. Well, we have missed writing up the last three or four sessions, including the 6 hour -make – sure – she – comes – back Noriyo bash, so props to Captain Chaos, Keef the clarinet, Peter, Ari, some other dude whose name I forget (saxophones), Don, Frank, Ray “Lounge” Hood and some other guitarist, Taariq (loser of the password variety), Avi and possibly Luke on bass, Tom, Danilo, Fred, Al “papa” Jazz, and Glen the occasional (all background noises), Jack the T, Annie H, Miss Smiff, Jo, Melinda, Kay, Ebony, (tonsil artistes) Bob, Noriyo, Curtis the John, meself (all sensible pianists, mostly) and anyone else who turned up, tuned in, dropped a beat every now and then for the sake of consistency, and generally obliterated any sense of musicality that those tired old jazz standards once possessed.


Having fulfilled my promise (with mildly sincere apologies to all those I have left out), to name 26 musos in one sentence, I  will leave the rest of this brief missive to news of Miss Hortense and Madge from Altona.


The News from Altona West:

Autumn creeps imperceptibly into  the West Altona Municipal Park and bottle drop. Certainly, the trees turn a bright orange colour, but that is mainly due to the smoke and flame belching from the oil works at the business end of Refinery Terrace. Hortense, who has been feeling a little low of late, has taken to pondering the lack of inebriated and generous gentlemen who are slow runners. When the wind is in the west, Hortense can still hear the callow screech of Rotten Ronnie Junior’s 2nd sax, emanating through the cracked window of the Altona West Country Women’s Association Hall; where Madame Trixie La Belle persists with her Academie de Danse, despite having no student under the age of 73, and not many over it either. Miss H tried Trixie’s tap session once, on Madge’s exhortation one particularly drunken night at the Strangled Ferret, but gave it up, saying there was too much bump and not enough grind.  Poor Hortense has never gotten over Rotten Ronnie, although she would still like to, every now and again.

One does wonder if it would have all turned out differently, but for the outcome of the Nineteenth Century Balkan Conflicts, and the disappearance of the Vicar’s bicycle. Along with the Vicar’s wife and that snake hipped smooth tongued slicked back Italian bicycle salesman whose name I forget. It could all be a coincidence, like 2% of all scientists not believing in man-made climate change, and 2% of the population being certifiably barking mad.

And what, you may ask, of Madge? Well don’t – it does not bear thinking about, although you may have noticed the sun setting sooner these days. Madge is deeply concerned about Climate change: she has noticed that the sea level in Port Phillip Bay rises sharply every time she goes down there for a swim. Madge has her eye on those three bulk carriers anchored off the Altona West beach: Madge is not averse to a bit of bulk, and three ships full of deeply traumatised sailors is right up her… alley.

Don’t Turn Up Next Sunday!

At last, an exhortation that someone might take to heart. We are all off for Easter, so the will be no Session at the Leinster next week. The standard of music will remain the same. So toodlepip and see you at the Leinster on Sunday 15th.