Hal Blaine on Good Vibrations

In February 1966, the Beach Boys began to record their most ambitious album to date—a project called Smile. Coming on the heels of the Beatles’ Rubber Soul (released in December 1965), Smile was to be the Beach Boys’ game-changer, a massive ante-raiser that would be an immediate sequel to their Pet Sounds album released in May 1966. [Pictured: Hal Blaine, the Beach Boys’ studio drummer]

You’re about to see an amazing videoclip of the Beach Boys and members of the Wrecking Crew in the studio in 1966 recording tracks for Good Vibrations. But first, some background.
for the rest of the article click here Hal Blaine on ‘Good Vibrations’


Mike Nock is in town

Nock / Magnusson / Wilson 8:30pm Saturday, 28th July- $15/10 – Uptown Jazz Cafe


Pianist/composer Mike Nock, the recipient of the 2009 ‘Bell’ Australian Jazz Awards ‘Hall of Fame’ award, Nock has enjoyed an amazingly fertile 50 year career, which includes credits such as Coleman Hawkins and Art Blakey, leading the pioneer fusion group “The Fourth Way”, and garnering praise from peers such as Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock. Not one to rest on his laurels, Nock stays ‘musically fresh’ by working with younger musicians, and taking musical ‘chances’. One example is the premiere of this bass-less and drummer-less collaboration with two of his favourite Melbourne musicians: tenor saxophonist Julien Wilson and guitarist Steve Magnusson (both previous winners of the National Jazz Awards). With Nock on piano and keyboards, this promises to be a memorable concert of spontaneous and creative music making.


Mike Nock Solo 9pm Sunday, 29th July – $18/12 – Bennetts Lane


Sydney-based international pianist/composer Mike Nock has produced several great albums of solo piano over the past three decades on US, European, Australian and NZ labels, the last one being Touch (Birdland). He will perform an evening of solo piano in the intimate setting of Bennetts Lane. Nock’s compositions for solo piano have also been recorded by Michael Kieran Harvey on the album In the Time of Sakura (Move). Having turned 70 in 2010, this milestone was marked by the publication of the biographical book, Serious Fun: The Life and Music of Mike Nock, by Norman Meehan (Victoria University Press). Nock’s distinguished career, including almost 25 years in the U.S., was recently featured in an extensive survey on the U.S. website: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=42273

Does it Pay To Advertise?

The Melbourne Jazz Jammers posted its 200th advertisement on Melband this week: this is an excuse for some creative rubbish writing on my part, but it gets over 100 hits a week, and has been instrumental (hah) in attracting some good musos to the jam. The ads are under three categories: Other Musicians, Singers and Bass players. Some sample ads: 

Melband Ad for Musicians
On again this Sunday 29th April from 4.00pm onwards, at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Collingwood. The Jam session went off last week – 22 musos and singers and a crowded venue loving every minute of it, so this week absolutely no-one will turn up, possibly, and that is your chance to get in with the regulars – or boot them off and strut your stuff in front of a crowd so small it won’t matter if you stuff your strut instead.

If you are up for it, just stroll through the door and look like a muso (you can choose from uber-kewl, disdainful, nervous or broke). You are guaranteed a spot, ‘cos we don’t go home til we’re done. You get points for a goatee beard, pork pie hat or dreadlocks. Extra points for bringing the wife, but only if it someone else’s. 

Melband ad for Bass Players
Sunday 1st April from 4.00pm onwards: electric or double bass players wanted to join a quiet little jam session, at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood.

Just bring your bass to the door, or steal someone else’s if you have to. You are guaranteed plenty of playing time with a variety of musicians, most of whom have been known to read a chart. If we all get a bit lost, we call it a bass solo anyway…

Melband Ad for Singers
The Annual 21st of May Jazz Jam: Get up and Sing!

Singers are invited to this yearly event, from 4.00pm onwards, at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood on Sunday. Strangely, it is always held on the Sunday nearest 21st May, which happens to be May 21st this year, and is one of only about 48 jam sessions held at this venue each year. Nobody knows what it commemorates, but they still turn up to jam, sip lunatic soup and make idle but mildly malicious gossip. Starts at 4.00, descends into happy chaos by 4.03, goes ’til 7.30 or later.

 Bass Player ads get twice as many hits as the others. Go figure.

What’s on at The Grand Hotel:

The venue continues to grow – if you haven’t been, drop in on a Friday or Saturday – apart from a fair few jam session regulars, there is a regular crowd of Hotel residents, walk-ins and whatever. This month, another six first timers from the jam sessions have played, and their enthusiasm alone is infectious. 

Last Friday: Jo Loth fronted a highly rehearsed band of young Tyros this week, entertaining a goodly crowd whose evening could only get worse judging by their Essendon colours.  Andrew Putnam (drums) solid as ever, Nick Coulter tentative but with growing confidence on sax and Andrew Lye smooth on bass all night.

Saturday was the turn of Annie Hayres in the company of Gentleman John in great form on a tuned piano, and his usual collection of suave musos – by all accounts a good night, and some fine music. Naturally, I missed it dammit! 

Friday 27th July: The notorious Miss Smiff! Whoohee! We all love Miss Smiff, who has a delightful relaxed style and swings those jazz standards as hard as anyone. Later in the night, Miss Smiff, if you are very very good, will be performing her infamous dance routine, dressed only in a tight fitting.. (continued p23) 

Saturday 28th July: Juliane Pasternak will sing anything but Kurt Weill (she tells me) and may turn up dressed exclusively in daffodils, I deference to her Welsh ancestry. Or not, but it should be a great night of toons old and new, performed by one of the Jammers best singers…

Gold Street Gossip

The Captain blows up a storm

The Pete turns 50

How to get a gig – easy innit! 

The Captain  Blows up a Storm:

It has become somewhat of a habit, picking up Bob and driving to the Leinster of a Sunday afternoon, parking round the corner, ambling into the Gold Street Gossip Shop, and never knowing what, or who, to expect… 

The Captain, warming up and ready to spread his own benevolent form of chaos, Tim practicing in the back room (or as Il Duce would have it, exciting Seminar facility), Jack nowhere to be seen as usual, and a positive bevy of tonsil artistes ready to do their thing. First things first, a cold beer and a bit of idle banter, Gentleman John Curtis tickling the ivories, not one of which even giggled, and Paul on the drums positively caressing the skins whilst, as is his curious habit, staring at the wall.

Glen (Il Duce to those in the know) wasn’t there, and neither were the constabulary, his solicitor, his accountant, or any investigative reporters. Coincidence, probably?

The Pete turns 50

Pete wasn’t there either . He turned 50 on Saturday, which is often a silly thing to do, so much so that few people do it more than once. Given he still looked well under 65, well, slightly well under 65, or about 65, in the morning, he obviously decided to go to the East Altona Darts and Face Painting Championships instead. And when I say I obviously, I must stress  that I wasn’t there, so it could all be true.

Easy Innit?

In time, Nick, Trent, Keef, Yass, and Taariq would join newcomer Andrew (bass) who fitted in so well that the Captain asked him to play at the Grand this Friday. Good Grief, is it that easy?

Singers Jo, Anne H, Chelly, the incomparable Debbie and I forget who else, would get up for a warble, getting up being entirely preferable to being draped inelegantly over the piano. The stand probably wouldn’t take it anyway..

In all, a quieter session for a change, with everyone getting plenty of time to mangle, modify and murder their selected toons. The standard of the music remains alarmingly good, but be assured on the basis of experience, that this is a temporary aberration. The guilty will get their come-uppance in due course. The rest of us will get some chips and another beer, probably..

Stick to the black notes – they’re cheaper

The Grand Hotel:

Amy Jaulin Sings and The Ruby Rogers Experience

Amy Jaulin, in blistering form, and the beaming Ruby Rogers  held sway last Friday and Saturday. Friday also saw a cameo appearance from the peripatetic Kay  – she has certainly never sung in front of  a Grand crowd quite that big before, and will be back for more in August. 

This week, Jo Loth sings Friday, with Andrew Putnam (drums), Nick Coulter on sax and Andrew Lye on bass – a highly rehearsed trio of musicians with whom I shall attempt to keep up. Anything is possible…

From Gustavo Moreno

hello dear friends !!
For the lovers of Latin jazz and sounds, I’m happy to invite you to my performances with “jazzures” A modern and traditional Latin jazz trio & sometimes duo. Dan Robertson on keyboards and myself on drums. We’ll be playing every Wednesday of July  (11,18 & 25 ) at CRUZAO AREPA BAR ( 365 Brunswick st ) Fitzroy. 8pm. I’d love to see you there at the same time you’re supporting the live music scene in Melbourne. So if you’re in the mood for a dinner with smooth, Latin sounds in the Fitzroy area………that’s the plan. catch Gustavo at


Blimey, I nearly missed it.

It has been dark and cold in Refinery Terrace, Altona West, of late. Madge has, it would seem, taken to roaming the streets of Nether Colliwobble, with an eye for the main chance. It has been a while, and we all know what that means… Enough to strike fear into the souls of the most artery-hardened denizens of that industrial wasteland, who have, in terror quite possibly, taken to the Gold Street Gossip shop in increasing numbers of late, prepared to withstand the aural assaults of the Sunday Arvo jam in preference to the blood curdling screams of a slow runner, caught out late with Madge about.

They have started liking the jazz in the front bar. Good grief!

Now, where was I, ah yes, the jam session. Nothing out of the ordinary really, just the biggest line-up yet (31 musos, and I refuse to name the guilty) and an ever higher standard of musicianship. Poor old Captain Chaos looked, well, stuffed by the end of it, and so he should be – cattle prodding that line-up is hard work. Mr T no better, having played bass without a break for nearly 4 hours by the time I left.

Who done what…

So, a few mentions, just because. Chelly got up and nailed it convincingly, as did Lisbeth – the cruise ship contingent (clari and trom) blew us all away, Bob played Satin Doll as only Bob can, with Melinda trying to keep up, props to Bruce C from Sydney for turning up after his night at the Grand, and a welcome to Adrian from the Elwood RSL Blues jam, sadly no more (the jam, not Adrian).  Six drummers, six saxes, five singers and everyone you could think of turned up except….  

The Invisible Man:

I dare not mention Jack of course, who is never there, not even slightly, or so he tells me. I would not care to argue the point with a man wielding 14’6” of brass piping. 

Train Wrecks

Yup, mangled a few, for old time’s sake.

The Grand Hotel

Great debut by Amanda last Friday, Rachel on Saturday.

Friday 13
th Amy Jaulin gets her groove on, with Avi Ganesan (bass) Tom Doublier (drums) and meself on piano. Her last session drew one of the biggest crowds so far .. a mix of jazz, pop ballads and songs both old and new. Works for me…

Saturday 14thRuby Rogers will be swing the proverbials off a few new numbers she has been working up – same backing band as Friday, so we may even get it right this time…

And the Captain, of course!

What’s On at The Grand Hotel

You may well ask

Friday Night sees the return of Amanda Magrin, accompanied by Gentleman John Curtis, Andy Moon (double bass) and Bruce Constable (drums). Amanda sensibly fronted the jam last Sunday to blow out the cobwebs, having not sung for a while, and sounded as good as ever. Andy has given his orchestra the night off, and Bruce is coming down from Bendigo for the occasion. John Curtis is, apart from being a masterful pianist, a master of disguise. This week he is going to come disguised as John Curtis. He does this so well, you can hardly tell it from the real thing. Check it out.

Saturday Night,Rachel will be singing, and the band will be under the direction of Captain Chaos himself. One of the more experienced singers, Rachel is a real entertainer, and ranges through early jazz standards, ballads and whatever else takes her fancy.

A Few Words

A fine turn-out of jammers past and present for the funeral of Al Papa Jazz and for the ensuing wake and jam session at The Leinster Arms. These were both sad and happy affairs. If Al brought one thing to the jam sessions, it was his understanding that joining in is the spirit of the jam: not bravura performance, or musicianship, or being able to play faster or louder than anyone else: just being in the moment. So props to JC, Kevin, Mike Hirsh, the Captain, Tim, Miss Smiff, Julie Stewart,   Frank the Indefatigable and all the others for getting up and playing. The music goes on.