The Absolutely Approximate Truth

News from the Leinster

Saturday night saw the inaugural Mood Bar session, with the Ruby Rogers Experience entertaining an ever changing crowd of drinkers, friends, friends who drink, drinkers who became friends and a couple of others; with a three hour set of jazz, and slightly more bluesy material. Avi Ganesan, Putna Mondrum the rhythm section, the Captain contributing the licks and meself on piano trying to keep up.

 A good start, and props to Miss Rogers, who gets better and better: and the next session due in a fortnight. ‘Twill be posted. Marg is going to be there!

 Jam Ordinaire

Another fine Sunday arvo at the Chopper Read Ballroom (and Mood Bar), with cameo performances from Roger De Coverley, somewhat distingué with his chrome black sax and insouciant air – trading licks with Julian the trumpet who resisted the urge to fiddle with the PA several times; and the Captain leading choruses of , well, almost everything he could lay his hands on.

Miss Hayres, lycra-ed to the eyeballs or not as the case may be, sang to some lively accompaniment from Bob, and a succession of guitarists (Kevin, Ben, Tom and Yassin) took turns to twang terrifically until Chelly Parisi took over microphone management with an absolutely magnificent mangling of My Funny Valentine.

So… a goodly crowd saw a thumping good arvo turn to a tuneful evening, with Richard leading the goodnight chorus, as is his wont, until they all faded away, for another week at least.


The Grand Hotel

Tess provided a terrific Friday night session (as promised), Curtis, Van Hooft, Danilo and Captain Chaos the band.

 This week, Amy Jaulin is singing, with Trent on sax, meself (piano), Kip Dale (bass) and possibly Jacopo on drums. Amy has consistently attracted a good crowd, and delivered some lively nights – will she do it again? Only one way to find out. The 3” eyelashes will be batting from 5.30 onwards.

Amy Jaulin sings: Friday 28th June 5.30pm – 8.30pm at The Grand Hotel, cnr Spencer and Flinders Street

On Jam Sessions

Someone, I forget who, once posed the question. I can’t remember the question either, but it is as good a way as any of introducing this week’s Important Topic: which is What Are the Key  Elements of a Successful Jam Session

 These seem to be:

Joining in. A session where everyone gets to play badly is infinitely preferable to listening to the one or two good players all afternoon. And if,when playing, you can learn from other musos, you are already one of the better musicians. See “Listen!” below.

Dropping Out: Play for a bit, then step out so someone else can have a turn. This particularly applies to the good players: if you play all day, others will get discouraged by your brilliance. It equally applies to the profoundly average players: if you play all day, the good players (and the audience) will get frustrated. It probably applies to the bad players. But, as we haven’t had one of these turn up for 15 years or more , I can’t be sure.

Play as many instruments as you like, but only bring one each week. Multi-instrumentalists aim to be equally good on all their instruments, but inevitably end up equally bad. James Morrison excepted, but he hasn’t been to a jam for years. Similarly, I cannot recall an occasion when someone sang as well as they could, or played their instrument as well as they could, when trying to do both at the same time. Billy Joel excepted, but he only turned up for the same jam as James Morrison.

Not the Band! All jam sessions get visited from time to time by the Band-that-can’t get-a gig using the session as an extended rehearsal/promotion. Sometimes the music can be great, but it excludes all the musos that are not members of the Band-that-can’t get-a gig. If you are a member of the aforementioned band, it may be worth asking why you can’t get a gig.

Avoid The Comfort Zone: Get out of it from time to time. Mix it up. Play some latin, some blues, some swing, some bebop, some country and western. Oops, I didn’t mean that last bit. Or maybe I did. Tony Gould (Head of Jazz at Monash to you) once commented that just playing Bebop is a very small box if you confine yourself within it . Not now, Hortense….

Listen! It is a jam session: it is unstructured. Things happen, and if you listen to other musos you can respond to them – that is when the music goes to another level. If, on the other hand, you listen to the beautiful notes that you are playing, you might as well be in the back bar by yourself.

Embrace Chaos: when the Captain decides to call fours, play the coda backwards, or generally disrupt proceedings through careful direction, pay attention at least half of the time, otherwise do the opposite. Sometimes the train wrecks can be a lot of fun – we are not serious musos so it really doesn’t matter too much…

And in the Captain’s absence…

So the Captain ups and shoots through to Murwillumbah for the Nose Flute Festival or something, and in a break with tradition, I remember to bring along some charts. Ignored them all afternoon. As Jam sessions go (and let’s face it, sometimes we wish they would) this one was dozy to start with, but eventually got out of control; and ended up a lively affair, where we cheerfully disgraced ourselves by playing bebop tunes on the grounds that no one was listening anyway and we might as well have fun. Much enlivened, as it turned out, by the debut of Nick from Geelong who professed to playing a “bit of drums”, and proceeded to wipe the floor with the rest of us. Aged 16 going on 30…And Miss Parisi on (v) with Gentleman John C on (p) was  a bit of a treat. The Debster got up and boogied, Bob on the pianoforte. Mr T, clearly suffering from Dr Who withdrawal symptoms played some fine bass before deciding, and failing, to play All Blues in defiance of drums, piano, guitar etc. The evening got better and better. I eventually left with Richard not so much tickling the ivories as threatening them with GBH. It occurred to me that, whilst the jams have been quieter affairs of late, the range of music played, and the quality have been as good as ever. I am rather looking forward to the next one. Marg is going to be there. And the Captain is back. Now if only I could slpell…

Editor does a bunk, Assistant Editor Overreacts, Jam sessions all over the place, not much different from normal

The News From Chateau Nash

Some of you may have heard that the assistant part time editor of the Newsletter (e-mail division) has been less than spiffingly well of late. This may have been due to over elation at being relieved of his e-mailing duties upon the return of the Editor-errant, or may have been an over-elaborate ruse upon learning that said Ed was going away again. But I doubt it.

Being Rod Nash cannot be easy – you have to do most things backwards in the interests of incosnistency. So Rod managed to check himself into Hospital and then have the heart attacks, whereas most normal people would do it the other way round. He was, all joking aside (as if!) in seriously deep trouble for a while, so much so that there was concern amongst the remnant medical staff that he would not return to normal; whereas the rest of us would know that that would be something of a miracle cure, given that Rod has never been that normal in the first place.

Any way, everything is, I am assured, on the mend – the medico’s golf handicap, Bette sense of humour, even Rod.

Important Stuff

Or something like that. Anyway, back to important stuff: Merimbula this week end coming, so all the “real” muso’s will have gone to the jazz fest, and the rest of us can misbehave at the Leinster this Sunday…

Grand Hotel :  Ruby Rogers this week

After Miss Hayres’ smooth little session last Friday (best yet, we all thought) Ruby Rogers is back this week with some new songs, and some old musos: Rene (bass) Dean (Drums) and meself on piano.

The Ruby Rogers Experience, Friday 7th June, The Grand Hotel, corner of Flinders Street and Spencer Street, 5.30pm start


Memories of Tomorrow

With A few of the regulars at the Castlemaine jam, a smaller than usual group of musicians attended another lively session at the Leinster on Sunday 2nd June.

Adi, John, Stan, Andrew and Ben formed a standard group (alto, keyboard, bass, drums and guitar) to kick off proceedings. They were soon joined by Wangaratta’s very own Frank Sinatra, Ashley on vocals and drums. Taariq got involved on bass and guitar. Bob relieved John on the keyboard and Chelly took over on vocals. Newcomer Tram showed that he knew his way around the black and white notes and Danilo, the ever smiling Bolivian pianist, taught us how to syncopate when using latin rhythms. Glen did his usual tight stint on drums and, after gentle coercion, Holly sang a great version of “The Man I love”.

Just when it looked like an early finish, Marion turned up with her recorder to challenge us all with her requests to play “500 Miles High” and the Keith Jarrett “Memories of Tomorrow“ Look up “Memories of Tomorrow” to get an idea of what was attempted. Anne S also arrived towards the end of the session to vocalise and kept time on the drums. Overall, a very good standard of music was maintained throughout the afternoon.

Feedback from some non musician listeners……”Loved the music, the ambience and the informal nature of the performances. We will be back next week.”

A few of us will be at the Merimbulla Jazz Festival for the long weekend. For the rest….business as usual with T W returning after two weeks absence.

Not your usual correspondent