The Laika Bar Diaries: Sevil Sabah Quartet Friday Night

The Laika Bar: Sevil Sabah Quartet, 


Sevil will be singing a new selection of blues/soul/pop/ballad tinged numbahs, some of which we have even rehearsed. There’s posh for you. Meself, Doug “got a haircut” Kuhn and Ben Stewart (guitar) in attendance.

with a sit in drummer..

Well, we couldn’t really ask Geoff to come all the way from Bendigo, so Chelsea Allen will be squeezing into the bar for a bit of light drumming. I’ve heard of her.

Should be a busy night – drop in and strangle a cocktail!

Sevil Sabah Quartet, from 8.00pm Friday 25th September at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda,

The Ludicrous Arms Jam Session: ptwang, ptwang

Smooth As – what’s with all the geetars?

Managed to make it for a jam session – in the Captain’s continuing absence I even got there a bit early to help Il Duce set up. All a bit quiet for starters, but the main course soon wandered in, clutching an assortment of instruments and by about 30 minutes late we had even started kicking the ball around the paddock with a toon or two.

Early disasters (it didn’t take long) were entirely down to Sir Roger De Coverley, who had polished up his tootlefloot for the occasion, which, as it transpired was not so much an occasion as an extended set of directions for the hapless Il Duce, culminating in Sir R de C the cad, ignoring his own tempo and coming in late. Fair enough, nobody else was following his instructions either… although when they did get started, it all sounded pretty good to me.

The arvo wore on (japanese fashion label). Even Ali (sax) had a dip; and by the time Alex Yarosh, Tom McGlinn, Elliott Joe and  Chico had worked up the guitar solos, one would be tempted to say there were some fine solos going on.

Resisting the temptation, The Debonair JC, Gerald, Don and meself had a fine old time on the piano, with honours going to JC who played the rather tricky When I Look in Your Eyes without getting lost, and without giving away the fact that it had been put into a mildly easy key.

The late Miss Smith sang up a storm, Chris Manetta belted out a coupla bluesy numbers, Bruce drummed, Anton played every note he could think of, and Colonel T was in such an affable mood on bass and drums that he missed the new Doctor Who episode. Devotion to the cause or what? Meanwhile, Ivan the terrible swung the five-string basso profundo, and we all had a good time.

A quieter jam, but smooth as, and a high standard of music all made for a spiffing afternoon. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked where the Captain might be (Kyoto as it turns out) I would be richer by $4.35 cents.

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30. See ya this week?

Jam Session? Not Quite

I was talking to Madge from Altona the other day. She is most incensed at the sudden change in management of the West Altona Bowls and Drinking Club. Seems the white hatted old buggers had decided to spike the president’s turkey club sandwich in a fit of pique and reinstate the lawnmower as the new power base of the Pennant Extra 3B Reserves team, in a vague attempt at snaffling the upcoming Refinery Terrace Perpetual Rose Bowl.

It has been some years since Madge’s disgraceful performance at their last Bowl triumph, which ended in her using the afore-mentioned trophy in a manner that would have disappointed its maker, and did no credit to the alumni of the West Altona Juvenile Correctional facility, or indeed Madge herself. Not that she cared, as she was, at the time, taking the first hesitant steps in a mildly glorious career as a member of the Bairnsdale Working Mens Club corps de ballet, an exclusive troupe of exactly two. There being no prospect of gainful employment in what is laughingly referred to as the entertainment industry any closer to home. And we all know how that ended…

It is customary for there to be some digression at this stage into a glowing, factually inaccurate, and probably scandalous description of last week’s Jam Session at the Gold Street Gossip Shop and Society Tea Rooms. Since I was unable to attend, any such description on my part would run the risk of being factually accurate, which would set a dangerous precedent, and possibly not scandalous, which would disappoint two out of the three regular readers of this august journal.

I am nearly sure they all glowed.

But not quite. I do hope you all had fun.

Should see ya all this weekend?

The Laika Bar: Katerina Myskova tries to restore some order . . .

Last week’s effort by the B Team Band in accompanying the effervescent Jen Salisbury went rather well, drawing a good crowd after a quiet start.

This week, Katerina is back in the groove, with Mr Hirsh esq. again on drums, and Doug “Haircut” Kuhn on bass. Katerina has promised some new songs, ranging through latin (in 6 flats probably), a coupla ridiculously fast swing toons and whatever else takes her fancy. The band has deployed exactly the same number of rehearsal hours to every tune.

Feel like a spiffingly expensive cocktail or a rather lush red, maybe some tapas, and some friendly ear-bashing? Drop by and hobnob with the regulars, whose sense of style ranges from the raffish to the regrettable…

Katerina Myskova and the usual crew, from 8.00pm Friday 18th September at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda,

From Frances Madden

Dear friends,
We’re really excited to be making our first ‘mini tour’ down to Melbourne later this month to perform three gigs, including at several of the city’s iconic jazz venues. I hope you’ll be able to join us on at least one of those occasions for a great night!

I’ll be bringing a six-piece band including sax, trumpet and backing vocals. We have a wonderful show planned which includes some swing, some ballads, some blues, some Bacharach and maybe a little R&B to finish the night. We’ll be performing some songs from the album as well as a selection of classics and standards. There will be something for everyone and we promise to make it an evening you’ll enjoy!” . . .

Described by ABC Jazz’s Mal Stanley as a talented young vocalist and pianist and ‘one to watch’, Frances is one of the classiest young entertainers Australia has produced in recent times.

Frances will play in Melbourne as part of her seven piece band (more details below). They will be playing three gigs only this trip, the first is

Thursday 24th Sept: Dizzy’s Jazz Club.
Bookings on (03) 9428 1233 or at

line-up for the tour includes:
– Frances Madden on piano & vocals
– Peter Koopman on guitar (2014 Wangaratta finalist)
– Tim Geldens on drums
– Tom Lee [Melbourne] on double bass
– Michael Avgenicos on tenor sax
– Paul Murchison on trumpet
– Borbala Bodonyi a.k.a. Bobo on backing vocals

further info at:

Marysville Jazz and Blues Festival 16 – 18 October 2015


This is the inaugural Festival, run by local identity, raconteur and all round good guy Peter Guest. If you are at a loose end and fancy giving the newly invigorated Marysville the once or twice over, this would be a good time to do it. There will be a range of music presentations by some pretty good bands, and a number of free-to-the public events, buskers and heaven knows what else.

Marysville is only 20 minutes from town if you are Bronwyn Bishop, and about an hour and half for the rest of us. You have to go past about 43 wineries in the Yarra Valley to get there, so you had better leave by about Thursday.

The line-up includes Wilbur Wilde, Tottie and the Wanderers, Joe Talia, Nick Charles, and my personal favourite, one time jammer Mama Alto. Tickets are selling fast – get yours now by logging onto

And when you are done, you have to drive past 43 wineries on the way back.


The Lunatic Soup Lounge Jam Session: this time, poetry from the Bard . . .

The Captain is somewhere in China, the Kuhn and meself were somewhere in Castlemaine, and the jam session went really well. A coincidence? Probably not..

I rely entirely on the debonair JC’s recollection of a blurry afternoon – seems the Curtis has a penchant for mid twentieth Century free form abstract poetry – read it and be impressed! This is what he sent . . .

Another turned up just as I was leaving but don’t know his name


John Calamatta


Alex Yarosh



He subsequently submitted a short form haiku
By the way
Elliott not Alex

Sung to the tune of I’ve Got Rhythm. He is just showing off, don’t encourage him . . .

Meanwhile, back at the Cumberland, concomitant cacophony

With the AGM out of the way, the Castlemaine Jazz Jam, which is held on the first Sunday of every month at the Cumberland Hotel, got under way. The line up included the sublime Ade Ish (piano), Chelsea Allen (percussion), John McGill (saxophone) of the Ozarks and Undectet, Carlos Ferreira (some impressive Brazilian percussion) and a bunch of locals. A surprising number of musos turned up from Melbourne, and there was an appreciative audience (around 60 at one stage).

The Castlemaine Jams have gradually improved in both quality and numbers from a low point around November last year and show every sign of growing as big as, if not bigger, than the Leinster Jams. This was probably the best so far. Well worth a spin next month if you fancy a jaunt in the country. Stay tooned….

The Laika Bar: Jen and the B Team Band

Katerina pulled a good crowd last week, and sang an exceptionally fine set. Of more, later.

This week, in Captain Chaos’ absence, the B Team band will be supporting Jen Salisbury, who will be singing a range of jazz standards, swing toons, and tin pan alley numbers dragged from the dustbin of history, and polished up, as only Jen can. And the B Team, I didn’t hear you ask? M Hirsh esq on drums, meself on piano and the highly talented Miss Jess Wood on double bass. Glaziers have been booked for the next morning. Be there!

Jen Salisbury and the B Team Band, from 8.00pm Friday 11th September at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.

The Castlemaine Jazz Festival

A report on the AGM: everything on track for the 2016 Festival


Congratulations to Doug Kuhn, newly elected President of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival Committee. The other Committee members are Brett Willis, Vice President, Col Garrett, John Hannah, meself, Kirsten Boerema, Fran Sylvester, and Linda Carpenter: so a better representation from Castlemaine at last. Particular props to John Hannah for holding the home town fort for a third year, and to Gentleman John Curtis, who cunningly declines to be on the Committee, but contributes as much, if not more, than any other volunteer.

This year’s Festival was 40% bigger than the first year, and returned $60 plus registration fee to each of the 280 or so musicians who played.

The Third Castlemaine Jazz Festival: June 10 – June 12, 2016

Musicians for Detainees Announce Fundraiser at the Toff

Human Rights advocates Musicians for Detainees have revealed a sterling lineup for the first in a series of fundraising events for The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) this October in Melbourne’s Toff in Town. Powerhouse singer-songwriter Liz Stringer and Gian Slater’s innovative jazz vocal ensemble, Invenio will perform alongside heart-warming indie force, Skipping Girl Vinegar. Joining them will be Brisbane favourite, Hailey Calvert, kicking off proceedings showcasing her raw and uninhibited live show. With 100% of profits going to the ASRC, each ticket sold has the capacity to raise funds for real, tangible outcomes in our community including ESL classes, back to school kits and community lunches. To be a part of this very special event, head down to The Toff in Town, Wednesday 21st October. Doors 7:30pm. Tickets are available through Moshtix.

Ticket link:

Facebook event link:

The Jam Sessions: People are not taking this seriously…

I really thought I might get there early, but as usual, spent too much time thinking about it and turned up fashionably late… and as per the previous week, there seemed to be an awful lot of people in the room, some, admittedly, more awful than others.

The Lunatic Soup Lounge is a strange venue in many ways, and one cannot really be sure what attracts people to turn up and play jazz – clearly a lot of the newcomers have yet to develop the deep appreciation of the total unmitigated cock up that is at the heart of the jam sessions – yet again there were some rather good musicians throwing their metaphorical hat into the ring – and we are in real danger of playing some good music. If we do that, what would be the point of turning up the next week – there is nothing as predictable and dull as getting things right, unless you include Littel Sunflower, which, mercifully we did not, this week at least.

Maintaining a low standard has worked for the last 24 years, why change things now?

Amongst those not striving for an abysmally low standard of excellence were:

Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse (well, he strive a bit) , Gentleman John Curtis, Calamatta the red beret, Alex Jarosh (good grief, has it come to this?) Bridgette De Neef, Talev the drummer, Ivan the terrible, Doug Haircut kuhn, Sebastian, Keelie, Noel the saxflutophonist, Mr Hirsh esq. on drums, Peter, Charles, Don the keys, Gerald drums/piano and ponytail, Vincent bleedin’ good on bass, Anton, and the inscrutable Chico on guitar… plus a bunch of others too horrible to mention.

Captain Chaos was so organised he has gone to China for a few days to recover, and some of us will be in Castlemaine. Luckily, the Debonair Mr Curtis will be leading the choir this week – if he gets too posh, just ask him to play Mas Que Nada

Drop by and contribute to the weekly debacle – you know it makes sense…