On Improvisation, and Jam on Sunday

Friedrich Nietszche once famously remarked “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Of course, I have no idea what he was banging on about, but I am unreliably informed that he may have been in the plastic wrapped lettuce section of Coles at the time, and would have been better off at the Lunatic Soup Lounge last Sunday, where the good, the average and the delusional neatly collided at around 4.39pm. for a splendid little session de jam.

It is a little known fact that, Nietszche, who detested Klezmer, once took up the pfennig whistle after hearing Adolphe Sax trading fours with a boy scout from Brussels. This is, of course, little known, mainly because I just made it up…

But I digress. The Jam Session, yes, it is all coming back to me now..Jam Sessions thrive on improvisation, coupled with desperation, inspiration and a good slap of mistakes. And last Sunday’s was one such, it would seem, The arvo kicked of with a set from Gentleman John Curtis, purveyor of fine toons to the gentry, with Noel and the Captain on saxophones, and I can’t quite remember who else. Two new drummers turned up – Steve, all the way from Euro, and Mike both on the money, the Debster got up and sang, with Bob on piano, then Katerina Myskova put in a coupla fine numbers, the Hirsh on drums, Mr Lole amusing himself at the eight ball table and getting up later, Colonel T I think, Ivan the terrible, Chrissie and Bruce and a bunch of others, before I left – the final tally stood at 22 musicians, all marvellously talented, young good looking and in most cases delusional.

And imrpovisation, or omparvosition as it is sometimes called? Well, if you can tell the difference between that and a muso just being plain lost, then don’t – you would be wasting your time in this fine company. Or just make it up as you go along.

The Laika Bar: Risa is back


Yep, she knows all the words… Accompanied by Mr Hirsh esq. on drums, Kip Dale on bass and meself on piano trying to keep up. Jazz at a frenetic pace is Risa’s forte, well tempered with some delightful ballads, and obscure (to most of us) Japanese toons thrown in for good measure.

This should be a good night, and the audience at Laika continues to grow. As it should, given the hot little set by Sevil last week, and Katerina the week before.

If you fancy a stroll down the beach end of Fitzroy Street St Kilda, and the weather is warm, drop in for a cocktail or a glass of vino. Steve at the door will welcome you in. For an extra five bucks, he will even ask for your ID.

Summer. Jazz. Cocktails. All good.

Risa Khodani with the B Team, from 8.00pm Friday 30th October at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.

Wangaratta Jazz Festival: this weekend

The Jammers will be playing at:

· The Bull’s Head: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

· The Market, possibly, Sunday morning

Seems like we have a few starters – the Sevil Sabah Quartet will play a set at the Bull’s Head, always assuming we can stagger from the Faithfull Street stage in time on Saturday, Chelsea Allen will slap the skins , and the sublime Ade Ish is rumoured to be dropping by – as well as the regulars, all marshalled by the inimitable Captain Chaos (70 and a bit) himself.

Quite what the Bulls Head cognoscenti will make of this remains to be seen, but a coupla good nights in prospect. The Market was a blast last year. Drop by and have a dip…

Or buy a ticket and hear some real music….

Twas bigger than Ben Hur

The Captain Chaos Birthday Bash started in a hurry, and just kept getting busier and busier. It was the biggest Jam session on record. Only we didn’t record it, which is possibly a good thing.

We passed the previous record just before 7 o’ clock, when jammer No 34 got up to croon Happy Birthday to the Captain – Brigid De Neefe leading a massed choir of the Debster, Maria, Mme Sonia, Chrissie, Rachel, Kerrie, Lisette (possibly) and Julie. Croon is possibly an inapt description of the rendition, but it sent the Captain off to a fine dinner with relatives, friends, and jammers in the Atrium.

So… quantity, for sure, but what of the quality? Not that the defining element of a good Jam Session is necessarily quality, but with the likes of that bounder Clarke in bristling good form, Alex Yarosh possibly shading Tom on guitar (but only just), David Lole and Sam Izzo leading the charge on keys, with Bob and meself grabbin’ a couple of toons each, the Hirsh, M Sebastien, Bruce and Alan Richards slappin’ the skins, Kevin croonin’, Taariq his usual self (bass and then drums), Lisette and Julie having fun as a duo, Agus sublime, Tony, Ali, Keef and Peter Cole on sax, Terry trying some nice guitar, as did the original lounge lizard Ray Hood (happy birthday to you also!), Richard a newcomer on flugel, and his mate Bill so bemused he actually didn’t play trombone, Benjamin who flew in from Berlin to play guitar (hope he can’t afford the return flight yet!) and Doug Kuhn and Anton holding up the bass end of proceedings with Ivan the terrible having dropped in without so much as a violin, so he didn’t play, nor did Trev the harp (sorry Trev!),

…the quality was up there with the best.

You will have to go back and read that sentence again.

Should be dead quiet this week…

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

The Laika Bar: La Myskova nails it, Sevil this week

Katerina sang a blisteringly good set, to a larger crowd than usual, and this week Sevil is back for a fine tune before her set at Wangaratta.

Sevil will be singing some new material, accompanied by Ben “Twang”Stewart on guitar, Doug “Haircut” Kuhn on bass and meself on piano. Oh, and Chelsea Allen on drums. The girls both have class, and the rest of us will be relying on chutzpah.

Sevil Sabah Quartet, from 8.00pm Friday 23rd October at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda,

Singers and instrumentalists wanted!

We’re looking for singers and instrumentalists to be showcased, backed by the house band or playing as a solo or duo. You can book a spot before the event or just turn up on the night and take your chances. There are also a couple of open jams – no need to book.

Eltham: The first Soirée Musique in Eltham was a big night with about 80 people in the audience. Great venue, too. Our next Soirée at Eltham is on Friday 13 November, 7:30-11:45pm at the Eira Café Lounge Bar, 1 Pryor Street, Eltham.

Northcote: And Soirée Musique in Northcote continues – the next one is on Friday 30 October, 7:30-11:45 at the Ember Lounge, 111 High St, Northcote.

We have many regulars who never sing or play: they enjoy the night as the audience!

To see the programme or to get on the programme, see: