Not a bleedin’clue… and Christmas is coming

Wandered into the Gold Street Gossip Shop at the unappointed hour, listening to the early birds warbling their way through a toon or three. Settled into a comfortable spot, as near the bar as possible, and as far from the noise as I could decently get, without appearing unduly disinterested. Several of the regulars appeared to be in fine form, and one could go so far as to say that one or two of them were even playing in tune, although I would not hazard a guess as to with what.
In time, I got up to play and a pleasant old mess it was. We trotted out some old toons, some new, and to Colonel T’s disgust, no Coltrane, at least for a while. He worries about that sort of thing, but the truth is, we regularly play Coltrane tunes – he just doesn’t recognise them, and fair enough too.
It must be said that, given there were only 15 or so combatants on the day, this was one of the quietest jams for some time; and the standard of playing did not, mercifully, reach the heights to which the last few jams have left us accustomed.
All of which means two things:
(a) We didn’t scare off any tyro. Indeed one pianist from the Sedergreen stable got up and made a pretty good job of Blue Bossa. Hopefully, inculcated with the S Sedergreen philosophy of “learning on the gig”, he will return.
(b) You can pretty much bet the sheep station on the Jams arcing through another great series of musical adeptness any day now. We are nothing if not consistently inconsistent.

Meanwhile, this Jam left us mystified – played, had fun, never really hit the heights.. the reason?

Not a clue!

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


Humphrey B Bear, Pluto, Kylie Minogue and Mike Hirsh on drums…All names have been changed to protect the innocent…

Christmas is Coming: The Jammers Pre-Christmas Luncheon and Jam Session Deluxe is on the 13th December – be there!

When wasn’t CHristmas coming, I wonder… anyhoo, it is that time of year again, and the Melbourne Jazz Jammers annual Christmas bash will be happening on December 13th. It is rather hoped that a few of the regulars will turn up for lunch at 1.00pm, and stuff themselves sufficiently full that they are unable to get up and leave in haste, when the music starts at 2.00pm. We should fall over from exhaustion around 6.00pm.

The entire debacle will take place in the Atrium, at the Leinster Arms, and Glen is hoping to be able to open the doors onto the street, so we should manage a bit of tempo disturb de neighbours

If you haven’t been to the pre-Christmas Bash before, this is the one time of the Year when a whole bunch of Jammers get together, tell exaggerated stories of past deeds and play some extremely raucous music, possibly quite badly, although the last couple of years have seen some great music played. The Good Captain, as ever, will disorganise the entire bash, and the rest of us will insist on everyone getting up to play – even if this is the only Jam Session of the year that you attend. We even had one long time Jammer fly down from Newcastle for the event last year, although if you know Newcastle well, you will probably understand why..

Stick it in ya Diary!

The Laika Bar gets all class

The Band, and the management, agreed that Susie’s first gig at Laika was a hit. She looked a million dollars, started a bit nervous (who wouldn’t?) and by the second song had it all together … and swung. Dancing by the end of the evening.

This week sees a few serious musicians in the Joint:- one of me fave pianists Ade Ish, Chelsea Allen and the Director of eResearch at Monash University (well, that is what it says on Paul Bonnington’s Linked In page…) will be playing a mix of jazz and originals.

The previous instrumental nights have been some of the best, and this trio is as good as you could wish – boogie on down the Boulevard of Broken Drains and tip back a cocktail or a glass of red to some fine ol’ music.

Ade Ish Trio, from 8.00pm Friday 28th November at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda,

Debbie Woodruffe at Ruby’s Music room, Tuesday 1st December 2015

The Bootleg Daze songbook, filched from the speakeasy in about 1932, and re-imagined by the irrepressible Debster. Accompanied by young Hughonbass, Alan Richards on drums, meself on piano, Captain Chaos on saxaphone. We start making mistakes at 8.00pm and keep going until we get it right. Should be a fun night if you are in town, and at a loose end.

Bootleg Daze, Ruby’s Music Room, Bennett’s Lane, Tuesday 1st December from 8.00pm.

The Sevil Sabah Quartet, Nieuw Amsterdam, Thursday 3rd December, from 8.00pm

All five members of the Sevil Sabah Quartet are going to play in the downstairs Bar at classy restaurant Nieuw Amsterdam, with a coupla hot sets from 8 – 10pm or later.

There are already over 20 people booked for this one, but a few Jammers should fill the joint. Nieuw Amsterdam has toyed with the idea of being a music venue since selling out as a Melbourne International Jazz Festival venue this year – drop on by and encourage them to make it a regular event!

Sevil Sabah Quartet does the City, Nieuw Amsterdam, Hardware Street (it is North of Hardware lane) Thursday 3rd December, Tuesday 1st December from 8.00pm.


Another Sunday, another Jam Session

There have been around 1,100 jam sessions since the Dizzy’s days. We ought to get it right soon. One might surmise that several peeps turned up for this week’s Jam, played several toons quite well, murdered a coupla standards as you do, in honour of the lugubrious Belgian’s 100th birthday, and then left with that sinking feeling that betokens another Monday fast approaching. One might be right, but as I wasn’t there, I could not say..

Brussel’s answer to the sprout, Adolphe Saxe did indeed turn a hundred this week. He has much to answer for, but has done very little of late, on account of being dead.. He could have had the decency to stuff Eric Dolphy’s soprano sax with pate de foie gras before he shuffled off the mortal coil, but singularly failed to do so. Amongst his many achievements, he managed to send Belgium’s first hearing aid company broke, by practising on his soprano sax. Sales plummeted, as most customers preferred to be deaf.

Little has been heard from Mme Hortense of late, although she may have hovered briefly in the back bar of the Gold Street Gossip Shop last Sunday. She has recently broken it off with Rotten Ronnie Junior, whose second saxaphone harmonies at Madame Trixie La Belle’s Altona West Academie de Danse have taken on a consequently rather joyful tone, much to Hortense’s chagrin. The Stuffed Parrot remains deathly silent, hardly surprising since in burnt down in 1963, and will not re-open until the West Altona Progress Association consents to its new rooftop terrace, or learns the meaning of irony, whichever comes first.


We received our first negative response on Melband – after 278 posts since January 2005. Seems someone turned up to a jam, sang, got asked to join four different bands but didn’t hear back from anyone and now thinks we are all the moral equivalent of second hand car dealers, or real estate agents, or politicians, or something. Society is, as ever, to blame.

The offending post ( we put ads in every few weeks) read as follows:
The Sunday Arvo Jazz Jam at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Collingwood, is on again 4 -8 pm this Sunday 15th November, and it should be a bit quieter than last week. Around 20 musos will turn up, and if you would like to give it a try – just turn up at the door and we will fit you in. “Jazz” is whatever you want to make it.

A few facts about the Jazz Jams:
1) They have been running for 24 years. Nobody knows why.
(2) About half the musos who play are regularly gigging.
(3) We organise a Friday night gig every week in St Kilda, using five or six soloists and bass players on rotation – you could be on the list.
(4) We organise the Castlemaine Jazz Festival – about 20 of the regular jammers played last year

Enhusiasm essential, performance anxiety optional, charts a bonus, and competence to be well concealed as a kindness to others

Whaddya waiting for?

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: a year already…

We have been playing exactly a year at the Laika. In that time, we have used 30 musicians, all of whom have been sourced through the jam sessions. Many thanks to Boris, and Mad Mikey, for putting up with us, to new owner John, and to Bar Manager Manuel for his enthusiasm and compliments.

This week, Susie has her first gig there – singing jazz standards, looking generally gorgeous and having a good time. Strut on down the Boulevarde of Broken Dreams, and help blow out the candles.

Susie V, Doug Kuhn (bass) Ben Stewart (guitar) meself and a drummer as soon as the Captain finds one, from 8.00pm Friday 20th November at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda,


Castlemaine Jazz Festival 2016 – update

Would you believe the Committee is already deep into planning for June 10th – 12th 2016? Lots of new ideas coming up, and if anyone has any suggestions (other than “stop it, you fools” as we have already considered that) shoot off an e-mail to and we will take it on board.

Doug Kuhn is the current wearer of the bullet proof vest (Il Presidente), and has already whipped the committee into shape. Captain Chaos will be wrangling the bands again, and a number of expressions of interest have already been received. John Hannah, Castlemaine’s finest something or other, is in discussion with both new and existing venues. It is all shaping up to be a magnificent shambles again, and the website should go live any day now… when we get round to it.

Rioting in the street, the Americans are coming, commotion in the back bar, and Chaos does his nut

Not really, but in truth, we had suspected this one might be a bit special – Trombonist Al Herman had promised to turn up, and he did: and he brought with him the impeccable Rory, his ageing sidekick Sir Roger De Coverley, and, as if that wasn’t enough, the unimpeachable Ade Ish, and even Chelsea on drums, reprising her Friday night sesh at the Laika,, along with Firman, Tom McGlinn and Ben (guitar), young Alan Richards (drums), Kevin and Katerina (vocals).

Steve bassed along with the best of them, with Anton the jazz arriving just as he was wilting from exhaustion. Added to the mix Chrissie Manetta, Bruce on drums, South Australian interloper Sophie on sax, Julian on flute, Peter Cole on sax, the Calamatta, sans I think chapeau rouge, Tom McGlinn on guitar, David Nole and meself on keys, and you had a right old schemozzle, which ran all afternoon.

A great session, some disturbingly good jazz being played, and this was one out of the box. Hardly a dud amongst that lot, although I did my best to lower the standard when I could, and probably succeeded on occasion.

Ya missed it? There is always next 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: Black Cat night

Last week, Sevil sang a cracking set, Al Herman and Ade ripped it up, and the new management were well chuffed.

This week sees the return of Katerina Myskova, all class, Dan Pickard on bass, and Tom McGlinn on guitar and Chelsea on drums. Tom’s first foray into the wilds of Fitzroy Street. Should be a great night – drop in for a shandy or something

And this will be the 51st consecutive week at the Laika…

katerina Myskova, Tom McGlinn, Dan the man, Chelsea Allen and meself, from 8.00pm Friday 13th November at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda,