Jazz Jam Report Sunday June 5th 2016

The Melbourne International Jazz Festival is in progress and so far I have been to the Esperanza Spalding gig which I enjoyed and to check out the lovely Sarah MacLaine at Dizzy’s with Brian Abrahams on drums and vocal on “ Lush Life”. It is a fine time for live music fans and gives me something to cling to while I wait for the snow season to actually bring some snow for my outdoor winter adventures.

The Jazz Jam a.k.a the sheltered workshop for D.I.Y. musical lobotomy patients started in a very quiet and understaffed fashion. Newcomer Bill was on drums and a kind of blank bewilderment during the trading of fours with the Capitano of chaos who blew his horn and this scribe played the bassline and the chords simultaneously using each hand on the keyboard. It would be better if I had three hands or more facility on the piano. I’ll take both if they are available but I think that comes with playing 2 hours a day and not half an hour a day on the keyboard at home. Having three hands could be useful but it would make people stare.

Thankfully Ivaan the Terrible appeared with his 5 string double bass and I was sacked from the piano and redirected to the guitar. There was a sigh of relief somewhere from somebody ……Perhaps twice over because my dodgy crapola hausen drumming was also not required. It never is but that has never stopped me! .

Roger ‘ spray on jeans’ Clark played some songs on his Alto saxophone while Trevor of the Motorbike cult sat in on piano and trial by unknown chart. Kay then filled in on piano since Ted Woollan and Gentleman John Curtis who usually play piano at the jazz jam were both absent. Kay knows the chords , gets them in the right order and seems to seldom lose her place . This is better than what we can usually hope for at the Leinster Arms of a Sunday afternoon. I think all singers and drummers should know some piano. The basics of music are all there in black and white. (A pun!).It could not hurt at all.

Glenn the publican took over on drums for a while and Katerina sang the old Korean karaoke standard “Cly me a Libber”. Kay also sang some songs from her SE Asian restaurant menu cum songbook. They all have MSG in them .Newcomer Miss Chloe ,a warbler , inflicted “Summertime” upon us all without giving the regular jammers a dollar that they all wish they had for every time they had to play this bleeding song.

Ivaan showed signs of 5 string double bass fatigue and I was moved onto electric bass by the Captain where I am quite at home . Playing L O N G solos on the electric Bass is fun.

Kevin B. on Guitar and Ann on flute both added support while the reed contingent was in full cry with Allan West adding percussion and saxophone , Peter on Tenor sax and Tony also blowing some nice blues lines on the saxophone. Near the end all the saxophones played “Chitlins con Carne” in a death by sax and industrial deafness kind of rendition including yet another fellow on sax, Whose name eludes me , but he was perhaps testing the link between beer and baldness.

The Bruce (drums) and Chrissie (vocals) show returned after a simple case of non-presence of late. Tina added some piano and Kevin the Bespectacled warbler also contributed some vocals here and there during the general cacophony. Allan Richards lifted the standard with some solid and proficient drumming and Audrey sang in French while her lovely leggy friend recorded the proceedings on a digital whatchamacallit.

Such video footage can be used to identify the culprits when the ‘crimes against music ‘ case is launched at the international court at The Hague in the Netherlands. Overall very few songs from the almost interesting and quirky modern jazz list were taken out and garroted . (No ¾ jazz waltz , no super-fast 230 BPM version of “Cherokee”, no Wayne Shorter or Eric Dolphy tunes etc. ). Mostly a clichéd list of hackneyed titles from the pre Cambrian era , were given the train wreck material treatment which made for a wavering standard of jamming overall , but we have no standards other than to massacre jazz standards ! , so it was business as usual really.


I will be off to check out Wayne Shorter and his Quartet live next Sunday and others will be at the Castlemaine Jazz festival which runs concurrently with the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Why that is, I will never know.

See you all again for another chance to ruin ‘Blue Bossa’ for the 4,123,097 th time on Sunday June 19th 2016.

Mr. T.

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