The Castlemaine Jazz Jam goes a bit big….

So, women are playing Aussie rules in front of big crowds? That’s nothing. At the Castlemaine Jazz Jam we’ve always got talented Aussie women playing unruly jazz numbers for a crowd of adoring fans.

Our 47th jam on Sunday 2 April kicked off with the champion forward line of Maggie Jackson (vocals, vibes, keys), Bronwen Algate (vocals, flute, alto), Christina Finch (vocals, tenor) and Gwynn James (vocals, clarinet). Their version of John Coltrane’s ‘Mr PC‘ raised a cheer, and there wasn’t a hint of political correctness anywhere.

Otherwise we had matchless performances from Barry Gray, Richard Donelan and Alexander Gilbert on drums. John Gilbert and a mystery man called Peter tickled the ivories while Maggie was giving us some good vibes.

Melbourne vocalist Kevin Rolfe‘s set reminded us that there are thousands more great standards than ‘My Funny Valentine‘ in the American Songbook.

Alan Becker, Sue Blakey and Peter White created their own hornucopia with a swinging mix of alto, tenor and baritone.

Rene Raulin got his double bass into gear for some fine foundations and solos, then Chris Imfeld and Trevor Reading ran with the game plan on bass guitar. Trevor was good enough to lend me his Epiphone 175 to accompany Fran Silvester on ‘Take the A Train‘ and that song about a girl on a beach somewhere in Rio.

Cathy Boerema picked up the Brazilian feel with a couple of the more gutsy sambas that had the rest of us chanting words we didn’t understand and probably weren’t pronouncing too well. (Minhas sinceras desculpas to real Rio deal Carlos Ferreira, one of our jammers.)

The Maurocco Bar was even more chock-a-block than last time, and we’ll be doing it again on Sunday 7 May at 2pm.

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