The Royal Standard Hotel: Fridays sorted

The Divine Miss Smith and the polytonal Jason Chalmers did not disappoint. This week, Susie returns to the fray, after a protracted break, and the usual crew will be there in support.

Susie with the Captain Chaos Quartet, The Royal Standard Hotel, 333 William St, 7.00pm to 9.30pm, Friday 23rd June 2017

Stick to the black notes, they’re cheaper…

Back to Normal

It would seem that the jammers have spread themselves all over the state, what with Castlemaine, Merimbula, Mornington and the rest.

So it was with a sense of coming back together that the stalwarts presented for the Gold Street Tea Roomes weekly bash once more.

The afternoon started innocently enough, with young Roger alternately sucking and blowing on his black satin finish medium sized saxophone. He looked positively Adonis like in his bebop with tight jeans. Of course, Adonis has been dead for around 2100 years, so it is not necessarily a good look after all.

Enough of the shenanigans, we all thought, and on with the ballad mangling.

Of which, although numbers were low, there was plenty to be had.

Jeff the pick of the saxes, Chloe and Susie singing, Brian providing a fine take on Georgia, the rest of us just mucking about really. A pleasantly relaxed jam session, nothing got broken, and nobody died.

Spiffin! See ya this week?

TW

Castlemaine done and dusted

The Fourth Annual Castlemaine Jazz Bash went off without a hitch. Several people commented on the generally higher standard of music this year, and at least two of us thought that the Criterion Hotel was the pick of the venues. Certainly heard some good music there.

This year’s Committee had its moments, and by the time the Festival opened there were only four or five of the original 12 members still standing. In the circumstances, a fine effort.

It was great to see the quirky Run Rabbit Run back and packed, the Church hosted some fine music, and the Old Castlemaine Gaol was pumping all weekend. I must confess I ran out of time and didn’t get to Faulder Watson or the Cumberland; and the policy of consolidating the performance spaces rather than using more outlying venues seems to have been well received.

Hetty Kate’s master classes were well attended and the Dinner Dance on Sunday night sold out. Phew!

And the bands? Loved the Jazzsisters, Tim Nelson Band got better and better, Nadira Farid was a smash, Stomperoo was fun, and on a personal note, it was gratifying to see Katerina Myskova and Joys Njambi both play to full houses.

Lots of Jammers played, or volunteered or both. A fun weekend.
TW

The Royal Standard Hotel: Fridays sorted

Last week saw a piping hot set from Joys Njambi, and this week we are featuring the late Miss Smith, and Jason Chalmers on sax: should be good!

Annie Smith with the Captain Chaos Quartet, The Royal Standard Hotel, 333 William St, 7.00pm to 9.30pm, Friday 16th June 2017

Castlemaine this weekend

It must be with a sense of relief that the Committee can finally sit back, relax and then panic all weekend at long last. The Fourth Annual Jazz Festival de Castlemaine kicks off on Friday evening, and keeps going all weekend. Eighty or Ninety bands, eight venues (or is it nine?), Vocals Masterclasses, a jazz parade, a supper club – there is more than enough to keep the most jaded jazzophile occupied.

And if you run out of ideas, I suggest you indulge in some vigorous warm-up calisthenics as the Big C is going to be cold as a witches t*t.

There will be bands from Queensland (stomperoo) and from Tasmania (Nadira F) and just about everywhere in between.

You can purchase a ticket (cash or card) on the day from the Ray Bradfield Room (it should be well signed), and there is a range of ticket choices: all day, evening, all weekend etc. etc. Children under 12 get in free, (children under 3 can get in for $250)

Hope to see you there!

The Leinster Jam: One last Hit Out

Wandered into the Gold Street Gossip Shop, to find very little going on. After a suitable period of sitting around the Lunatic Lounge doing nothing, we got up and got started. Many thanks to guitarist Ben for calling Wave, and expecting the piano to play the head, comp the rhythm and throw in the bass line for good measure.

At least things could only get better. They didn’t, and we lurched, staggered, dribbled and fell over any number of jazz standards – 22 desperates in search of the lost chord.

A coupla highlights: Vlad (guitar and purple hat) got a spot at the Royal Standard this week – with Joys’ Castlemaine band; and Banjo Joe, played some neat banjo finger pickin’ style, and then sang in an outrageous falsetto – apart from my just enjoying it, there was the additional amusement of seeing some of the more traditional folks choking on their beer. More please!

Phil contributed a lively set on keys – Dinah, Lulu’s Back in Town, and I think Bill Evans’ Waltz for Debby. for reasons that had escaped me by the time they finished. The six saxes were noisy in a good natured way, and the drummmers were, as ever, immaculately well behaved.

This week’s Jam will be run by pianist and singer Peter Garam. As ever when the more pretentious musos are away, the B team will step up and have a ball.

If you can’t make Castlemaine, the Leinster is a pretty good substitute.

Toodlepip!
TW

On Council Largesse, and why employing musicians is a bad idea…

One of the special joys of inner city living is lying in bed listening to the rumble and clatter of the garbos at about 6 o’clock in the morning.

The other one is getting the rates notice. It is about at this point that you realise you are not just lying in bed listening to the rumble and clatter of the garbos at about 6 o’clock in the morning – you are also paying for it.

And you may console yourself, humble jazz musician, with the thought that at least Councils are major employers of musicians – Stonnington, Yarra, COPP and others all have programmes of jazz, generally free.

We recently carried out a Feasibility Study for an all-day Jazz event in Melbourne. Great site, good location, lots of pluses. We did a survey of live music prices, and similar offerings elsewhere. We looked at higher priced bands as well as a volunteer/low cost model. Whichever way we cooked the books, the proposal would not, could not, stack up.

And the reason? All those “free” concerts, jazz in the park etc. etc., mean that no commercial operator will go near a jazz festival – unless there is a substantial grant of public money. And so we have the edifying spectacle of professional musicians bemoaning the lack of opportunity, whilst complaining about their lack of earnings, and trousering the Council pay that ensures there can be no other commercial opportunities.

Council largesse could kill the music scene.
TW

The Leinster Jam: flirting with Reality.

I am indebted to Captain Chaos for this opportunity to write a brief review of last Sunday’s jam session, for parts of which I was in attendance. I am advised by the Captain that there were 24 musicians turned up. Certainly the musicians I saw were of a pretty lively standard, with a smattering of new faces.

Tunes played probably included Summertime, Autumn Leaves and Georgia. Taariq is convinced he should have a dollar for each time they get played. He could be onto something.

There are now only two ways in which aspiring jammers tend to find us – Google and Word of Mouth, and examples of both were on display- we had new drummers, a trumpeter, hot pianist, and a couple of guitarists. And there were the usual 6 saxes in attendance. We have no idea what we would do without them, as they have never given us the chance to find out.

See ya Sunday?