Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: The Restaurant Experiment works again

An enjoyable Jam: second week in the Bistro, wandered in somewhat late and the set up went smoothly again… leaving us ready to start by, ooh, maybe 15 minutes late. Steve Bray set up the percussion, Fermin came early and set up the amps, closely followed by Neil. Only two pianists all day (meself and Malcolm) and Huich, alternately spelt Guichi excelled again. But a fine sunny day in tropical Kew promised a good crowd, and so it was, although not as many as we had hoped. The day was enlivened by a coupla new and returning musos, as well as a smattering of locals – Ben Stewart all class on guitar,

Jazz anyone? We kicked off with a few instrumentals from the Captain Chaos chart books whilst the room filled up, and followed this up with singers Debbie, Carol, Jane and later on the lads, Brian and Kev, as well as the late Miss Smith who went all modern on us with interesting results. Bacharach with his trademark 6/4 bar stuck in the middle of a 4/4 tune threw the lot of us. Jane could have sung a few more, but her selection of swing tunes was the liveliest part of the afternoon. Carol gets better and better.

Drummers to follow Steve included Bill Swannie, John Perri and later on Andre… he seems to have improved and played a decent set.

Train wrecks: probably the pick of them was Misty, with which we all struggled with a choice of tempos and the occasional dropped bar, in a key which may not have been Debbie’s first choice. Ah well, they are always fun anyway.

The audience dropped off noticeably as the afternoon wore on and we ended on a quiet note (it may have been F#, but I had left by then, so I can’t be sure.)

Teaser of the week: Some interesting discussions on possible future developments – stay tuned and we will bring this to you in due course.

Halls Gap Festival this weekend, the Captain, Curtis, Annie Smith and Jeff Harris will be there, amongst other Jammers. So the B Team will be taking over next Sunday 28th October. Always assuming there is a B team and it turns up.

And if anyone wants to help set up, feel free to turn up a bit early – see ya Sunday?

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: The Restaurant Experiment: Dodgy Dave’s bright idea

Greeted Dodgy Dave at the door – no one in the bar setting up, the Captain De Chaos upstairs perhaps?. Turned out Dodgy Dave had decided we should try transferring to the restaurant. There ensued some interesting furniture re-arrangement. Steve Bray was up for setting up the drums, we put down the Mike Hirsh Formal Carpet, and then managed to put the speakers at the back, the piano at the side, the Behringer foldback upstairs thankfully, and no one got in anyone’s way. Could this layout be a goer? we asked ourselves, which was just as well as there was no-one else to ask yet.

As it transpired, the sound was way better, the room worked a treat, and we had around 18 musos and a bit of audience type peeps to enjoy an afternoon of what we laughingly refer to as “jazz”.

Nice one Dodgy D! He may even advertise dinner and jazz next week – we shall see.

Only complaint received was one muso missing the foldback. Obviously all the others listen to each other and did just fine. Props to Steve, nice work from the Hirsh, on his carpet for the first time. Smooth set from Carol. Floot from Jeff, mammoth stint from Ivan, then Anton took over bass. Sweet contribution from Guichi (violin) and a bunch of others. 

If ya missed it, tough – but we will encore this week.

 Halls Gap Festival coming up next week 27th October – click on the “Jazz Festivals” tab for details

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: it gets like that, from time to time

Someone once observed that, even though all the jam sessions were essentially the same, how did I manage to write something different each week… the ensuing writers block eventually wore off.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that every jam session has its own special character… and there have been some very special characters over the course of the 480 or so reviews that have, miraculously, hopefully avoided the dreaded cliche.

Last Sunday’s jam was a classic of its type – no great musicianship perhaps (competence, as ever, well concealed as a kindness to others) but as enjoyable an afternoon as we have had in quite a while.

After the usual stumbling instrumentals, we got Debbie up to sing – she lit up the room as only Debbie can, in front of a crowd that included a good smattering of locals, some new musicians and the regulars in fine form.

The Captain set the mood with a coupla ballads, Sala the mystery drummer returned and played effortless latin rhythms, Fermin has been practising hard, and excelled himself with a fine rendition of his “go to” tune – Corcovado. Jeff reprised Out of Nowhere and Dave the Bass played with increasing confidence.

A brace of rather good first time singers (Jane, I think, and Bonnie) really lifted the standard. My Funny Valentine a standout. Do come again.

As the evening drew to a close, what made this session so enjoyable was the balance between ballads and charge-ahead bebop numbers – Straight No Chaser the pick of them. Variety is the spice of life, 481 identical reviews notwithstanding .

It gets like that, from time to time….

See ya Sunday?

Threat Identification Chart: A guide to musical instruments

Threat Identification Chart: A guide to musical instruments


Low flying saxophone. Do not pick one of these up, they are liable to explode and spray shattered egos everywhere


Incomplete drumkit. Complete drumkit is a mythical concept, apparently. Barely adequate for the average drummer, often ruined by the use of drumsticks. Extra carpet required for M Hirsh esq.


Eclectic guitar. This is perfect in every way, especially as it doesn’t have a lead.


Two handed piano. This instrument has 88 keys – a lot of choices, all of them wrong.

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: quiet, quite classy

At least to start with… Col and I diddled about setting up the gear, secretly hoping a drummer would turn up before we had to fiddle with the hardware (dodgy stools, missing butterfly nuts, enlarged carpet for the benefit of Mr Hirsh esq. etc etc.

The Drummers: Alan Richards turned up as soon as we had given up and bolted the infernal contraption together. So at least we had the pleasure of not getting in his way whilst he gave us baleful looks and re-assembled the kit to his liking. Hirsh was a no-show.

And away we went, instrumentals and not many people rolling through the door at first, but things got better, as they often do. Let’s face it, they couldn’t get much worse.

What ensued was a middle of the road affair, with Anton and Ivan on bass, only three saxophones at the front (welcome back Will!), Fermin and Vlad on guitars, a few singers and some very loud drums, pacified for a while by Bill Swannie and an exceptionally good drummer whose name remains a mystery. Hope he comes again., Alan and John Perri competing to do the best impersonation of Animal from the muppets, and the audience declaring it a draw.


In Summary: there were 17 musos (including tonsil artistes, ços they sulk otherwise)’, and Kevin’s mic working beautifully (only took me three weeks)

Guichi (violin) definitely the most improved, but also the most overwhelmed by the saxes, naughty lads.

Twas fun, but.

See ya Sunday?