The Missing Jam session review and the Madge Memoirs

It is with some concern that I realise that the newsletter won’t write itself. And silence from the erstwhile reliable Captain Chaos who was, as I understand it, a super star of the Port Fairy Jazz Festival, (last weekend) or a burnt out supernova or something in between.

Captain C has not therefore supplied any guidance as to the goings on or off at the Junk in his absence.


Madge, as it turned out, had offered to supply a suitable memoire in lieu. But ran out of paper and didn’t own a pen. Miss Hortense, as is often the case, was of no help either. If one or two of those upstanding denizens of West Altona don’t get crumpet for tea or sailors for supper there may be hell to pay.

Il Duce
Whatever happened to what’s his face?

Perhaps the readers of this august organ, (and you both know who you are), may care to make up a suitable jam session review for yourselves. Or perhaps if we take snippets of the usual drivel from the past 350 or so newsletters and paste them randomly together, we may concoct an account only marginally less coherent than usual.

Whatever. I shall be at the next jam session, at 4.00pm on Sunday 17th February, with jet lag. I look forward to seeing all six of the regulars/desperates there and hearing all your adventures.



51.3489° N, 1.9948° W until tomorrow

Wangaratta cancelled for 2019

The 2019 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues has been cancelled. This follows the resignation of co-artistic director Adam Simmons and before that the departure of long term festival managers, Nolan Media. Doubtless the $100,000 bail out of last year’s festival by the local council, though not disclosed at the time, was an indication of what was to come.

read more here . . .

IN RECESS: The Wangaratta Jazz Festival won't be held in 2019 after a ratepayer contribution of $100,000 saved the event last year.

Breaking News:

Wangaratta cancelled for 2019

Port Fairy Jazz next week

Not many lunatics at the Junk this week

First things first: Wangaratta Jazz Festival has been cancelled for this year.

Wang has been a bit of a fixture for the Melbourne Jazz Jammers for the last few years, with the jam sessions at the Bulls Head and at the market sessions, and a number of jammers playing on the Community stage over the years.

Breaking News: Port Fairy Jazz next week

Fri, 8 Feb 2019 – Sun, 10 Feb 2019

One wonders whether PFJ is becoming the new Wang – a huge number of bands playing, lots of Jammers making the trip and a great week-end all round. What’s not to like?

read more . . .


Breaking News: Not many lunatics at the Junk this week

According to the Captain… a very quiet session -possibly due to a very hot day last Sunday (41 deg C at 4.00pm). Malcolm the only keyboard player. Jeff, Will and the Captain on Saxophones, Salah, Steve and John Perry on Drums. Samara, Jane, Anne and Miriam (from Norway) vocalised. Pete on Bass and Vlad, Brian Paulusz and Neil on guitars.

Actually, that seems like a pretty good line–up to me. Brian Paulusz doesn’t come to the jams much but used to be a regular. Much improved going by his smooth session with Janet Arndt at the Ballarat AJC.

Samara used to sing in a duo, and is getting back into it. First time at a jam session.

Miriam from Norway is continuing the recent run of overseas contributors. One wonders where they hear of the Jam sessions from. We have had readers from 25 different countries in 2018.

Only the truly dedicated lunatics would front for a jam in 41 deg.c, and this session was a marvellous opportunity to find out who they were. I stayed home…. and missed this week’s highlight: Little Sunflower. I find the that a little hard to believe, but clearly John Perri’s latin drumming lifts even the most repetitive of tunes to a new level.

A mixed week of news, what with Wang, Port Fairy, and a quiet(ish) jam session. See ya soon.
not your (un)usual correspondent with assistance from the inimitable TW

The session on 20th January; an update with your name in it…

How did you score on last week’s template? We may have been inundated with email submissions. The glowing report from Captain Chaos has arrived in icy downtown Devizes and it seems most of you got it either right or wrong as usual. Or I did, whichever you prefer…

The session was remarkable for the number of international visitors: Alex from Germany (he was a star at the first Castlemaine Jazz Festival and well remembered) and Jeremy from France, who is here for a little longer and will hopefully front up again. Possibly. Ditto Yuseke (guitar) who is here from Japan to study English. And plays a mean guitar. In Japanese, but hey, who is counting?

All that and the regulars – Malcolm, Jeff, (sax) Pete and Dave (bass department) with contributions from Paul Phillips (drummer from way back) and late arrivals Will and Vlad.


The Captain doesn’t say if Jeff Harris sang, or danced on the table, or played a great version of When Sunny gets Blue, but we must assume anything is possible…

The Shame File:

Apparently Desafinado (João Gilberto) is a bossa,. Anyone listening to the jammers version would realise that the secret is quite safe…

Next week: will be an absolute ripper. I know this because I already have the Chaos files on the session. 24 musos! Phew!

Last week’s session: what a ripper

Wow, that came around quick. So…. twenty four musos fronted for a session de luxe at the Dodgy Dave’s Disco-rama and snack bar. Still ensconced in the Wltshire bleak midwinter, so I did’nt front – yet again. I am indebted to Captain Chaos for his summary.

The Drummers: Outdid the previous record of six drummers, although only just. Steve Bray, Hirsh, Bill Swannie (the regulars) joined by the likes of Alan Richards, Phunta (?) Michael Cameron and Anton’s mate. They were all good.

Keys: The usual Malcolm, Curtis the Debonair and Geoff (who is this month’s tip for most improved muso of 2019) as well as Jonathon Harvey, who I don’t know… must have ducked out for that one. As ever, the pianists were better looking, more intellectual and more modest than all the others.

Vocals: what a line-up! Carol, Jane, Brigid, the Debster, then Ann Hayres for afters.

The saxopholologists. Damn typewriter. After last week’s European invasion, just the Captain and Jeff H on the front line. Not sure what they played, but all spiffin’.

The stringy bits: Peter, Dave,and Anton on bass stringy bits, Neil, Yuseke and Fermin on twangly things. Rhythm Section the driving force behind the session – all the others are Prima Donnas. At least some of the time.

One more week for me in Pommieland, and then the Jammers Newsletter will once again feature reality.