Sunday Jazz : A day to remember…

Sitting at the winkle blue screen pondering the latest Session du Confiture, and what a noisy crowd there was… not all of them, it must be said, musicians – and that probably includes some of the musicians…

I must start by mentioning Marion, who I have managed to ignore completely for at least three jam sessions in a row… player of the most exotic recorder and self-deprecator extraordinaire. Whoops, sorry!

A goodly crew of musos turned out on what was the coldest June day since 1985 – we scored nine singers, six drummers, a standard complement of 4 saxophones and a busy, noisy, happy pub.

Image result for Dizzy Gillespie

. . . a trumpet player

Highlights of the session? A fine cameo from 7 year old Jenson on drums, becoming the youngest ever muso at a jam session. A wop bop a loo bop, the lad understands the finer points of whacking the skins- a lot of fun and a most composed young man – took years off the singer (Kay) and didn’t do Gentleman John’s composure much good – but whatever…Jenson will remember his debut for years to come, and we probably won’t forget it either.

. . . another drummer

. . . another drummer

Saxes oscillated between elegant solos, and playing too many notes for too many choruses. ‘Twas ever thus. The Captain easily the smoothest soloist there, Alan entertained us ( in Db fer Gawds sake) and Keef played the sweetest sounding clarinet. Jeff pulled out a raucous first set, then settled into some finer playing as the evening wore on.

Percussion: Welcome returns on drums from Mack, and from Hussein, who apparently has only just remembered he lives round the corner from the Post. Hope they come again. Sala, Knuckles Hirsh and top gun Alan R all played the Post drum kit with panache, finesse, an insouciant air… and drum sticks.

Singers: just the 9 of them – props to Jess and Yuko who are both already singing better than their teachers might believe possible, and to Briony who absolutely smashed a version of Misty. The Debster, Susie, Jane, Brian, Kay and young Annie (22 and a bit) all entertained as only the Debster, Susie, Jane, Brian, Kay and young Annie (22 and a bit more) can.

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. . . but no trumpeters!

And finally…The Post Hotel June 23rd Award for best Muso of the day must go to Pete Micevski, who returned after a lengthy absence and played better than ever – according to the several musos we asked…. welcome back.

It was a day to remember. See ya Sunday for another rowdy bash?

Sunday Jazz rattle the rafters at The Post Hotel …

Aaaand… the Castlemaine crew were back. They managed to avoid the usual exaggerated tales of musical exploits – but all played noticeably better, particularly Sala (drums). The session started somewhat late, due to a now regular re-arrangement of the cables, doodads, foldback, wotsit and thingummies. Hell, I hadn’t a clue what was going on.

The Captain, who else?

When we got started it turned into a pretty friendly affair, smooth changeovers and I am fairly sure everyone got a go. Highlight of the day was either David Lole kicking off on piano, or the Philippine mafia, junior division, under the tutelage of Alf Nicdao, consigliere or something. They were a talented bunch – Dorothy, Francis and Joshua waited patiently, then singer and drummer got up and acquitted themselves well.

Soxaphonists: Col, Alan, Laurie, Keef and Luis. As you know, Adolphe Sax, inventor of the sax, died in abject poverty in 1894. So total was his demise, that he never recovered from it. He also invented a six piston trombone, so things could have turned out a lot worse.

Drums: variously wrangled by Alan Richards, who puts the drum pedals back together every week, Sala Kord, philosopher and Persian emigré, young Joshua (or was it Francis?) who played way beyond his tender years and was rather good, and our resident bikie Knuckles Hirsh who is way beyond his tender years, but was also rather good.

Yodellers: a fine bit of warbling, all of which was enthusiastically received, from the Debster, Carol, Jane and Dorothy. Agatha Smythe (22 and a bit) arrived late as usual, but can be forgiven on the grounds that she sings. If she didn’t, well, who knows what might happen…?

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Guitar: Nice one, Fermin!

Pianists: David Lole played up a storm, the Debonair Curtis was so hot he shed his jacket (we returned it after we had checked for loose coin, incriminating evidence etc, of which it was disappointingly devoid). Finally, I managed to confirm that getting up at 4 am to write a programme for the upcoming Festival in Kew, before sitting in on a meeting with the Committee, before swallowing 16 antibiotic pills and completely cocking up the set-up, is not conducive to playing some semi sensible piano. Ah well…

See ya Sunday?

Sweet Ade at Open Studio

For those who might have been intrigued by my recorder playing at the occasional jam, you might want to check out my band, Sweet Ade. We’ll be at Open Studio, 204 High St., Northcote on Sunday, June 23, from 12.30-2.30 pm. 

The venue has a bar and serves excellent pancakes.  Entry $8/10. 

For those of you who haven’t heard the band, it’s a refreshingly different, 6 piece multi-instrumental  jazz band, playing an entertaining, eclectic repertoire.  It features a unique line-up of recorders, saxophones, clarinet, piano, washboard, drums, sousaphone, ukuleles, harmonica and vocals.  The musicians will be: Marion Lustig (recorders), Janet Arndt (vocals), Peter Mason (reeds, ukelele, vocals, harmonica), Ken Cowan (special guest on piano), Joe Kenyon (sousaphone) and Richard Opat (washboard, drums).

It would be great to see some of you there!

The B Team? Well, not entirely

By the time we had tracked down the speaker leads, missing box full of microphones, and devised some way of bolting the drum kit together, we could have been on to the C Team instead.

As it turned out, Laurie was the lone saxophonist, Serge lugged in his double bass, Fermin appeared clutching the trusty ‘tar and a giggle of singers sat patiently at the back…

Another good drummer…

Laurie fired the opening salvo, missed the target and swung up Comin Home Baby, in the non – funk version which seems to have taken on a life of its own as a starting pistol…He then played a neat instrumental set, getting deserved applause from the mob, even though some of them may have known a bit about music.

There being no drummers in the house, it fell to the two pianists (the debonair Mr Curtis and meself) to swap seats and pretend to be drumming. When in fact all we were doing was keeping a beat – (which is, occasionally, what real drummers do) whilst the rhythm section (Fermin, Serge on double bass and whoever on drums) did its thing, later enhanced by the addition of the Rev Kevin. At their own insistence they all played nicely together. Adrian took over on piano for a while – very nicely done too.

Warblers included Jane, Kevin who seemed a bit distracted, Jess on her second foray, Rose who was in the mood for some standards, and Carol the crooner. Jane made a surprisingly good drummer later in the day. Huich played a coupla sets on her violin.

The Post was packed when we started, wisely thinned out a bit, and then got down to some more serious drinking when we packed up. We ended with a version of Blue Monk so extended that we even played it backwards. And then packed up early..a smallish affair, but surprisingly civil, somewhat musical, and not, therefore, entirely in the B team tradition.

Next week, the Festivalisti may return. Oh joy! Bring charts, enthusiasm and performance anxiety if you must…and don’t believe a word they say.

Meanwhile, in sleepy ole Castlemaine…

The eponymous Jazz Festival done and dusted for another year. The following report was received from a bleary-eyed Captain Chaos.

The Captain’s View

The 6th Castlemaine Jazz festival was held over the long weekend. 46 bands participated in 5 venues to mostly appreciative audiences.

Many regular, past and occasional Jammers were amongst the performers. Malcolm Hornby, Jeff Harris, Peter Ryan, Sala Kord, Gill Sealby, Mac Beshai. Anthony Pell, Sebastian Jago, Mike Hirsh and Ade Ishs. Spotted amongst the audiences were Annie Smith and Lisette Payet. Volunteering his services as a door manager was Bill Swannie. Captain Chaos played, but forgot to include himself in the list.

The event ran smoothly but, with less than half the musicians in town compared to previous years, the festival overall lacked the dynamic atmosphere experienced in the past.

The Inside Goss.

The Captain’s view was one with which, in general, our local snout would concur. Highlights of the Festival included Maggie Jackson, remarkably, packing out the Maurocco Bar – standing room only by all accounts; and Meg Corson fronting the Goldfields Jazz Orchestra to a packed house at the Theatre Royal: both local performers doing well.

The Festival lacked that special “buzz” around the streets, by comparison with previous years. The feature band The Seven Ups could not possibly live up to the hype and didn’t, but showed a lot of energy, which would have pleased the younger crowd, had they turned up in droves. They didn’t. The whiteboard and jam sessions at the Cumberland finished early, with fewer musos. Remarkably, and depending on who tells you, the ticket sales were well up on previous years.

Ah well… a good turn out of Jammers from Melbourne. Well done all round.

It’s Cold, and vaguely Japanese, and the B Team to come…

There is a chill draught wafting through the spider webbed corridors of Bendigo Towers, world headquarters of the Jammers Newsletter and Daily Drivel. Winter is upon us, and the deadline approacheth.

So… what of last weeks Jamarama and Melody Mangling sesh, I hear you ask? Well, I don’t hear you ask ços this is a silent metaphor. We are saving up for the other sort.

Actually, it was all rather fun in a borrowed Mike’s PA kind of way, plenty of good singers, a host of saxophonisti, Laurie back from the brink of dental oblivion, the Captain, Jeff, Alan in a somewhat subdued mood, and just the one Spanish novelist (published, Luis tells me), with Julian on bass.

And then the arvo turned a bit Japanese: apart from Ayako who sensibly didn’t sing and her friend Yuiko, who sensibly did, there was Yûsuke on guitar, and Risa, easily this week’s star vocalist. And she hadn’t forgotten My Mother’s Son in Law, done at the usual breakneck speed. A fun toon.

Drums ably handled by Steve Bray, and Sala, Neil in fine form on guitar, followed of course by a tonsil chorus line – The Debster, Aimee, Annie, Alice (I think) and local Justin. 7 vocalists in total (plus Susie who dropped in later) made for a busy afternoon – well, Malcolm on piano and meself alternating were definitely kept busy.

And the Post was jumpin’! Pretty much a full house all afternoon – there is no doubt that the Jammers rise to the expectations of a crowd.

Next week, all the real musicians (according to them) will be off to Castlemaine or Merimbula for a weekend of strutting their stuff – which means the B team will be left to do their thing at the Post. Either no-one will turn up, or plenty will with the opportunity to play or sing a little more than usual. Could be a disaster of epic proportions.

Bring charts, enthusiasm and performance anxiety if you must…