Serious Jazz? Tits to that! (*)

Jam sessions in Melbourne come and go – we have lost count of how many have blossomed, flourished, faded and carked it. There should be a hotly contested prize for the serious session with the shortest life span… not that the Post would be hoisting the trophy, for at least two reasons.

The most likely explanation of the longevity of the Jam Sessions is that we have not yet got it right, do not know how to get it right, and have very little clue as to how to get it wrong, but keep trying.. Creative incompetence, BoJo (**) style, perhaps?

This week’s jam at St Kilda’s Post and Part Time Furniture Store (have you seen upstairs?) was, it could be said, on a downward trajectory – smaller than previous weeks, and musically a bit loose.

So… what, as the Curate (***) said, were the parts of it that were excellent?

The sound: just about as good as it gets. Captain Chaos has taking to adjusting the twiddly bits on the mixer, with, admittedly, disappointing results. In his heyday, the pub would have been burnt to the ground by now.

The fully engaged audience of punters, kids, hopefuls and lunatics. Most of whom, sensibly, huddle on the far side of the bar, although, to be fair, the Captain reckons that is the “sweet spot” sound wise.

The singers (fewer this week) who tend to get in the way of an extended saxophone/flute/clarinet solo from time to time. Accidentally of course, but much to the relief of the considerable number of friends they bring with them. The soloists generally arrive early and on their own. You may draw your own conclusions.

The big wind up at the end. Although not, perhaps, as good as the previous two weeks: Mustang Sally robustly and comprehensively explored. Are we going to keep the all-in smorgasbord finale of recent weeks going? We should, at least until we either cock it up, forget to do it, or accidentally play Little Sunflower (****) instead.

Mustang Sally : L-R Col,Alan, Vlad, Singer, Kay, Piers, Annie, (Malcolm) Michael, Octo
  • * “Serious Jazz? Tits to that” … a quote from one of the 322 ads we have put in Melband. We are not allowed to say that any more. Apparently “serious jazz” offends some people.
  • ** Obscure but on point reference to Boris.
  • *** The Curate’s Egg, as featured in Punch Magazine, November 9, 1895 . “Parts of it were excellent”. But of course, you knew that…
  • **** “ accidentally play Little Sunflower” : fondly remembered as the longest and dullest tune in the repertoire, this once went for an appalling 11 minutes at the Leinster. Several audience members had woken up by the time it finished.

Awards Night. Don’t be silly, there isn’t one, but if there was…

Best Violin; Huich – great solos.

Best Guitar: Octo – a bit of shredding going on, but in a tasteful way. Neil, Vlad and the Queenslander all needed more volume at times..

Best Saxophonist: Go on, sulk, the rest of you – Will was easily the best this week. Alan, Jeff, Col all placed well, and Calamatta had a hot solo in there somewhere.

Best Pianist: Malcolm managed to keep the vol at a sensible level, chose his organ sounds sparingly and appropriately, subtly drove the others to greater heights on Mustang Sally. And packed up afterwards – what’s not to like?

Best Bass: Pete and Slawie were their usual excellent selves, but it was great to see Piers back – clean bass lines, absolutely rock solid tempo.

Best Singer: This one was easy: there is no such thing as a best singer, they are all good, and if you don’t want your eyes scratched out, you will keep it that way.

So… 24 musos rocked up, mucked around a bit, and walked back out into the rain well chuffed. Not the greatest Jam Session ever, but a solid afternoon’s work all round. Train wreck next week, please, we have to maintain our usual standard (often referred to as “abysmal”).

See you Sunday?

Will and the Captain
The Andrews Sisters, possibly

Next Jam Session will be on Sunday 18th August, starting at 4.00pm

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street, St Kilda

You can park on St Kilda Road (Sunday, no restrictions). Public parking is available on Bath Street, just past the Hotel on Inkerman Street. Or catch a tram if they are running, or take a helicopter, land elsewhere and get an Uber. Or walk. Or take the bus, but fer gawdsake bring it back. Or come the next week instead.

All of them Good?

Quite what makes a jam session work is an enduring mystery, but if there is a pattern to these things, it may well be emerging. Another crap day, weather wise, no advertising in Melband, very few hits on the Newsletter due to a cock up at least partly of my own making, and this week comes after a huge session the week before, all of which generally presages a drop in numbers, a lessening of musical quality, and quite possibly a visit from Hortense, of whom, more later…

The Ensembleclip_image002[6]

Long story short, 25 musos turned up, the crowd in the bar were just as enthusiastic, fairly thirsty, and a few new/old faces dropped by. We started with four bass players (Dave T, Dave NN, Slawie and Pete. Pretty good session as a result … well, at least nothing got broken and nobody died.

Highlights? Jeff turned up with a dodgy Chinese knock off flute, that sounded rather good. Laurie soloed memorably on All Blues, and Alan, who gets better every week, was his usual affable self. Singers included Aggie Smith on gardening leave, Jess trying out new material, including I Get A Kick Out of You, which isn’t exactly new, but you get the drift; Aimee struggling with young Malcolm on the piano (a reggae beat on Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Really?); Nurul rocked it on Sway and All Blues, and a trio of newcomers on guitar, piano and vocals, all good but from which I only managed to get one email address, which I cannot read.. ..followed by Janine (God Bless The Child) and Nicole (Summertime) before a big wind up with an ensemble singing of Hit The Road Jack, which, eventually, we did.

In discussion with the Captain, we estimated over 50 musicians and singers have performed at the Post. How wrong could we be – 83 have been listed in the newsletter since we started on April 19th. Apart from early days, (such as no singers on May 17), numbers have been running at or above 25 on most weeks.

And all of them good… Hortense, who often makes a discreet appearance when numbers are down, has hardly been at all.

See you next week?

 

Total

Oncers Came again
Piano 13 7 6
Sax 10 4 6
Guitar 10 5 5
Bass 7 2 5
Drums 12 4 8
Other 4 2 2
Singer 27 9 18

And all of them good… Hortense, who often makes a discreet appearance when numbers are down, has hardly been at all.

Steve on drums, hot guitarclip_image002

See you next week?
TW

Next Jam this Sunday 4.00pm at the Post Hotel

http://stkildapost.com.au/

There is parking off Inkerman, in Bath Street (same side as Post Hotel). Tram 3/3a or 67 down St Kilda Road from the City.

New Jammers venue: The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street

You can park on St Kilda Road (Sunday, no restrictions). Public parking is available on Bath Street, just past the Hotel on Inkerman Street. Or catch a tram if they are running, or take a helicopter, land elsewhere and get an Uber. Or walk. Or take the bus, but fer gawdsake bring it back. Or come the next week instead. Bring the spouse. Collect double points if it is someone else’s.

Stuff Me, that was a good One!

A few stats and dot points for starters:

  • This was the third week in a row that we have cracked 25 musos. Stop mucking about, Captain Chaos is exhausted.

  • The finale for this session was a cracking Santana number, followed by “Moondance” with 12 musos up at once. Equals our biggest ever line-up. They couldn’t see the folks on the other side of the Bar, dancing…

  • If you count young Grace bopping away, it actually exceeds our biggest line-up. Grace is all of three which makes her our second youngest performer. Marley still the youngest, by a short head.

  • This week saw the smallest line-up of saxophonists for ages. Well, Jeff isn’t that small, and neither is Alan. The Captain is at least medium but you get the drift.. Come to think of it, Jeff didn’t even play his sax, only floot…Those boys had a ball, and played damn well.

  • The Captain, mortified by last week’s rhythm section taking the piss, launched into a spirited rendition of “Four” again. One of the other saxophonists scored it a 3.5. Those boys are savage on each other.

  • While the musos were playing, we “worked the room”, and gave out around 50 of the new cards. Happy little audience – we reckoned there were 80+ peeps in the bar.

  • Special mention for Kevin, who sang one of the hardest ballads going around – “Lush Life” by Billy Strayhorn. Slawie (bass) and I aged several years in the process, but it all hung together. Bravo.

  • Nicole was a first timer, jumping in on the spur of the moment. One of the best to date – Summertime and Fly Me To the Moon fairly standard offerings, but sung beautifully – please come again.

  • 82% of Annie rocked the joint to finish. The other 18% is replacement parts. Indestructible but not, it would seem, irreplaceable. Little does she know we use her as an example of how to sing, entertain, engage an audience and control a band. Quite often, she is a good example.

  • We haven’t even mentioned Kay, Jane, Yuko, Brian, Susie, Malcolm, John Curtis, Peter Garam, Lisette, Pete, Ivan and Eiji ace bassists, Neil (best guitar in ages) , Alan Richards, Steve Bray, Hussein, Andre, and Jane’s mate from Cairns. You were all spiffin’, mostly, so we won’t mention you now….

  • Jane is off to the USA, and has promised to send us all a postcard. She has also promised to forget to post it. Have a great trip…

  • Finally, we had more people than ever come up and say how much they were enjoying the music at The Post. We also had the first negative comment, so let’s not get too excited.

The Wrap: A really, really good session. Positively noisy at times, and increasingly crowded. There seem to be more people coming specifically because of the live music. Several punters thought “the band” was tight and very professional – not realising that this was a walk-up assembly of a motley crew of musos, none of whom take it too seriously, spurred on by a dedicated audience of regulars who should know better, but care not to.

See you next week? Could be a train wreck? Could be good? Ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids!

Next Jam Session will be on Sunday 4th August, starting at 4.00pm

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street, St Kilda

You can park on St Kilda Road (Sunday, no restrictions). Public parking is available on Bath Street, just past the Hotel on Inkerman Street. Or catch a tram if they are running, or take a helicopter, land elsewhere and get an Uber. Or walk. Or take the bus, but fer gawdsake bring it back. Or come the next week instead. Or as well..

The Castlemaine Jam

And it don’t come in jars. The Maurocco Bar rocks this Sunday 4th August. The Maurocco was opposite the railway station last time I went, and I would be surprised it they have moved it since. 2.00pm start and a good time guaranteed.