For Heavens Sake!

For Heaven’s sake

Yet another PA setup to contend with – and this time not in a good way. Of the 25 or so people who commented on it, not one person liked it. The likely cause was a desire to see the Inkerman Room used a bit more -possibly because the Post Hotel is getting increasingly crowded on a Sunday afternoon. Sadly, this didn’t work, and in the meantime there was nowhere for anyone to sit other than propped at the bar.

The Inkerman Room at 5.30

All of which should have led to an appalling jam session. It didn’t…. in fact we listed 28 musos and singers as getting up and boogeying in spite of it all. And the bar stayed crowded all afternoon. Soundwise, this set up wasn’t great, but Col, Laurie and Jeff on saxophones rose above it, ably led by Mr Clark, who only got lost once and the rest of the time was great.

Ian Nicholson (guitar) played with Breakout. (Col, Malcolm, Stan and Steve) playing a Peter Ryan number in his honour.

Fermin (guitar) aced a solo or two, Vlad ditto,

Newcomers Liam and Chantelle took over drums from the aforementioned Steve Bray and Michael “snapper” Findlay. Alex towards the end. Liam struggled until he got the sound levels right, then fitted right in, Chantelle was impressive from the get-go.

Bass players were a fine lot – Dave for starters, Piers and Ivan (loved the Classical music gig all black outfit) in the middle, and Stan Van Hooft later on – Stan playing more fluently than he used to.

The band in this week’s layout: Adrian, Kay, Roger, Jeff, Dave No Nickname and Peter Garam out of view

Singers started well and got rowdier as the evening wore on – Yuko for starters had every body toe tapping to Beyond The Sea, Kay to follow, then Aimee, Kevin and Susie (“Black Coffee”) culminating in Gilbert (“My Way”) . And then they all got up for Route 66 – an inspired if slightly traditional choice by Kay. Guy (tpt) soloed, and we forgot to mention Marion. Oh, alright, nice recorder solos on a coupla toons. 

John (Alex’s dad) played us out with some nice half stride, and we all went home well sated. Except for the basket of chips. They were salted

My picks for the week: this ended up a very satisfying session – made all the better by the improvers – Dave (obviously), Kay who sang at her best for weeks, and Marion.

And Captain Chaos reckons Aimee sang the best she ever has. I would agree…

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 29th September 4.00pm start. Should be fun – get there early and help move the PA around; order extra chips and we’ll help you eat them. Complain bitterly at the bar if the Budvar hasn’t been restocked.

The Newport Jazz Fest – incremental progress or bratwurst. You decide.

I recently looked up the reports on the early stages of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival. The first effort mentioned that we were going to shoot for 30 bands. Woohoo! A month later this had blown out to 40 bands. Rash promises. The festival opened with 58 bands.

With that in mind, our opening salvo of 40 bands seemed pretty reasonable, n’est ce pas?

Venues: We met with the Junction Hotel – big space (big enough for a big band and then some) and the beer garden at the back. Waiting to hear back from the lovely Fleur.

Then a coffee at Leroy’s Cafe – best location of the lot, should be great for a four piece, a coffee and a light lunch. Again, waiting for confirmation

Still waiting for confirmation on the Scout Hall – their motto? Be prepared. Except wen it comes to answering the phone.

The Date: Hold the Festival at Newport on May 2nd, May 3rd 2020: confirmed We haven’t changed this date for several weeks. Good grief!

The Bands: Book 40 – 50 bands who are prepared to volunteer their services in return for an equal share of any surplus made. Cynics may feel that making a loss would cut out a lot of paperwork, but we wouldn’t think like that, would we?

The Web Site Jess has just a few t’s to cross, then we will launch.

Jess: website guru by day, singer by inclination

The Logo: still not designed, for heaven’s sake. Should be here soon.

The Esteemed Editor: is back from swanning around Europe, Breakfast in Hamburg, if it is Thursday this must be Berlin and bratwurst , you get the drift.. Jetlagged, he is now swanning around in Point Lonsdale or something. We should have him back in the stocks any day now, and there is no point in apologising about all the e-mail addresses that haven’t been added to the list, because this is an arcane and editorial process to which the Extra 3B Copyboy is not privy.

No more tea for me, Mama – I’m going to fly my aeroplane.”

Vale

Peter Ryan, Guitarist with Breakout

Peter first started coming to the Jam Sessions way back when, at the Royal Standard and the Leinster Arms. He was an occasional visitor rather than a regular. I did not know him outside the sphere of his musical activities. We recorded in 2011 with Julie Stewart and Brae Grimes at the ABC Studios, and we saw him play with Breakout in 2016 at the Castlemaine Jazz Festival. As ever, Peter put on a bit of a show.

He had a strut and a swagger when playing, which he would then ruin by grinning impishly to show he didn’t take himself too seriously – indeed, he had a dry and cynical sense of humour. The last time he played at a jam session it was obvious his time with Breakout, or his retirement from teaching, or both, had enabled him to develop his guitar playing to a considerable degree.

After a short illness, Peter died last Wednesday, with his family at his bedside. He will be missed by the Jammers. We rather liked him. I think most people did.

Madge and Hortense, the Festival, and then…

Madge and Hortense: Another Load of Codswallop

I was talking to Madge from Altona the other day. Well, not so much talking as communing with nature whilst Madge eyeballed the seagulls. They tend to drop in on Refinery Terrace en route from the municipal tip to the fish and chip shop, perpetually hungry and squawking a lot.

Speaking of Hortense, she has taken to wearing a spectacular Philipino straw boater and a stupefied grin.. Quite where she got them remains a mystery, but the words startled, matelot and fishin’ spring to mind. Cods have been walloped all over Altona West ever since. So… neither Madge nor Hortense were at the Jam Session last week. Seems St Kilda is a bit too posh these days, and anyway, Hortense is no longer in the business…

Which left a desultory collection at The Post of four musos at 4.00pm sharp, By recently established tradition , this was a good 15 minutes before we started. Would anyone turn up? Seems they would and by evening we had 25 musos up and jumping. Rather satisfying, as almost all of them were more than passably tuneful.

Highlights of the day included a welcome return by pianist Adrian, no less than seven saxophonists, but they mostly kept themselves nice. Alan West’s Josephine is becoming a bit of a favourite, and nobody knows why. The two bassists, Dave and Ivan both played rather well. Dave grows more irascibly eccentric as his bass lines develop, and Ivan is back to his jazz best, after a spell under the weather.

Tonsil artistes included Kay, Jane, Yuko, Brian, the Debster and Carol, with Gilbert to finish. Jane, ever the Krall aficionado, essayed I Love Being Here with You to good effect, followed by Yuko’s take on My Funny Valentine, with Guy on tpt. The evening concluded with a rousing version of Mustang Sally, led by Gilbert, with Yuko on bv’s and a fullish complement of Saxophoneurs, still keeping them selves nice. The Captain spun it out to 8.05

Spiffin’.sesh after all.

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 22nd September 4.00pm start. Should be funthere will be prizes!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it The Newport Jazz Fest?

The latter, quite possibly. Another busy week cruising the western burbs looking for more venues, and angst among the committee on a name that cannot be confused with the Rhode Island Newport Jazz Festival.

The Date: Hold the Festival at Newport on May 2nd, May 3rd 2020: confirmed

The Venues Use 5, maybe 6 venues including the Newport Library/.Community Centre, The Newport Bowls Club, the Newport RSL, confirmed, the Scout Hall (still a maybe) Now looking at the Hotel and Leroy’s coffee shop.

The Bands: Book 40 – 50 bands who are prepared to volunteer their services in return for an equal share of any surplus made. Cynics may feel that making a loss would cut out a lot of paperwork, but we wouldn’t think like that, would we?

The Web Site Jess (the singer ) is preparing a red hot web site. We are proposing to transfer the Newsletter and such recipients as are interested to the website.

The Facebook page: this is the Melbourne Jazz Jammers Facebook page, which is so old it almost predates Mark Zuckerberg (I wish somebody would). It has undergone a major spring clean and will soon feature more dodgy videos of the Jam Sessions, starring err… you?

Check it out on https://www.facebook.com/groups/83551088146/

The Committee remains keen, the venues are keen, the Council is keen. What could possibly go wrong?

Stay tuned to find out!

Q and A -some questions, new Festival Details, and few answers

Twenty Eight? Musos, that is, making this the second busiest Jam Session since 2008. Apart from Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Titch (60’s popster nerds get on down) who might have been there, Uncle Tom Cobley and all who weren’t there, and Kylie Minogue who could have been there but her people didn’t confirm, there was a record number of Japanese there, a record number of singers (10), a record number of baritone saxes (2) and even the lights were smokin’. And not a bad session, to boot…

And not a bad session, to boot

Singers: Jane, Carol and Kay early starters, with John Curtis on keys having way too much fun. Kay even forgot to sing One Note Samba as a swing tune, or some perfectly good Lennon McCartney classic as a bossa. And sounded all the better for it.

one note samba: the official chart

Jess (see the Other Newport below) sang a brief set of three, Yuko swung it, Aimee treated her friends to a complete re-ordering of the form on at least two songs, but with her trademark warm tone; Kev ducked into the Captain’s take on Besame Mucho, and Brian stuck resolutely to the blues – not that we minded, he sounded pretty good. As the arvo wore on, Gilbert got up (“I like to sing Sinatra songs”) and duly sang Sinatra songs including asking for a switch in keys in the middle of Fly Me To The Moon. I can honestly claim cock-up of the day on that one (“What, again?”) and Malcolm closed it all out by accompanying Brisbane singer Leena Salim on Girl From Ipanema, followed by Fever. And a good version of Moondance heavily obliterated by having too many soloists all at once. Probably having three singers (Susie joined Leena and Kay on that one) didn’t help either.. John got up for the epilogue. Sweet.

New Bari: Who’s a lucky boy? Jeff tried out his shiny new bari, and it has to said, we couldn’t keep him off it – but it sounded pretty damn good. Laurie probably a tad smoother on his used-to-be shiny silver Bari.

Bass lines: Piers grooved along, Dave stretched out on Brian’s blues, Eiji the pick on his stick, with Yuko and others, Anton funking it up (but gently) at the end.

Guitar: Fermin back for a hit out, all the way from the cultural backwater of Kew. Good to see him again.

Drums: Larry for starters, Steve, Alan all good, Alex back for a second hit, Michael Findlay in the groove.

Q and A Given the numbers, the Captain did well to get everyone (well almost everyone) up for a play or a yodel. Will the layout change next week? Why stop now?, although the sound was adjudged as a bit muddy by those that know. Are we approaching full house on the Jams? Can we cock it up enough to avert that crisis? Of course we can!

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman,this Sunday 15th September 4.00pm start. Do hope you can make it!

And what of the Jazz Festival – ?

A Brief history and a new venue

We started planning the Castlemaine Jazz Festival in February 2013. After a false start in Maldon, it saw the light of day in June 2014, after John Hannah had got on board. I only mention this because that now looks like lightning quick progress. We first proposed a Jazz Festival in Kew in 2018. The idea was that this would provide an opportunity for some jammers to get involved, and it would attract Melbourne based bands, including those who would find the cost of the various country town Festivals as prohibitive. A trip to Wangaratta or Castlemaine costs around $400 by the time you stop drinking, eating, carousing etc.

The Junction Hotel. Our first fiasco was the idea of using three performance rooms in the Junction, hosting 24 -28 bands over two days. Heaps of careful planning went into this, only we forgot to factor in the Junk going broke in April 2018. At which point we approached Studley Park Boathouse, (great venue, no time available) and then Kew Junction Business Association (funded by Boroondarah Council with a mission to promote the High Street business district).. All we asked of them was that they supply the venues from their membership. We held positive discussions with both Hellenic Republic and QPO on High Street, only to have both venues propose a venue hire fee in addition to the free music and up to 500 people a day we would put in there.

Their room hire fee of $100 per musician for the Festival ($18,000) was either ludicrous, excessively greedy, unrealistic or a really good idea if you owned a venue and weren’t a musician. If we had that sort of money, we could have booked out Paris Cat and Birds Basement simultaneously.

Back to the drawing board… two hours later, the Captain came up with an alternative:

The “Other” Newport Jazz Festival. In the other Newport which is a little cultural hot spot just before you get to Williamstown.

So… the plan is:

The Date: Hold the Festival at Newport on May 2nd, May 3rd 2020

The Venues Use 5, maybe 6 venues including the Newport Library/.Community Centre, The Newport Bowls Club, the Newport RSL, and the Scout Hall (maybe)

The Bands: Book 40 – 50 bands who are prepared to volunteer their services in return for an equal share of any surplus made.

The Web Site Jess (the singer) is preparing a red hot web site. We are proposing to transfer the Newsletter and such recipients on th e-mail as are interested to the website.

The Committee are keen, the venues are keen, the Council is keen. What could possibly go wrong?

Stay tuned to find out!

The Captain Does a Runner

Well, not really, but he and Malcolm spent the afternoon in a tin shearing shed up the bush, listening to the rain. For reasons which escape me. The barest rump of a Jam Session in their absence: an afternoon with only one saxophonist, no drumsticks and, for a while, no drummer, (see the big secret below.) other than the estimable John Curtis who sat in and made do before a goodly session on keys.  – and yet, the afternoon had much to commend it.

Bass for starters: Dave NN repeated his stint as a more than competent bass player, this time driving the rhythm section nicely, followed by Piers who did much the same. And followed by Anton who we all know is good.

Saxophones: Laurie fronted with his Baritone, and played out of his skin all afternoon -one of the best sax sessions we have had at the Post.

Guitar: Just as well we were all on our best behaviour, because next up was Ray “lounge” Hood, who has embarked on another of his world tours (the Lounge Lizard and Annique at La Niche). Usual ridiculously good standard of music, although in the interests of accuracy (hah! Who would be interested in that?) we should mention that Annique had a first class go at blowing up the PA . Props to Dan for fixing it. Fermin, (Dindi) for the first time in a while, got up to take over the guitar department. Quite like old times at the Junk..

Recorder. Marion, but by that time we had settled to a groove and couldn’t be arsed to play some obscure bebop number, obliging her to play All of Me, and a bunch of other toons… con gusto….

Rose, Marion on recorder

Drums: Great to see John and Alex, not sighted since the Laika Bar days. Alex played drums, properly, for the first time all arvo..(See below for the big secret…). Later on Mack and then Andre took turns on the drums. (see also below for the Big Secret)

Singers? What Singers?. I haven’t mentioned the singers – they are all too shy and modest to be mentioned anyway, other than Kay, Aimee, Rose, Deb, Yuko, Jane, and Annique. Despite our best efforts, they dominated the afternoon, and mighty fine they were too.

Debs on the turps, a happy bar

The Big Secret Curiously, people kept commenting all afternoon on how good the three drummers were, (Mack, Alex and Andre) and how they weren’t making too much noise. It wasn’t until we were packing up that we realised there had been no cymbals, no snare, one ride – we will never get away with that again, but they were good…

Finally, props to Kay who wrangled the musos nicely – might get her to do that again. . We called stumps due to fading light somewhat after 7.30, at which point we all went home older, but none the wiser.

It had been a good afternoon – see you next week?

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 8th September 4.00pm start. This is going to be a special session as we will be announcing details of the Jazz Festival to be….possibly.

The Natural Laws and Principles of Ye Jamme Session

Like all other slightly deviant activities in the  universe, or the back bar, whichever you happen to be in at the time, the Melbourne (*) Jam Sessions are subject to immutable laws, generally empirically derived, and only clarified by the third or fourth round of drinks.

ABILITY  The Inverse Law of competence: This states that the amount of time taken to set up and start playing your instrument is inversely proportional to the level of competence subsequently displayed.

IMPROVISATION: The Law of Improvisation states that the number of notes played per nano second is often a clear indication of the complete lack of creativity in any given solo. Or of a devotion to late stage middle age be-bop fixation, which is much the same thing.

SOUND LEVELS: This law states that the louder you play, the better it will sound. It is a crap law, but does appear to have widespread support.

COMPLEXITY: The Law of Complexity states that complex tunes and/or arrangements, must generally be attempted by people deeply unable to master them, and deeply unable to appreciate that they remain un-mastered.. This Law of Complexity is often enhanced by the attemptee indulging in long explanations to other players of the form, intro, outro, key, fifth page repeated three times etc. etc. This leads to the Law of Perplexity

THE LAW OF PERPLEXITY: This states that the extent to which any given musician could not give a rats posterior about the long winded explanation (see above) is exactly proportional to the relative ability of that player vis a vis the attemptee (see above again…)

THE GADGETS PRINCIPLE: The Gadgets Principle is that the number of gadgets required by a musician multiplied by the number of minutes required to connect said gadgets, divided by the number of tunes that could have been played in the time taken to rummage around for all the gadgets in the first place, then added to the the number of musicians standing around waiting for gadget connecting sequence to be completed… is errmm… a very silly number indeed.

THE COOLNESS QUOTIENT: This quotient can be derived by dividing your age by the number of years spent in studying jazz,. If the answer is between 7 and infinity, you need to stay out of the sun, acquire black clothes, a pork pie hat, a supercilious sneer, thick rimmed spectacles and a goatee beard. If female, you can skip the pork pie hat.

If your answer is below 7, you rock, Dude, probably own at least one tee shirt with no writing on it, prefer vinyl to CD, know someone who knows someone who has heard of you but never met, and have travelled extensively in third world countries such as Carlton North and Abbotsford.

Footnote
Melbourne (Australia) is not known as the cultural capital of the South for nothing. It is a city of around 5 million people,  who all wear black, know where the best coffee in Melbourne is, and voted for someone else at the last election, so cannot be held responsible…