The Jammers Bit

Perhaps the third busiest Jam Session since the Dizzy’s days: 29 musos, and a goodly crowd.

There were first timers, old hands, old friends returning, a reinvigorated Gentleman John Curtis, Sir Roger De Coverley’s disreputable descendant, POCKOTL, a drummer from New Zealand, and a heckofalot of St Kilda bright young things enjoying the sunshine, the music and an exotic range of Toby’s cocktails.

All in Mac, Fermin,Alan, Jeff, Carol. Debra Yemow Pete (hiding) and Gentleman John Curtis back to his best…

All of which boded well for the arvo’s entertainment, although its seemed to take for ever to get going. Good when it did and for an unprecedented two weeks in a row, the sound system worked, sort of, most of the time.

It was an entertaining afternoon’s moo, with two new singers, Kerry and Anthea ready for the off and sang well when they got up. Curtis was, however, first splash in the pool, and led a sprightly lot in some entertaining jazz standards before retiring, temporarily of course, in favour of strong drink and mild gossip.

Break it To Me Gently – Kerry singing and a Fermin solo

Music ranged from Carole King to Cole Porter, stopping quite a few stations in between. Bassists Pete and Ivan took turns in driving the whole lot, and mastered a couple of tunes without charts to misguide them – Break it To Me Gently (Kerry) and Your Heart is As Black as Night (Jess) . James was outstanding on drums.

Great to see Carol, on crutches, but back from the facelift or whatever it was – one of the singers who is both hip and groovy?

Later in the day, Guy (trumpet) and his keyboard mate who shall remain nameless, but only because I forgot to get his name, chimed in with Blue Bossa and a coupla bebop tunes to right the balance, Kay put up a lively One Note Samba, Route 66 and Masquerade,and then Gilbert and Yuko duetted for a finale, with the Debster doing the doo wops. Eventually, we got to pack up, then sat around gossiping . Perri was the last to leave.

John Bell, Captain, Gilbert, Kay and Yuko doing the doo wops, Guy and Yemow

So… Fermin probably the pick of them on the day with some bright guitar solo work. If we didn’t mention you by name it is probably because you were too young, good looking and talented and we didn’t like to ask.

Actually, the Post rocked for a coupla hours – a goodly effort all round.

Black Notes, people, they are cheaper…

The Next Jam Session

It will be at The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, Sunday December 1st. The penultimate Post session (for 2019 anyway). Get out ya dancin boots, let’s make this one a quietly confident little afternoon bearing in mind that the following week is the Jammers Annual End of Year Bash. Quiet? Confident? Fiddlesticks, should be a train wreck…

See ya there anyway?

The Jammers Annual Christmas Bash. Sunday 8th December – be there!

Yep, its that time of year when the jammers for the past year get together for one final lash before taking a break until mid January. We will be meeting for lunch at the Post at 1.00pm, on Sunday 15th December – and will start making the traditional festive Appalling Racket shortly thereafter.

For the Jammers, prizes will be awarded for such things as general silliness, special silliness, silliness under pressure, most promising new comer, most promising old comer, and the coveted Award for No Particular Reason.

Inverloch Jazz Festival news

E mail below, received from the Inverloch Committee – click on the link to get to their website. Inverloch has a well earned reputation as a friendly and well-run Festival – Jam session attendees playing at the Festival will include Roger Clark, Annie Smith, and a bunch of others. The Captain, meself, and Ivan the bass will be playing for Katerina Myskova

Hello all you jazz lovers,
I have attached some information about next year’s Inverloch Jazz Festival in the hope that it could be passed around to those who may be able to join us for some great jazz over the March long weekend in 2020.All the information jazz enthusiasts need is now on the Inverloch Jazz Festival website:  inverlochjazzfestival.com

Cheers,Carolyn Nield

Inverloch Jazz Festival Committee

The Newport Jazz Festival May 2nd and May 3rd, 2020

Bands: The Captain already has the first 15 bands signed up -and we are upping the ante to include at least 50 bands. Soon, we will be posting details of signed up bands on the website.

The Committee: the Debster is doing a great job as Secretary – who’da thought she would be that good. Julian (treasurer) is hitting his straps now we have some early payments coming in, and Col and I are going out lunch, only we call it marketing.

We are also looking for someone to join the Committee. Interested?

The Word – seems to be getting out. Yippee!

https://www.melbournejazzjammers.com.au/

And it is lunchtime again.. toodlepip!

Yippee! The Jam Session Update

The sheer bloody relief of having a sound system that works, and works well – after weeks of struggling to find enough positives in the sessions to outweigh the negatives… I got to the Post at around 3.45, having already been there in the morning for the sound set up. Well, it was a niceish sort of day, not much else to do, might as well drop in for the usual social lubricant, bit of a chat, that sort of thing…

The Captain looked somewhat ill at ease – turns out this was because he didn’t need to change a thing and already had 10 bucks on the outcome.

Started quiet as usual – couple of drummers (Alan Richards and Michael Findlay, Hussein and John Perri) and not too many bass players. That didn’t last long – we had Lisette for the opening stanza, Jess and Jane up for some vocals – and the whole damn shebang… at last… started to sound pretty good.

John Perri and Ivan

Photo by Michael Findlay

The regulars fronted – Jane, Yuko, Annie, Gilbert, on the tonsils, Alan , Laurie and Jeff joining Capt. Chaos on the saxophollicles (although Jeff switched to floot and played up a beauty), Fermin and Yemow on guitar, and relative newcomer John Bell on trumpet/flugelhorn.

Highlights of the day included:

  • Having a good time
  • Lisette Payet on keyboard
  • Great singing from seven different singers – I think Yuko shaded Susie for most improved, but they were all good.
  • John Bell (trumpet) starting to hit his straps.
  • A saxophone section kept busy all afternoon
  • The pub jumping, with a lot of family groups enjoying the music, and a packed sunny courtyard
  • Having more of a good time
  • Devon too busy in the kitchen to get out and sing
  • The bar staff clearly enjoying the music
  • Vlad winning a prize for most colourful jacket

25 musos on the day, all good – ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids!

Vlad and the famous coat…
John the trumpet, Jeff and Yuko

Another day, another donut

Yup, it all went tits up, pear shaped and quite possibly ass-about for starters. And after I had been given conflicting explanations by the several audio experts in out midst, I eventually left it as it is. Or isn’t.

When the Obergruppenfeuhrer gets out on day release, we may have words, but until then, we will perhaps rely on another sound system…

So… what of the jam – it took its time to get going, and we opened with no foldbacks through which we might have appreciated Jeff’s open blow all the more.

RT Hon Annie Smith

Annie getting ready to sing

Crowd-wise, this was a quieter afternoon than most – and paradoxically, so loud that we managed to empty the other half of the joint rather sooner than usual. Notwithstanding the muddy racket ( and to be fair the Captain got this under control in time, ) the afternoon was the usual mix of the sublime and the ridiculous.

The pearls among the swine had to include Nelson, who when he was allowed to go trio style played his heart out. Laurie, who seems to get mentioned a lot these days, stepped in with a lively rendition of Sugar. Yuko, who waited patiently, then sang a trio of standards for her equally patient friends. Japanese politeness.

Steve, Mr Hirsh, Michael “happysnaps” Findlay and the rather loud André played drums, The Captain, Jeff, Laurie and Alan saxed it up, Fermin and Emi(?) shared the guitar spot, Deborah picked a couple of standards – a version of Lullaby of Birdland so fast it didn’t put anyone to sleep.

Hirsh

Mr Hirsh, of carpet fame.

How long should each tune last? This came up in conversation – the average duration of a jazz standard generally runs between 4 and 6 minutes. (we measured this at Castlemaine jazz festival, and again one afternoon at the Junk) This leaves plenty of time for everyone to get a go – and runs to 40 tunes each session, which would make things ridiculously easy for the Captain. Of course, if you want to be selfish, egotistical, or both, you can extend the time per tune by any one of the following means.

· Play your instrument, loudly, whilst we are trying to do a sound check. This only works at the beginning of a session, and is incredibly helpful if the crew doing the set up actually feels like listening to you warming up. They don’t.

· Stand around chatting rather than starting the next tune. The audience (and other waiting musos ) absolutely love watching you chat. Amazingly interesting, and uses up a fair bit of time.

Kay

Welcome back! Kay with the best set of charts in town

· Solos: play one, two, or even three choruses, every opportunity you get. Particularly useful when you just get up any time you feel like. Extra points for playing over the singer, who has been waiting patiently for the last 90 minutes.

· Singers: Bring your entire book of charts up, stand at the microphone, and then start making your mind up about which chart to play. Then hand it out. Slowly. Then give the tempo by waving your hands about, a signal often interpreted by the hapless drummer as “any tempo you like, especially the wrong one” Then miss the 4, 8 16 and 32 bar intro before launching into the actual song.

Why do trios sound so much better?

Rarity value possibly. Actually, smaller ensembles (say drums and bass, singer or soloist, and piano or guitar) invariably sound better for a number of reasons:-

A simpler set up makes it more audible for the other musicians, as well as the audience

Shorter duration – and the consequent quality of solos, either vocal or instrumental.

Less is more – The phrase was originally attributed to Mies Van Der Rohe who, if he ever played an instrument , forgot to mention it.. He was a “minimalist” architect. Just like his buildings, stripping a tune back to the essentials is better than having way too many superfluous things….such as guitars, pianos, notes in a solo, more than one solo instrument at a time, or even an unnecessarily complex sound system.

At present, a typical line-up at the jam session is six or seven people and the record is twelve– way too many for producing good quality music, and often everyone seems to cancel each other out. Of course, the other side of the coin is that everyone has a good blow, and the racket can be appalling but in a fun way.
TW

The Newport Jazz Festival May 2nd and May3rd, 2020

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Website: We threw the damn thing in the water, to test it for leaks. There are a few, but Jess has done a great job so far. Register a Band! Pay an individual musician registration fee! Have a look at the venues (second page on the site) and see who gets their Band details/photos/whatever up first.

There will be ongoing edits of this as the information is updated.

for more info click here

Ah, it is lunchtime… toodlepip!

The Great Sound System Debacle continues (episode 23)

In recognition of what has now become an ongoing tradition, we have dedicated pretty much the whole review to the following debacle. Congratulations are due all round….

Step 1 Spent a pleasant hour or so in the morning not understanding the sound system as explained, patiently, by Mike, the all round ober gruppenfeuhrer Der Post, part time audio engineer and optimist in chief. Eventually the sound system of his dreams worked: signal through the mixing desk sitting on the amp we weren’t using (no one noticed until step 4 of Ensuing Debacle) to the ceiling mounted speakers, via the control panel behind the bar. Active speakers deployed as fold back, taking signal from the guitar amp, bass amp, piano and vocals via the mixer and feeding it to the singer/saxes, and to the piano/drums/bass.

No one notices the switched off amp/mixer and the two biggest EV speakers which are not connected anyway. And we couldn’t fully check the microphones but did notice that the output signals from the mics were not matched.

Step 2 of the Ensuing Debacle. Captain Chaos (now where have we heard that name before?) helpfully connected the Roland piano amp to the piano, thus managing to destroy the balance in the Obergruppenfeuhrer’s system. Quietly removed power and lead. No one noticed until step 3 of the ensuing debacle.

We started around 4 – ish with the sound system and foldbacks working better than ever. Questions remain over the microphones, some adjustment at the mixer, thereby further depleting the balance in the set up.

Step 3: Tits up and Pear shaped About 20 minutes later, the Obergruppenfeuhrer’s computerised system crashes, bringing down the secret computer panel in the cupboard and most other things in its wake. This causes the foldbacks to stop, err, folding back. The Captain converts one foldback to a fold forward as the overhead speakers had ceased emitting a signal due possibly to the aforementioned Step 3.

Step 4: Gimme Noise! Pianist points the other foldback at the pianist, thereby excluding the saxophones. He also elects to plug in the separate keyboard amp, as he can’t hear the foldback (which isn’t working). We need’nt worry about the singers, as by this stage, the microphones weren’t working either. Someone pushes the sliders on the mixing desk to max. Has no effect as the leads are feeding to Aux not Main.

Step 5: Noise Goes Up: Instrumentalists now elect to play louder as they can’t hear themselves or indeed anyone else in the foldbacks. As a result, the increased volume forces everyone else to shout .. at each other, at the bar staff, and at the top of their voices. So the sound goes up some more….

Step 6 : Switch the other speakers on: Captain Chaos is nearing end of his tether. In desperation, we switch on the Yamaha mixer amp, which powers up the two enormous EV’s with what remains of the balanced signal – although we successfully amplify the short comings in the microphones.

Outcome? Everyone happy, and a splendid afternoon ensued, proving that no sound system, however awful, can keep a good jammer down. Or as an alternative, no Jammers, however good, (and there were 25 of us) can fix a sound system up. Take your pick!

Honourable Mentions go to Laurie, sweet as ever, Alan the best of the saxes on the day, Marion for being properly audible, Aimee and the Captain for hot solos on You Are So Beautiful, and Aimee’s mum for staying on after Aimee had gone home. And to the Right Honourable Miss Annie Smith for singing so well, so late.
TW

The Newport Jazz Festival May 2nd and May3rd, 2020

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Website: It is lurching down the slipway as we speak. There will be ongoing edits of this as the information is updated.

https://www.melbournejazzjammers.com.au/

Band Bookings: Col has resumed sending out info to selected bands. Bands are starting to get interested, and we have even received several (uninvited) submissions, so word must be getting around.

Venues: We are booking two rooms at the Library/Newport Community Hub, two rooms at the Bowls Club, the Scout Hall next to the Bowls Club, and the RSL next to that (all on Market Street, Newport, and a drop punt from two big carparks.

Bands: We now have capacity for up to 53 bands – more than we originally envisaged.

Seems Like…Groundhog Day

– and are we doomed to repeat the same old shenanigans? Natch!. As if the sound set-up wasn’t complicated enough, it was totally and comprehensively cocked upwards by the time we started last Sunday. Simplicity compromised by the careful/careless removal of one cable. The power cable. Not that it mattered – no one quite knew which lead went where and what to do with it went it got there.

Which it didn’t, (get there, I mean – pay attention at the back.) For a while, we had no proper foldback, no sound to the courtyard or to the other side of the bar. Strangely, the occasional trio set up worked rather well…

By the end of a lively session, the Captain de Chaos opined that it had been a busy one all round. Even though we only had 24 musos get up on the day. It felt like more – possibly because by 5.00pm, the bar was the fullest we have ever seen it. Whoo Hoo!

So… we kicked off, carefree, or careless, whichever floats your boat, with a trio of songs from Yuko, and some instrumentals from Alan, Jeff and the Captain, including Alan’s original Josephine. Just a spiffin’ warm up, really.

Then the rhythm section (Steve B, Stan the Man and meself) settled to its task, and lifted its game with Ben Hooper on keys, and the long time no see Mihoko (saxophone). Carol and Jane threw in some (possibly Diana Krall influenced) ballads, the saxes continued to jump in, then the Debster sang the best set she has in ages. By which time, Ashley (60 and a bit) had crooned and departed. Then Darlene (D’Adelaide) wandered in on a whim, and scorched through a set, Devon d’Bar sang for the first time (Spooky, not bad at all) and Deborah discovered that not all songs are created equal. Vladimiro (it’s Italian for Vladimir) played harp. And I discovered that playing the melody for the singer on Desafinado, in a key other than the default Bb is, err…, theoretically straightforward. Or to put it another way, almost impossible.

Ah well, onward and upward, as the actress said to the… but I digress. Nelson took over bass duties, Agus sat in on keys and then a great duet between the Debster and Darlene – Autumn Leaves as it often does. Chantelle got up and sang – a bit wayward at first, but then good, followed by a gratifyingly neat session on drums. And Moondance for an all-in finale, with 10 musos getting up and creating a racket which could be variously described as appalling, miraculous,or just good. Just…

Props to first time tonsil artistes, Devon, Deborah and Darlene. Welcome back to Agus, Ben and Mihoko. I haven’t mentioned Mr Hirsh, esq, – or his recording studio.

We pulled stumps at near on 8.00pm. A good afternoon’s entertainment, but never mind, we can always cock it up next time.
TW

The Newport Jazz Festival 2nd & 3rd May 2020

Logo settled and should be on the letterhead soon.

Band Bookings: the first confirmations are coming in. We are inviting selected bands to register their interest first, then οἱ πολλοί (that includes me, and you, probably)

As a result of our recent straw poll. The bands you preferred were:

· Modal contemporary
· 14th Century plain song
· Everything in between
· Anything in a tent

And the keywords so far are:

· What?
· What, what, what?? (from a drummer) (in 3/4)
· Your Gas Bill has $742.23c owing (actually, we need to check the other side of that envelope)