The Biggest Bash… ever

The Christmas Bash: so that was that – or was it?

Lunch. Well, why not? A few hardy souls foregathered for lunch at The Post: among them De Coverley the cad and a few friends (Larry, Doug, Laurie and Cath Connor et al), along with Yuko, The Captain, and a gradual assemblage of Jeff, Ivan, Gilbert, meself, and a bunch of others…. Lunch was pretty good.

Started the music with a fine foursome – the aforementioned bounder and his mates, and some rather good jazz, whilst the rest of us sucked on wagyu beef burgers, chips and reminiscences for a while Not many peeps at this stage and it really seemed as though the 2.00pm start would be a fizzer.

Aimee sings, Anton on bass

Which, of course, it wasn’t. This was the biggest Jam Session we have ever had – bigger than we could remember at Dizzy’s, bigger than the seven sax blowout at Ramages, bigger than the Captain’s birthday party at the Leinster.

How big, you ask? Well I can’t hear you not ask, but the answer is 45 musicians., all of whom got to play over the ensuing six hours. And when you factor in two who turned up but didn’t play (Rose and Bruce – sorry chaps), as well as those who were elsewhere engaged (Malcolm, Carol , Aggie the Gardener – you were missed) we were lucky to get away with it.

John Calamatta, the Maltese maestro, smooth as ever

All the drummers who didn’t turn up are in discgrace, because at one stage, I had to slap the skins so badly that Larry kindly got up from his rest and resumed.

So… a fine afternoon, fine music, and great company. Who should we pick out as particularly culpable?

Jeff played some of the sweetest saxophone he has in ages.

Sir Roger De Coverley easily topped the charts for most solos.

Gilbert turned up earlier than ever before, and sang with gusto.

The Debonair Mr Curtis was as elegant as ever.

Jane knocked up a fine set (actually, better than fine).

The Captain declined a solo on When Sunny Gets Blue, but then aced it anyway,.

Jack Morris sang for the third time in living memory,

Jack: he is singing

Dave NN the bass turned up for the first time in ages, as did guitar ace Ben Stewart, Ash de Wang sang…

…and the rest of you must remain unmentioned, because either you were unmentionable, or American, or excellent, or both, or because I have run out of superlatives, vituperatives, adjectives and inclination. But what a great afternoon that turned out to be!

Prizes, and the year in review

There are no prizes, but if there were, we would be awarding them to… (drum roll)

Malcolm for turning up late every week, playing better and better, and staying back to help the pack up. Gentleman JC for setting a standard to which we aspire.

The Rhythm section for driving the whole damn shebang. Ivan, Pete, Alan, Steve, Mike (x2), Bill, Mac, Hussein, and all the others: great job!

John Perri: for starting to drive the Rhythm section really well: much appreciated.

Annie Smith: for most nicknames in a year. Oh, alright, she sings rather well as well.

Alan West: for being a soothing influence on us all, and playing damn well as well.

The 120 + musicians who have played at the Post since April 2019. You know it has been a good year.

The Staff at the Post: Mike’s crew is constantly changing, but Devon, Mel, Adam, and Toby all stick in the mind. Some Jammers will be aware of how much they enjoy the jazz. Props to Mike for putting up with us.

Just when you thought – that is it for another year – or is it???

We are holding an unofficial, supernumerary Jazz Jam Session this coming Sunday 15th December, at the Post Hotel as usual, from 4.00pm until whenever – to which you are invited, and at which you may play or sing whatever the hell you feel like. Yuko’s parents are coming from Japan for this one. Annie will be there. Captain Chaos may be there, or not, or may be a newly signed up Collingwood supporter, as the mood takes him. Plenty of regulars have said they will come too.

Update: The Newport Jazz Festival May 2nd and May3rd, 2020

Bands: We now have over 25 bands signed up – and it looks like 50 may not be pie in the sky.

The Committee: rolls from hiccup to hiccup: this week saw Deb unwell, the Captain contemplating eye surgery, Julian retiring. We desperately (or not so desperately) seeking someone to take up the reins on the roles of Treasurer and Marketing guru.

The Website hasn’t crashed yet! God knows I’ve tried, but it looks increasingly likely that it will still be working when Jess gets back from the UK.

Check it out:-

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

Just in Time for Christmas: music suppliers:

Looking for that last minute present idea, or just got a saxophone with a busted reed?

Dropped that microphone once too often, or sound like a bullfrog singing through a bowl of soup?

Gone twang when ya bass should have gone boink?

South Melbourne is blessed with a fine array of music related shops – and we have picked three of them that Jammers have used in the past – they might be worth a visit. Mention the Jazz Jammers and let them know we will be asking for support come May 2nd and 3rd- Festival time.

The Music Place: 339 Clarendon Street, practically an institution, a specialist shop for brass and wind players, once owned by David Temby, passed through the capable hands of Brett Willis, and now has a young, enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff offering a range of services for saxophonisti, il trumpettore and other musos of that ilk or similar.

The Music Place are past sponsors of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival.

The shop has had a makeover, there is still a goodly display of a wide range of instruments, John Coltrane (actually it might just have been someone who thought they were John Coltrane) was trying out stuff last time I was there – and the staff seem to encourage that sort of thing…

Bass Centre: 173 Park Street. A short stroll from the Music Place, a specialist shop for bass players and their like. Get past the fairly modest exterior, and you will be visually assaulted by all things bass – axes hanging on the walls, boxes on the floor waiting for shipment – the place is fairly buzzing, and has been for 30 years. This one comes recommended by bass players in the know – and the staff modestly claim to be the best bass centre in Australia, although there used to be a shop near Fitzroy Crossing – it was shut on the day I went there. So was Fitzroy Crossing.

Whatever, South Melbourne is definitely the music centre of Melbourne, where The Bass Centre deals in both new and used equipment, and given its high turnover, constantly has quality stock on show.

Guy Palmer, Store Manager

They can be contacted by phone on 03 9696 6561, email at info@basscentre.com.au, live chat, or can talk to you face to face in the store (old school!)

https://www.basscentre.com.au/pages/about-us

Factory Sound: 75 – 85 York Street: where Jammers get a fair bit of their gear: this shop is bursting with a huge range of amps, mixers, speakers, mics, you name it, they got it. You get the same good service if you spend $100 or $100,000 – I know, because I have done both.

Tip: the in house range of Factory Sound leads and cables come with a life time guarantee, and are as good as, if not better than, commercial cables in fancy packaging. We use them at the jams…

The Jammers Bit: An Experiment

What an appalling day for a jam session: buckets of rain just when we were arriving, and surely not many musos would be so desperate as to arrive in this downpour.

Never underestimate the depths to which a musician in need of a blow will sink, say I. We had a quorum well before 4.00, and by the end of a very long day, had 30 musos get up and trip the light fantastic, metaphorically, of course.

The Experiment: Just to make sure no-one knew what we were doing, we tried using a clipboard – wrote down everyone’s names as they rocked up, in the mistaken assumption that we would then get everyone more or less equal playing time in the order in which they arrived. Sort of. Didn’t work entirely to plan, of course, partly because we hadn’t got the plan in the first place, and partly because musicians tend to arrive in ones and twos, and not, as would have been most helpful, in band – sized chunks.

Dream on! We will try it again. Let’s face it, we did manage to get through all 30, and still get home in time for a brief snooze before breakfast. We are saving time – necessary as numbers increase, by cutting down on solos, (one or two per tune, but not the eight we had the previous week) while still trying to give all (and not just a few) soloists individual playing time.

Gilbert, cool as ever, waiting his turn

Sound: The sound system worked well from the start. This is always ominous, as the only way to go is downhill from there, which it did. Next week, we will pay particular attention to the vocals , if not the vocalists themselves. The foldbacks, however, worked well, which was a strange experience for all of us.

Highlights of the day? For me, Will, Satsuko and Guy (sax/sax/tpt) put up a hot set. Malcolm managed to stick with the PA/foldback speakers – first time he has played without the Roland amp, but really, the sound was better, and better balanced.

Will, Guy and (?) Satsuko put up a hot set

Lisette played her usual immaculate self, with a touch of suave, if not an arpeggio or three.

John Perri seems to have hit a purple patch and again drummed beautifully. Mac and Hussein not far behind him.

There were far too many vocalists for the Captain’s liking (I wonder how many he does like?) but he persisted and got them all up. Newcomers Fiona and Anne the Second were terrific. Gilbert and Yuko in particular copped a dodgy mic channel, which the brains trust attempted to remedy by adjusting, then disconnecting the Bass channel. I cannot imagine why this wouldn’t work…but it surely didn’t. Sorry chaps, will do better next week.

All About the Bass: Ivan played most of the arvo, never missed a beat and was pick of the day.

Definitely a bigger and better jam – the standard of the music was consistently higher than usual.