Who are the Jammers?

First time in Japanese, and a bit more truth

Read to the end for some news on the Jam Sessions.







Bet you didn’t see that coming. Bloody foreigners… Yuko, Ayako, Risa, Mihoko, Kozue and the other .jp readers may understand, the rest of you can choose your own translation below:

Version 1:    Three dim sims some teriyaki and a Crown lager please.

Version 2:    I don’t know much about jazz, but I know what I like and this isn’t it.

Version 3:    This car is equipped with a handbrake, a steering wheel and an incomprehensible manual. Thank you so much for choosing it.

Version 4:     This newsletter is written in Japanese which will not affect most readers understanding of it, because the English version is just as incomprehensible.

So… on with the potted histories: Got a few positive responses to last week’s exquisitely crafted histories (hah!) of some of the more prominent (well, regular anyway) jammers. The next selection includes regular musicians and singers, as well as the Late Miss Smith, who would struggle to turn up by six o’clock on a good day, but to her credit supplied her own sentencing material.

  • Carol McCarthy: crooner
  • Gentleman Malcolm H, pianist
  • Alan “slapper” Richards: drums
  • Alan West, saxophonist
  • The Divine Miss Smith: Raconteur

Carol McCarthy, crooner.
Comes from a long line of crooners and typos, mainly called Carl. She started singing at 27, and within two years was getting paid. My notes do not make it clear whether she was getting paid to start singing or paid to stop. An early memory was singing at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney as part of her singing course.

She was born at an early age in Brunei and claims to have been kissed by a killer whale in Toronto. … Not the old Toronto killer whale saga again, surely…By 2004 she was fronting the Diamond Valley Big Band, on their world tour, which consisted of the Banyule Winter Festival and not much else.

Carol admits to having sung to backing tapes in her distant past – a filthy habit which we are all glad she has quit.

She started with the Jammers at the Junktion Hotel, and says she sometimes sings quietly so as not to offend the punters, and only in the key of C, F or Bb because the jammers struggle in anything else.

Carol looking spiffin with green highlights

I can’t think who she is referring to – something in F#m or Dbm coming up….

Malcolm Hornby, gentleman piano player
One time rock and roll idol, now reduced to playing jazz covers for the jammers., most of whom are musically challenged anyway. Never gets out of bed before 4.00pm.

Started learning piano at age 5, and played his first gig at 20 playing pop covers. His best gig was at Moorabbin Town Hall – the band had a support act, and even a roadie to help Malcolm lift the piano lid or something. When asked if they had a Green Room, he described a disused cupboard full of rubbish, butt ends and half eaten sandwiches, so the answer is yes.

His worst gig was at a pub in Newport, with a door deal. Two people turned up, and the band’s door manager let them both in for free. Maybe they should have charged on the way out

Malcolm is a mainstay of the jams, and moonlights for Breakout on the side.

MH in contemplative mode

Alan West, saxophonist
You know, the big bloke that plays sax sitting down…started on drums aged 10, didn’t pick up the sax until he was 21, although he misspent his teens playing guitar for all the usual reasons. Given the choice, he would go back to being 23 again.

Nominated his best gig as Thailand, NYE with a band called The Disasters in front of 10,000 people; and his worst as a gig in Melbourne, where the entire band were substitutes. Also played in New York, Miami, San Francisco, London and Paris. Alan picked a Vince Jones dummy spit and no-show at the Tankerville Arms as his worst gig – the venue charged full price, got the punters in, and then announced VJ was not appearing.

Alan is one of the calmer and more experienced jammers, and loves to play his own creations – Josephine et al.

Alan, saxophonist to the stars

Alan “slapper” Richards
Started playing drums in Primary School marching the entire Year 4 into detention or something. One wonders how many drummers started this way – certainly quite a few. Alan played in a High School Rock and Roll Band and despite not becoming a rock legend, can’t remember his best gig. He recalled but one of the worst gigs was for manager Dennis Farrington who booked him for three jobs a night and ran up to a hundred bands at once.

Alan has vague memories of playing clarinet as well as drums, and is quite happy to be his present age. He “sat in” (I suspect he is being modest) on sessions in New York, LA, San Francisco, Vietnam and Japan, and now hardly ever plays in more than ten bands at a Festival…

Alan doing what he does best

A regular at the Jam Sessions who gives off a sense of really enjoying playing. Just a big kid really…


Annie Smith, raconteur

As is her way, the crutch wielding diva supplied a detailed account of her career so far. Unfortunately the editor deleted all of the triple exclamation marks (of which there were many), and then blanked out the bits he saw as slight embellishments, or exaggerations. He followed this by deleting the dad jokes, grandma jokes and other deviant wordplay, as well as the potentially actionable, libellous, scandalous paragraphs.

The detailed account now reads

Anne Smith
Says it all really, but if desperate, you can read the full debacle here…

(This could be an auto biography but it ‘s about Annie, not her car!!!)

When did she start singing? In the bath. She then progressed to the shower but she hasn’t been showering as much lately. Like most of us she has always sounded better in the bathroom.

Her first big gig was conducting and singing The Surrey With The
Fringe On Top at the Ivanhoe Town Hall circa 1965. She had a fringe at the time and was somewhat of a fringe dweller. She didn’t fit in until she met a whole bunch of other people who didn’t fit in and all turned out to be jazz lovers or at least lovers of jazz and other stuff.

She pursued an acting career on and off which included a starring role in Dimboola (the play not the place) at the Chevron Hotel in St Kilda. She got to sing “Oh You beautiful Doll” badly every night which she did rather well.

Her most exciting gig (there are so many to choose from!!!) was probably fronting to a rehearsal and subsequently performing with the Whitehorse Orchestra Big Band (which was very big) at the Harrietville Hotel which strangely enough is in Harrietville. So many instruments for one singer!!! Oh, and there was the time she performed “Strangers In The Night” at a piccolo hotel in Venice on one of the far canals.

The worst gig…….( was there one? ) might have been at Jasper’s in the city. The sound system didn’t work for ages, the drummer had just had a heart attack and he wasn’t there for some reason and the replacement drummer didn’t want to be there either. The bass player appeared to have no sense of humour (he needed one) and the reeds player thought it was all about him AND to top it all off no one came because it was the first AFL game of the year and anyone with any sense had stayed home to watch the footy. Jeez!!!

What age would Annie like to be? This is an ageist question! Really she’d prefer to be the age she is now because if you always think that way you won’t become a grumpy old senior not that she’s likely to do that because she’s far too young!!!



  1. Hi
    A brief note re the 2021 Inverloch Jazz Festival: next year the date will be changed from the Labour Day weekend to the first weekend in August (6, 7, 8th). Too many people in March enjoying the beach and not the jazz; accommodation too expensive; and can’t even get a cup of coffee. August will be great!
    Regards, Graham Morris


    1. Graham
      Thanks for your advice. I was a bit surprised to see the earlier date on the website, as I had understood you had already confirmed the August date. Which I think is an excellent idea. We will be publishing an update on the Festivals, probably after we have re-started the jam sessions in Melbourne, as the readership is nowhere near as high at present – probably due to the fact that we have very little to write about! I will put in a correction next week. I spoke to a number of Festival organisers, and they all had reservations about the impact of Covid-19. Castlemaine has since confirmed that they are going ahead, and the least positive was Marysville (due in October 2020).

      I note the dates have been corrected on the attached link: https://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/inverloch-jazz-festival#.XuVd90UzaUk

      I greatly enjoyed playing for Katerina Myskova at Inverloch at the last Festival, and she hopes to apply again.


      Ted Woollan
      For Melbourne Jazz Jammers


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