The Jammers Bit: The Music Edition. Good Grief!

It has come to my attention that many of you are coping rather well with the stage 4 lockdown. This is to stop at once – we have Government regulations against that sort of thing.

We understand that Jammers have been surreptitiously listening to music *(see below) and making ISO recordings on the sly, and posting them unnecessarily to Facebook. This sort of behaviour could break the internet, or at least clog up the Facebook part of it. We must ask that you wipe that smug grin off your face, or maybe not as you are probably wearing a mask anyway. There are consequences for such irrational attitudes and it must stop at once.

Examples of the moral decline of civilisation as we know it might include the demise of Lipstick Manufacturies, the demise of the Flu season, the status of Free Victoria as the only state which hasn’t shut its borders to anyone, the discovery that home percolated coffee is just as good as a cold cup from a half shut Barista, and you do not need bread anymore as Marg is baking it for you..

And, for Godsake, will someone kindly go out and catch the flu – seems almost no-one has this year and it is playing hell with the statistics.

What a lucky life!

What have the Jammers been listening to?

Jeff Harris: last listened to A Night in Tunisia, and is so bored he has taken up piano.

John Curtis is locked up in South Bank, as he should be, and has been listening to a French CD he bought years ago – so obscure that he cannot remember its name, although I am sure if he could he would pronounce it with an appropriate French accent. Grave probably

John Curtis

Cardinal Calamatta has been listening to Argentine tango called Nostalgias, by a composer called Pablo something or other. He has had a break from saxophone, lost his embouchure, and is now getting it back – sweetest tone of any of the regular saxopholologists.


POCKOTL (Marg) has now pruned everything in her garden to approximately ground level, and is baking bread while it all grows again. She has been listening to some Jimi Hendrix. Rock chick…


Deborah “have you been listening to the Republican National Convention” Salkov has been learning Orange Coloured Sky and listening to Lady Gaga who she thinks is rather good.

Gina (Tower Hotel Manager) has been swanning around Queensland, but promises to come back and re-open the Tower. Bopping around to Beyonce at the moment.

Doug “haircut” Kuhn last listened to chanteuse Patricia Barber and seems to have got the lockdown two step down pat.

And finally, Captain Chaos hasn’t been listening to his phone as he hasn’t answered yet. I am reliably informed he is well and listening to Trains – the Blue Note Tokyo All Stars Jazz Orchestra. He has also been practicing and accidentally played a hot solo last week. We have told him to have a Bex and a lie down…

Captain Chaos

Festival and Jammers News:
Sad news from Port Fairy- the Jazz Festival has been cancelled for this year – not a great surprise as the much bigger Folk Festival was cancelled about three weeks ago. We will do a ring round and get an update on all the Festivals soon. It is going to be ugly…

Click on the links for the Festival website etc. Etc.


Tales from the Pantry and other Jam Sessions

Along time ago before ISO, there were two chooks who would free range the local pub scenes.

One was known as Henrietta. This afternoon she was hoping to lubricate her vocal chords and strut her stuff on the stage.
The other, Cordelia, loved to display her talents on the guitar. She was a mean plucker and picker with a plectrum.

Both smart chicks would always come early to the venue and set up their equipment.

This particular Sunday the talent scouts were out and the house was packed with music lovers and jammers.
The chicks did a quick sound check and then launched into a well -known country/blues song called “Chickens in the Barnyard” They were singin’ an pickin’ an’ the whole room were jiggin’ along.

Suddenly out of no -where, the sound equipment failed: but, the band, bein’ a roost of ole time troopers, kept a mimin’ a strummin’ and a drummin’.

The Sound guys tried a fiddlin’ and a pokin’ but still they could not get electrified. There were cries of it’s not “our” equipment, it’s not “our” fault, why don’t you check yours? Hey!

The two chicks muttered and apologized. They were not used to having their feathers ruffled. Wildly embarrassed they packed up their stuff and retired to the bar.

Moral of the Tale:

Hens should never leave home without extra batteries.

Signed: “Cookin”. Classes from the Pantry.

Drummers Lies


Hello fellow jammers,

Mr Hirsh here,

It has come to my attention that the Jammers news backroom copy boy, (thrice removed), has been struggling to find credible contributions due to the pressure of this wretched pandemic.

So to lighten the load, here is for your enjoyment are the top 20 lies that aspiring drummers may tell you, in an effort to get some urgent attention.

Top 20 Lies Told By Drummers

  1. I can play that
  2. Metronomes hurt your “Feel”
  3. I wasn’t fired; the producer just likes to work with his own people.
  4. The album/CD is doing really well
  5. I practice 5 hours per day
  6. I never practice
  7. I’m doing tons of sessions
  8. I played on the record, but I wasn’t credited
  9. I never play Top 40
  10. It’s not what you play, it’s what you don’t play that counts
  11. Your girlfriend/partner is really cool
  12. I’ll put you on the guest list
  13. Sure, I know that tune
  14. I’m really good friends with him
  15. He’s totally cool
  16. We are huge in Japan
  17. I recorded every track on the 1st take
  18. The drum sounds were amazing, but the engineer screwed up the mix
  19. He really likes my playing
  20. I’m gonna be in Modern Drummer next month

Working with Musicians…..

We have all experienced embarrassing performances with members of a band due to lack of communication.
If you are lucky enough to be a Vocalist who has studied theory you should know a great deal about music and how to convey what you require.
Rather than just theory, other Vocalists may have spent time practising and perfecting Vocal skills – learning by ear – and expect the members of the band to figure out everything for you. (ie. key of song and the feel you want). This can be a recipe for trouble……a bit like speaking a dialect of a language and hoping the musicians will work it out on stage for you!

Here are some tips to help.
Prepare...this includes attending with a chart; and
Practise counting the song in….

Many problems are encountered because the Vocalist is not aware of the complexity of music and then not able to convey this to the band – such as the feel of a song….bossa etc.

You should be aware that some band members really prefer a melody line and chords and others will be ok with chords…..

Even if you do not get everything right you will gain the respect of musicians because you have made an effort to prepare.

All Love

Ebonyrose xx

The Jammers Bit: When do we open a jam session?

Due to the complete absence of any positive news vis a vis the Jammers, this week’s Newsletter is looking at the story of Rob Petrie, Gelignite and the Cessna 206, Heritage architecture, and why you never have two clocks in an aeroplane. All of it true, of course, and almost exclusively irrelevant. Finishing, as you do, with hopes of a Jam Session.

Petrie was a lunatic, but a big, likeable bloke. Invariably dressed in a faded uniform with the obligatory Blundstones,. He had a heart of gold, a tatty Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife career, an enthusiasm for arresting mutton birders, and a penchant for big explosions. I first met him sitting in an overloaded Cessna 206, with my feet propped up on a box which the pilot had put forward to help balance the weight.

The Cessna 206 It was a 20 minute flight to Maria Island, and its grass airstrip with notorious winds off Bishop and Clerk making the landing interesting, as you had to buzz the strip first to chase off the kangaroos and Cape Barren geese, then turn around quickly and land before they wandered back. There is a.100 foot drop off the cliff at the end of the strip into the sea.

A Cessna 206 on the “runway” at Darlington air strip.

check out the landing conditions!

Gelignite: About 10 minutes into the flight, I turned round and asked Rob what was in the box under my feet. “Gelignite” he said. Lovely stable stuff and quite inert until it goes bang. There were no vehicles on the island, so Rob was going to use the gelignite to shift some rock.

About this much…

About an hour after we got to Maria Island, I was moving around the old convict settlement, photographing and surveying the original buildings, as heritage architects do… I had to stop for a while as Rob wanted to blow out some rocks to put in a drainage pipe. Quite safe, he said, and promptly blew a rock through the roof of the Coffee Palace at a range of about 75 yards.

Heritage Architecture: He also managed to blow a crack in the end wall of the Men’s prison, thereby revealing the original doorway to the Mess Hall which was mentioned in the Diego Bernacchi records, but had never been found. Unusual survey technique, made my day..

Petrie’s drainage pipe later worked a treat as well, so it was a pretty productive effort all round.

The clock: On the return trip in the Cessna, we flew off the end of the cliff, and climbed steadily. The dasboard had two of everything except the clock. Nick the pilot explained that a clock was an handy navigational tool, and you either had one and hoped it worked, or you had three. If you only had two and one was, say ten minutes out, you wouldn’t know which was which, where you were and when you would fly into the mountain. There were only two things that Nick didn’t like when flying – cumulo nimbus and cumulo granite. Best to avoid the latter.

The Jam Session: I don’t know where Petrie is now – or Nick for that matter – it was a long time ago, but the clock concept is relevant to Victoria today. We had a first wave of pandemic which seemed to go fairly easily, that is one clock. But then a second wave which, hopefully, will subside but that is only two clocks. – but you can tell better how the pandemic will behave when you get the third wave, because it becomes more and more predictable. Only then could you even contemplate opening a jam session safely.

Just a thought…


Festival and Jammers News:




The Jammers Bit: And another thing

Greets. The emails we are sending out have resulted in lots of correspondence with a whole lot of jammers. – a common theme being, “can’t wait to get back to the jam sessions” – for a whole lot of reasons, not all of them entirely musical.

This week’s codswallop includes a couple of links – copy and paste, people! Huich’s session at Bar Ousso is good, and Ivan’s diatribe on bass players (the Bass Rabbit Hole) is addictive once you get started.

Madge has, reportedly, been up to her usual shenanigans, although she is finding the curfew somewhat hard for a tired old tart who tries not to get up before 8pm anyway, and has spent the best years of her life on a park bench at 5am in the morning. Madge has always been a bit of snob, and considers the merchant seamen of her acquaintance somewhat beneath her. Well, they were on the park bench.


  • Ivan Sultanoff on bass players
  • Ebony Rose on relaxation
  • Huich’s Bar Ousso jaunt


Let’s start with a Rolling Stone link to a history of Strange Fruit Well worth a read – find out at the end who the “last racist” might be. Have we ever covered this at a jam?

‘Nuff said. Stay home, stay healthy and stop roaming the streets at night, For those of you still practising your reading -something to amuse…Read on!

Festival and Jammers News:





Deep Breathing

More from Rose, on singing.This week: deep breathing


Find a quiet place where you can connect with your breathing.

Lying on your back feel the rise and fall of your breath – no manipulation, no control just awareness of breathing….exhale all the air in your lungs. When you take a full breath, the lungs are completely filled, feel the fullness all around the back area as well.


A vocalist must learn to strengthen the muscles of the back as well to maintain more control and be able to extend the notes when singing. Standing have the feet hip width apart and the pelvis slightly tilted in with shoulders back and chest out exhale all air and then inhale.

Remember your whole body is your instrument. Forced resonance will affect pitch and tone. Use the relaxation exercises to release tension created by physical and emotional stress, and to maximise vocal ability.

Dynamic Breath

Concentrate on feelings of inner energy, working through awareness of breath in the body. When doing the deep breathing it will release negative emotions such as anger, frustration and nervousness.

Deep breathing can be addictive! – Just try it.

All Love


Down the bass rabbit hole with Ivan

Some samples from Ivan Sultanoff, regular jammer, occasional ski instructor. We have added some youtube url’s of each player – picked at random, but they are all addictive …

Just a few tips for bass players to look up, for instance for electric bass, look up on YouTube the following :

Scott’s bass lessons, deals with famous bass lines of various hotshot bass players, explains and shows bass lines in sections slow,up to speed , you can sign up.

John Patitucci- superb stuff on electric and upright bass, you can look up various clinics, I met John twice,had a good bass chat and was in one of his clinics in person and discovered he studied classical bass with my teacher I had at Guildhall School. …….

Christian Mc Bride- upright bass phenomenal playing, again lots of material on YouTube

Niels-Osted Pederson- Christian Mc Bride playing Bye Bye Blackbird , just go through the clips

Richard Bona- electric bass, this guy is an absolute comedian on bass in a good sense of word, his playing is just something, met him in person- nice guy, witty, funny bass nut…..

Joe Zawinul Syndicate is a groove orientated band with some serious keyboard and percussion stuff, he used Bona, Pastorius, Williams, Bailey etc as bass players, once you start going through all this you might be amazed at what you find.

Stanley Clarke-both upright and electric, wonderful stuff

MarcusMiller- slap bass – no need to comment, just find him and get upset how fantastic slapper he is.

Victor Wooten- the list goes on, good luck with all that.

If anyone wishes to communicate further , don’t hesitate —

Huich Bar Ousso, and whatever happened to the Junk

And this received from our regular violinist, who has been getting out and about.

“I haven’t been doing too much jazz lately, I got slightly distracted by some other music to learn. I’ve been getting back into a bit of folk fiddling Irish, and old-time but the americaness of it makes me feel a bit of an outsider., more so than other music – maybe it’s because I attended this online music camp that is usually held in Florida and the Americans talk about it like one knows everything about America. Just trying to keep my fingers in action. It’ll be so good to play with people again, doing recordings really doesn’t cut it!

I was lucky enough to play at Bar Oussou on the eve of Stage 3 restrictions. Actually I went there to support my friends because by that time they were locking down individual suburbs and I thought that they would have a hard time getting an audience. Then they invited me to play with them and it was a really beautiful night. Here is a clip of what we did:

Please take care, and definitely will see you one day, it’s a question of when not if.”

Best wishes,


ps: I happened to go by the Junktion Hotel 2 days ago and the building has been sold! Unbelievable!

The Jammers Bit: Have the Lunatics Taken Over the Asylum Yet?


After last week’s slackathon, which required me to write about six lines, more articles from the jammers – in addition to which, meself and the Captain have racked up around 40 responses to the emails we sent last week. If you haven’t checked your spam folder for a while, it could be in there.

So we have articles from:

Debbie Woodroffe: Deb’s Rant

Luis Chacon: Confessions of a Chartaholic

Jack Morris: A Career

Pete Micevski: What Day Is It?

‘Nuff said. Now that we have all stopped roaming the streets at night, something to amuse… read on! Better still, pick up a phone and talk to a fellow jammer – nobody is finding the second wave easy…

Festival and Jammers News:


Pete goes metaphysical…

Pete Micevski has been a bass stalwart and regular jammer for years, one of few who have carried their bat for a full session

What day is it? Are we still in 2020? … all I can say is wow, looks like we are headed into a new matrix (reality) after this Lock-Down ends, and I don’t mean that lightly, I say hold on folks, because this Lock-Down might just be the precursor of what’s to come. Crazy isn’t it?

How is everyone? I hope you are all doing well and staying safe. Finally, musicians get that precious time needed to practice (there needs to be some positivity in this pandemic) and I’m sure you’re probably doing just that, and have been running those fingers, hands and tonsils a million miles an hour.

However, I’d like to share some things about music that may help you along your journey of development, a different spice….

Stop all that practising and playing … yes you heard me right stop. Have a break people, from music. Space and not playing anything is probably more important than consistently playing … life is the same, we need a break, this gives us that time to reflect. Music is the same, we need to reflect on what we’re playing and doing this in real time is probably the hardest thing of all, taking that break gives us time and space to discover the undiscovered.

Here is an exercise for the daring,

  • Week 1, don’t play your instrument for one week, don’t even think about it
  • Week 2, don’t play your instrument another week, this time only think about the various things you where working on or what you could work on
  • Week 3, get back to playing your instrument, observe and reflect on that feeling

Stop listening to all that jazz – when it come to music “the world is your oyster”. When you branch out to what you normally wouldn’t listen to, there is so much to discover. Closing yourself off from the world of music is not healthy, by expanding your music horizon you stand to expand your music vocabulary. Learning songs other than jazz helps us better discover our voices, as our voices are built through the notes we select to play.

So, stop playing start discovering and grow





I have a confession to make: my name is Luis, and I am a “chartaholic”. I depend on charts to play music. I know that it is a shame for a musician that is trying to play jazz, but this is my personal and pathetic truth. And I need to acknowledge it before I try to heal it. My guilt is enormous, gigantic. My shame, bigger than me. I used to walk into the jam sessions sliding like a snake, with my soprano in one hand and my iPad in the other. Yes, my iPad!, my sin!!, the place where all my charts are stored!

It all started when I was a musically illiterate kid in the fascist Spain of the early sixties. You know? Those guys killed people, killed culture and killed education. Spain was a wasteland and we didn’t know it.

One day, visiting uncle Arturo, there was a piano and, by I don’t know what sort of accident, I got interested on it, managed to make some sort of sense of the keyboard to come up with some poor one-finger melodies. My father caught me on that suspicious activity and, instead of punishing me, he sent me to the Conservatory (for some weird reason we had one on the middle of the dictatorship, something to do with the education of the aristocracy, I believe).

And that was the beginning of the end. By then, I was playing a bit of recorder and a bit of guitar, all by ear and self-taught (not in the school, off course, there we hadn’t such weird subjects). And I could even sing in tune! But then came literacy to fuck it up. You want to know what was my first and biggest sin? I’ll tell you: to believe the teachers that told me that the music was that weird written thing on the paper. Since then, I made a terrible effort to forget my ears and my instinct, put on the corset of sol-fa and start musically dying slowly for the rest of my life.

Now I am a literate, sol-fa-ed, fat-ass, white man, trembling in front of a music stand, trying to make sense of charts, while I fight back my instincts, my ear and whatever debris of talent that may have survived my education. Pathetic, I tell you.

But I also have some good news (top secret this one): I have learned to let my intuition fly over the charts up to the point that most of the time, when I improvise, I feel like that illiterate kid and play by ear. Don’t tell anyone in the Conservatory, please. To my Conservatory friends I talk about scales, modes, the 9th, the 11th, the 13th, chord substitutions and all that bullshit that I don’t really understand.

And also have another confession: that kind of childish behaviour is not of any comfort for my chartaholic personality. I know, it’s sad. Because, even though I improvise mostly by ear, I can’t get rid of my charts. You take my iPad, and is like putting a chart to a guitar player: I become silent (my apologies, Fermín and fellow guitarists, this is just a friendly bad saxophonist joke).

And this is happening to me in a world where everybody knows that the “real thing” is what sounds, and that the written chart is only a kind of map of the territory, but not the territory! And I know that as well; but can’t help it – I’m a chartaholic, I need my charts, I need my iPad. That is my personal fate.

But, wait a second, you know what? I still blame fascism for my “chartaholism”.

L Chacon