Hortense makes a record with Madge

“Well,” Madge remarked as she barrelled the Kingswood through an army checkpoint, “that went well.” Coppers and Squaddies diving for the ditch, and the evening sky soon lit up with flashing blue lights. Hortense, clinging forlornly to the broken door handle, didn’t think it had gone too well at all.

Of course, Madge had a tactical advantage, as, with all the squaddies facing in the other direction, she was trying to sneek back into Victoria after a lengthy sojourn in NewSouthBloddyWales prompted by reports of cruise liners full of matelots with nothing else to do. She is, anyway, getting a bit old for that sort of thing.

But I digress – the return was prompted by their plan of making a home recording of Lil Johnson’s 1936 smash hit “Was I Drunk, Was He Handsome and Did Momma Give me Hell” funded by newly announced Government funding. A gap had emerged in the market for this sort of thing, and they both thought they should grasp the opportunity whilst the entire Music Industry was wringing its hands and thinking about trousering some of the Government cash on offer. Taxpayers money! Madge was quite happy with this, as she hadn’t paid any income tax since about 1973, shortly after the Bairnsdale Working Mens’ Club debacle.

So… zooming along a deserted freeway in the middle of the night, trying to call up Rotten Ronnie, lately third sax in Trixie La Belle’s Academie de Dance, to see if they could get him to solo for free. Madge and Hortense proposed to share the vocals, and who gives a toss about the drummer…Madge figured they would be a shoo in for the Government money if they put in an application for the Strangled Ferret even though it burnt to the ground years ago.

So, once back in dear old West Altona, the Refinery Terrace garage serving as Recording Studio, away they went and…

Well, you will have to wait until next week to find out.


Links to Newport Jazz Festival and Jammers News:





From Jason Chalmers,

occasional jammer, cossie stitcher extraordinaire, and in his alter ego CaptainSaxMachine, unemployed saxophonist (a tautology, surely?)

Last listened to Hit Me Baby, One More Time – the Jason Chalmer cover of Britney Spears’ song.. Latin version of course, but what did Britney do to deserve this?

I digress. The lad, who distinguished himself by playing on a cruise ship all last year and not bringing the corona virus home, has recorded a Country and Western album, posing in his backyard, whilst sufficiently indigent to make publication of his work a financial impossibility.

Failing, by virtue of his status as a professional saxophonist, to understand a single word of the preceding paragraph, he is resorting to crowd funding. This is the email he sent…Resourceful fellow – go on, give it a go!

So I have been making some fun albums and have two very special ones I’d love to make vinyl. Unfortunately due to the pandemic and me living in Melbourne I no longer have the funds to do so. So I’ve decided to give crowd funding a go. So please check out my campaign. And if you don’t mind share it around your networks. Or you can make a donation if you’re fiscally able…
Check the link below.

I wish you all the very best in these difficult times,
Warmest regards,

Jason Chalmers

Roger Clark – an unusual request, and a classy recording

Last listened to Goodbye Mr Evans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9Dy8vqBOj8

Famous for the Clark rule: If you have played one more solo than Roger, you have played four solos too many. Roger specifically asked that I refrain from the usual scurrilous reports regarding his ancestor, Sir Roger de Coverley. I have never tried that angle before, but will do my best…

Roger was stuck in Melbourne for a while, but eventually received a permit to return to his farm in NSW. I do not wish to speculate on the grounds for objection by terrified sheep that may have eventually been over turned in the process of his getting the permit.

Leaning metaphorically, as it were, on the garden fence, and sucking a straw, Roger reminisced fondly on his trip to Costa Rica, and his lessons with gun alto saxophonist Josh Quinlan. He played every night with Brazilians, Argentinans, Costa Ricans, and occasionally, his saxophone.

He learnt so much from this experience that he has subsequently put out a recording with the Roger Clark Quartet – an album entitle “What A Life” . It is rather good.

Sadly, this could be the last we see of him for a while, as the Victorian Government is threatening to close its borders if he keeps playing “Estate

Well worth a listen! Copy and paste this Spotify link

Home Recording – “Just how good can it get”

By Mike Hirsh Esq, audio engineer at www.mcsrecording.com.au Tel 041738-3583, 9312-7391

Well actually, quite good results can be achieved at home if you have a good quality microphone, and a decent A/D to D/A audio interface. Of course the interface can have one, two or multiple inputs of 8. It all depends on your needs and experience. So let’s imagine you want to just record a vocal, piano or guitar in your loungeroom and put in on Spotify or Soundcloud.

The Interface

Should have at least 2 mic / 2 line inputs, like the SSL 2 & 2+

https://www.solidstatelogic.com/music-and-audio-production/audio-interfaces or the Focusrite scarlett-2i


Both are around the same price and are pretty good quality. They both come with software, but the SSL 2+ has additional plugins samples and loops for your computer to get you started.

However, if you have a friend who gives you software like Protools, or Logic Pro, then that’s a bonus. Note. Don’t buy an Interface and mic bundles. Why? – the mics are usually crap and the sellers want you to come back again and spend more money on a decent mic later. So you have been warned 🙂


I am not going to beat around the bush here, but using your Shure Beta 58 mic is not going to cut it. Why? because it’s a dynamic mic, and what you need is a condenser mic.

At MCS Recording Studio we use a few Neumann condenser mics for vocalists, but unless you can afford a $3,500 to $7000 mic, I’d stick with a good, but under $150 mic like the Audio Technica AT2020. https://audio-technica.com.au/products/at2020/. Or, for under $280, the Rode NT1a http://www.rode.com/microphones/nt1-a

By the way, the Rode is designed and built in Australia and comes with a Shockmount and Pop filter and will last a lifetime. Pop Filter is for eliminating S’s & P’s in ya vocals, so don’t forget it…!!!

A word on Stereo mics, please oh please, don’t bother unless you are at the Opera house recording a bloody choir. Why, because you want your single vocal mixed in the centre of the stereo field. I could go into this in greater technical detail as to why, but that’s for another day.

Suffice to say, I know a singer who recently recorded her vocals with a stereo/mono mic and couldn’t work out why the vocal was not dead centre. The answer is, yes you guessed it, she wasn’t standing dead centre of the stereo mic field.

She was moving around getting into the groove etc, poor lass and didn’t realise she had a MONO switch on her mic as well. She switched the mic to mono and to her astonishment, the phase issue was corrected.

Oh and if you record Bass, or Guitar, please do yourself a favour, always record in mono as these instruments are in MONO. Again, I could explain why, but that topic is a technical issue and it’s boring for some. However, for electronic keys, the outputs are Mono Left and Right (Stereo) so use them mono or stereo, depending on your needs live or studio. Check your keyboard manual, and by the way that’s not Manuel, as in Faulty Towers.

“May Your Efforts Achieve the Success They deserve” – Max Abrams 1907 -1995

This week’s contributions from Jammers with too much time on their hands…

  • What Have the Jammers Been up to
  • Cookin’ on Homemade Jam
  • Dogs, Debts and How to Make money Out of Music

Dogs, Debts and How to Make money Out of Music

Dogs and Debts A conversation with a couple of young musicians and their dog. Corporate gigs – dried up. Regular gigs – dried up. One off big gigs – cancelled. As part of a group of musos, they had sensibly set up a gymnasium business to provide them with a regular income where music has always been a precarious existence. The gym is currently closed, the business owes $100,000, the dog seemed the happiest of the group.

We concluded the following:

1 The sun is going to come up tomorrow

2 And the next day.

3 We all love being musicians, and that is more important than the money

4 The singer is getting into music production, experimenting with media, collaborative recording, electronic sounds. So is everyone else.

5 The dog is always up for a pat and a scratch.

So – how to make money out of music?

In two easy steps. Simple really.

Step 1    Get out of music

Step 2    Go make some money.

What have the Jammers been up to?
Itching for the shutdown to end seems to be a bit of a theme. Can’t imagine why.

Seven Singers, a Drummer and the Editor.



Aimee Everett, chanteuse, has been warbling in her garage studio and running up collaborative tunes with some of her entire Music Department. Listening to Matt Corby I’m in Chains


Yuko Onishi,
tonsil artist from Kyoto, isn’t doing a lot with the lock down, other than continuiung her work as a freelance interpreter. She offers Japanese to english translations, as well as English to Japanese translations. Could be on to something there…and she should be learning some new tunes any day now. She has been listening to a range of jazz standards. Emails will be sent to see if we can solve the problem.


Kay Young has been running laps of her apartment, doesn’t like the lock down one little bit, and should emerge determinedly cheerful and strikingly fit.


Nurul Rahman has two kids and a husband with a broken foot to look after, and remains cheerfully exasperated. Apparently Xavier was showing Ikima how to jump. There is no truth to the rumour that Frenchmen eat snails because they are so unfit that is the only food they can catch.


Katerina Myskova, who is the only jammer I can find who is working full time, has this week off, and a list of new songs to learn. Spends her downtime listening to Jill Scott. How sophisticated.

Rosemarie has been listening to Halleluiah, the Ray Charles version, to cheer herself up. It might be working. Ray Charles had eight children by five different wives,. All the wives were good looking. Seems like a bit of a shame, really.


Annie Smith: still tooling about in the garden, digging up a fresh supply of paving bricks to hurl at the neighbours. Possibly. Listening to a bit of latin. From all of which we may deduce she is fighting fit and ready to go…


Michael Findlay, owner of the finest set of ride cymbals in East Balaclava (I made that bit up, it couuld have been West Balaclava) is contemplating his non existent photography business (aren’t we all?) and not playing much drums. Things will only improve when the neighbours become chronically deaf. Michael provides the Jam Sessions photographs that make every one look slightly more exotic than they really are, and quite a bit more monotonal.

The Ed: otherwise known as Rob McCue, is keen to let us know he is out and about playing tennis. Smug bastard. When pressed, he admiits to listening most recently to Lester Young: admirable choice.

The Jammers Bit: On the subject of Nothing, and other irrelevancies

Nothing happening this week. If nothing lasts long enough, we will all be doing nothing next week as well. Despite this preoccupation, last week’s newsletter got a bumper number of hits – even though we put it out a tad late – or maybe, because …

Festival Breaking News:

The 85th Australian Jazz Convention cancelled.

We have been advised that the Australian Jazz Convention will be postponed to December 2021. This was to have been the 75th Convention – it started in 1946 and is already the longest running Jazz Festival in the Southern Hemisphere. It has retained a strong association with Trad Jazz – more properly, Trad Revival.

So old is this Festival, that when it started, Trad Revival was at the cutting edge of music – and its exponents were seen as the rebels of their day. It is technically possible that some 20 year old muso in 1946, now 94, is still going. Putting it back another year will be hardest on the old hands.

Links to Newport Jazz Festival and Jammers News:






Chatanooga Choo Choo

Tales From the Pantry & Other Jam Sessions. 95 song titles in search of a meaning: Homemade Jam from the Pantry.

‘Long ago and far away’, It felt like “Autumn in New York.’ ‘Summertime’ had gone and ‘Autumn Leaves’ began to fall. The Captain thought it was ‘Just One of those things.’ But ‘Things aint what they used to be.’

Oh, ‘The things we did last summer’ now we are “Without a song.” No more’ Makin Whoopee’ or doin’ it “My Way”. Its ‘A foggy Day’ and we get ‘Misty. “Come rain or Come Shine’, ‘Here’s that rainy day!’

No ‘Melancholy Baby’ cried Marg of the Jazz Jammers. No More “Anything Goes’, Nobody wants to go ‘On a Slow Boat to China’, ‘Its ‘Too close for comfort.” ‘The Masquerade’ is not over. There may be ‘No moon at All.’ but ‘ Don’t be Strangers in the Night.’ What we need ‘Night and Day,’ ‘My funny Valentine,’ is ‘Love sweet Love.’

That ‘Old Devil Moon’ may say its ‘Witchcraft’ or ‘Que sera sera’ but ‘When you’re smiling’ ‘What a Difference a Day Makes’. ‘Spring is Here’ though there may be ‘Stormy Weather,’ ‘I’m Going out of my Head’ and ‘I didn’t know what time it was.’ So I ask ‘How long has this been going on’ ‘Oh, “I could write a book’

‘Speak low’, Covid has the” World on a String’, gone are “the Days of Wine and Roses”. ‘Sweet Georgia Brown!,’ I ‘Don’t get around much anymore.’ ‘Give me a simple Life’ but ‘As time goes by’ I get the ‘Blues in the Night.” So, time to ‘Button up your Overcoat.

“It all depends on you.”‘

‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’ ‘They can’t take that away from me.’ ‘The More I see you,’ I think of “My Favourite Things.” With all my “Heart and Soul’ ‘Chances are’ we will soon be ‘Dancin’ Cheek to Cheek’ ‘As time goes By” “Love is here to Stay.’

Going to take a ”A Sentimental Journey’, where “I want That Old Feeling’ Ha! ‘That’s Life’ ‘The party’s Over’. ‘I want to Cry me a River’ and see the ‘Shadow of your Smile’ before I ‘Begin the Beguine.’ But, “No more Blues’ ‘From this moment on” I know ‘It’s been a long, long time’ but ‘I will wait for you’ ‘How about you?’

‘The More I See You’ ‘Je Ne’Regrette Rien’ “I’ll get By” though it is ‘September in the Rain.’ ‘Smile’ ‘When you’re Smiling’ ‘You Do Something to Me’

It really hurts ‘the Second Time Around.’ ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’ ‘That’s Amore! ‘They can’t take that away from me’. ‘People’ ‘This could be the Start,’ ‘Come Fly with me’ ‘When you wish upon a star.’ ‘How deep is the ocean?’ ‘How high the moon?’ ‘In my solitude’ ‘I remember you’ and ‘I’ll be seeing you.’

“Things aint what they used to be.’ ‘More than you know’ ‘Where or When’ ‘Who Can I turn to” ‘More’, ‘Our day will come” ‘You and the Night and the Music’ ‘With a Song in my Heart.” ‘Hey there.’ ‘Lets do it,’

‘The song is you.’


Signed ” Cookin

The Jammers Bit: We are Not Going Back to Normal

Or forward at the moment… In response to the extreme lack of any performance opportunity other than gawping at a screen whilet the Zoomed opposition operate at a 25 millisecond delay, we bring the following Jammers Guide to the Lockdown :

Stage Four: Doesn’t work for the Captain as he tends to start with Stage 3 or 5 anyway
Stage Three: Singers: Did someone say Stage?, here I am..
Stage Two: Theoretically possible, but wouldn’t it be easier if we all moved to Queensland?
Stage One: There is no Stage One, that was just a rumour put about to keep the conspiracy theorists, anti vaxxers, gluten free hippies, humourless vegans, police and other weirdos occupied.

Zoom Zoom Zoom; Online Music Collaboration.

Leaders of the Music Business are still frantically trying to find out how to stop musicians putting up music without paying them a cent. Optimists think the solution will be up by next year, epidemiologists (and God knows we have enough of them all of a sudden) think it will be 16.32pm next Thursday but only if their modelling is accurate, which, of course, it isn’t.

So…. zooming on

Sound Delay: There seem to be ongoing problems with co-ordination regardless of software used. Sounds much like a jam session, and it never bothered us…

As a money raising venture: tricky one this, probably the best way to generate funds is to threaten to keep posting recordings. You could try Little Sunflower as a double whammy.

Audience: There isn’t one, as a rule. Again, much like any jam session, and again, it never bothered us…

This week’s contributions from Jammers with too much time on their hands..

  • Musicians : Rose’s article on Instrumentalists’ language: a guide for aspiring vocalists.
  • Tales from The Pantry: yup, still don’t have a clue what this is about, see if you can make it out…
  • Dr John’s Jazz Clinic: In, it should be noted, several parts and considerable detail. Essential reading for harp players who want to show off, as well as jazz musos of all levels..

What have the Jammers been up to?

The Newport Jazz Festival (yes, it is still a thing) Committee held their first Zoom meeting last week. Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, this went fairly smoothly. Several glasses of wine were spotted in the background, but no credibility bookcases.
Bill Swannie, possible future High Court Judge (well, he hasn’t been caught yet), has been lounging about at home, listening to Michael Jackson at Archie’s insistence (that is what Bill says .. maybe he secretly likes it) and devising new ways of remotely online misleading the next generation of lawyers. He is well, but is using an electronic drum instead of his fine Gretsch. Who said Covid wasn’t a crisis?

Bill Swannie

Annie “Pegleg” Smith probably continues to stump around the lobelias when she should be inside bashing out another artickle for the Newsletter. I wouldn’t know for sure as she isn’t answering her telephone.

Festival and Jammers News:






Instrumentalists Language……..

As seen from a vocalist’s perspective
‘Double time’, rhythm bridge and ‘then do fours’ take the head and ‘vamp’….

….lets go through a few standard terms.

Bars – Measures of time. Most tunes have an intro and may be 32 bars long.
Blues – Style of music. Often meaning a harmonic 12 bar form that many tunes are based on.
Changes – The song’s harmony…Chord changes.
Double Time – Everything is twice as fast.
Head – Melody of the tune.
Form – Construction of the song typically AABA (Stormy Weather, with a two bar
intro) or AB (Autumn Leaves – 8 bar intro then 32 bar form)
1st 8 bars = A
2nd 8 bars = A
3rd 8 bars = B (different harmony & melody than the A sections)
4th 8 bars = A ( same as the first A section.
Intro – usually 4 bars and may be 8 bars A Night In Tunisia has six bars, followed by a 16 bar AABA form with a 16 bar interlude thrown in…
Style or Groove of tune
Vamp – Measures that repeat over and over.

All love Ebonyrose x

Some listening references

Autumn Leaves (Bill Evans)


Stormy Weather: Ella Fitzgerald with the incomparable Joe Pass Listen for the tricky little 4 bar extra turn around at 1.20 (which she scats)


A Night in Tunisia, Charlie Parker. Shows what musicians like to get up to when the vocalist is away getting a drink…


Tales From the Pantry & Other Jam Sessions

Long ago (BC) in a land where The Post and the Tower were hangouts for infamous musicians learning their trade and for those who were Hallmarks of their trade, and those who could teach those who were finding their way in the Kingdom of Jazz. One Sunday, which will go down in the annals of history, was noted for its multicultural mixture of Mediaeval Knights of razzamatazz who had fallen in love with the wickedly juicy and enticing melodies that fed their souls.

You could feel the heat from the kitchen. Continue reading →


Looking for some increasingly edgy scales to play over that D7 chord?

John Curtis

It can be helpful to think in this case in terms of the C lydian mode as the basic scale (instead of the conventional major scale) and then look at its increasingly altered cousins as improvisory substitutes. All of these contain a #11 from the tonic (i.e. a F# based on a tonic C for the scale). These show themselves as a 3rd and b7th in a D7 chord.

Why the lydian mode I hear you ask? Continue reading →