The B Team? Well, not entirely

By the time we had tracked down the speaker leads, missing box full of microphones, and devised some way of bolting the drum kit together, we could have been on to the C Team instead.

As it turned out, Laurie was the lone saxophonist, Serge lugged in his double bass, Fermin appeared clutching the trusty ‘tar and a giggle of singers sat patiently at the back…

Another good drummer…

Laurie fired the opening salvo, missed the target and swung up Comin Home Baby, in the non – funk version which seems to have taken on a life of its own as a starting pistol…He then played a neat instrumental set, getting deserved applause from the mob, even though some of them may have known a bit about music.

There being no drummers in the house, it fell to the two pianists (the debonair Mr Curtis and meself) to swap seats and pretend to be drumming. When in fact all we were doing was keeping a beat – (which is, occasionally, what real drummers do) whilst the rhythm section (Fermin, Serge on double bass and whoever on drums) did its thing, later enhanced by the addition of the Rev Kevin. At their own insistence they all played nicely together. Adrian took over on piano for a while – very nicely done too.

Warblers included Jane, Kevin who seemed a bit distracted, Jess on her second foray, Rose who was in the mood for some standards, and Carol the crooner. Jane made a surprisingly good drummer later in the day. Huich played a coupla sets on her violin.

The Post was packed when we started, wisely thinned out a bit, and then got down to some more serious drinking when we packed up. We ended with a version of Blue Monk so extended that we even played it backwards. And then packed up early..a smallish affair, but surprisingly civil, somewhat musical, and not, therefore, entirely in the B team tradition.

Next week, the Festivalisti may return. Oh joy! Bring charts, enthusiasm and performance anxiety if you must…and don’t believe a word they say.
TW

Meanwhile, in sleepy ole Castlemaine…

The eponymous Jazz Festival done and dusted for another year. The following report was received from a bleary-eyed Captain Chaos.

The Captain’s View

The 6th Castlemaine Jazz festival was held over the long weekend. 46 bands participated in 5 venues to mostly appreciative audiences.

Many regular, past and occasional Jammers were amongst the performers. Malcolm Hornby, Jeff Harris, Peter Ryan, Sala Kord, Gill Sealby, Mac Beshai. Anthony Pell, Sebastian Jago, Mike Hirsh and Ade Ishs. Spotted amongst the audiences were Annie Smith and Lisette Payet. Volunteering his services as a door manager was Bill Swannie. Captain Chaos played, but forgot to include himself in the list.

The event ran smoothly but, with less than half the musicians in town compared to previous years, the festival overall lacked the dynamic atmosphere experienced in the past.

The Inside Goss.

The Captain’s view was one with which, in general, our local snout would concur. Highlights of the Festival included Maggie Jackson, remarkably, packing out the Maurocco Bar – standing room only by all accounts; and Meg Corson fronting the Goldfields Jazz Orchestra to a packed house at the Theatre Royal: both local performers doing well.

The Festival lacked that special “buzz” around the streets, by comparison with previous years. The feature band The Seven Ups could not possibly live up to the hype and didn’t, but showed a lot of energy, which would have pleased the younger crowd, had they turned up in droves. They didn’t. The whiteboard and jam sessions at the Cumberland finished early, with fewer musos. Remarkably, and depending on who tells you, the ticket sales were well up on previous years.

Ah well… a good turn out of Jammers from Melbourne. Well done all round.

It’s Cold, and vaguely Japanese, and the B Team to come…

There is a chill draught wafting through the spider webbed corridors of Bendigo Towers, world headquarters of the Jammers Newsletter and Daily Drivel. Winter is upon us, and the deadline approacheth.

So… what of last weeks Jamarama and Melody Mangling sesh, I hear you ask? Well, I don’t hear you ask ços this is a silent metaphor. We are saving up for the other sort.

Actually, it was all rather fun in a borrowed Mike’s PA kind of way, plenty of good singers, a host of saxophonisti, Laurie back from the brink of dental oblivion, the Captain, Jeff, Alan in a somewhat subdued mood, and just the one Spanish novelist (published, Luis tells me), with Julian on bass.

And then the arvo turned a bit Japanese: apart from Ayako who sensibly didn’t sing and her friend Yuiko, who sensibly did, there was Yûsuke on guitar, and Risa, easily this week’s star vocalist. And she hadn’t forgotten My Mother’s Son in Law, done at the usual breakneck speed. A fun toon.

Drums ably handled by Steve Bray, and Sala, Neil in fine form on guitar, followed of course by a tonsil chorus line – The Debster, Aimee, Annie, Alice (I think) and local Justin. 7 vocalists in total (plus Susie who dropped in later) made for a busy afternoon – well, Malcolm on piano and meself alternating were definitely kept busy.

And the Post was jumpin’! Pretty much a full house all afternoon – there is no doubt that the Jammers rise to the expectations of a crowd.

Next week, all the real musicians (according to them) will be off to Castlemaine or Merimbula for a weekend of strutting their stuff – which means the B team will be left to do their thing at the Post. Either no-one will turn up, or plenty will with the opportunity to play or sing a little more than usual. Could be a disaster of epic proportions.

Bring charts, enthusiasm and performance anxiety if you must…
TW

Sup,Yup, Yep and Nope

Sup? Well, not a lot really,, The Post Hotel seems to score a lot more recognition than the name, location and history would suggest. An easy stroll from Chateau de Ma Missus foregone this week due to a sore back.

So Col and Manager Mike had things well under control by the time I got there, and I amused myself by looking (confused) at all the knobs on Manager Mike’s mixer; whilst the Captain fretted about the lack of one speaker cable. A detail, surely?

Started sans bass player (or another piano player for that matter) at 4.10. Dave Taylor lugged his double in about a minute later, and we were all good to go. The debtser, I think opened the batting or was it the saxogoodie brigade with some obscure three chorder?

Yup: saxoloboddle benefit week, what with the Captain, Jeff H, Alan and later Keef and Stan all having a dip. Some good stuff amongst the lads, and they all took turns and played nicely for the most part.

Yep: Kay sang up a storm, Deb sounded good whilst confusing some of us, and when I say some, I really mean meself. Newcomer Jess was an instant hit, singing You’ve Changed, Dream a Little Dream, and You Go to my Head. Pretty challenging selection first up, but clearly had prior and proved well up to it, other than ducking around the form. Next time, next time, please come again,.

Who else? Carol sang with her trademark warm tone, and managed the rhythm section beautifully – we were getting a bit unruly by this stage. Janine gave me a break and sang with guitar at the end. Sweet.

Drums deftly handled by Alan Richards, Steve Bray back from Queensland as good as new. Neil (guitar) earned some warm praise from the back row and threw in a couple of solos.

Marian, who I have not apparently mentioned three weeks in a row, may have turned up early, and and played some neat recorder. Just thought I’d mention it….

Nope: So…we seemed to go awful late – finished at 7.50, by which stage I had enjoyed a good ten minutes off, slack mongrel…
TW

Castlemaine Jazz Festival is coming up fast -7th – 10th June

https://www.castlemainejazzfestival.com.au/ for all the details. Five venues: McPhee Broadway, Theatre Royal, Run Rabbit Run and Maurocco Bar; with newcomer Castlemaine Senior Citizens Centre plus the Cumberland Hotel whiteboard/jam sessions.

If you are going, grab an early bird ticket before June 6th (on-line) or pay full price at the Box Office, which has moved to the Market Building this year.

Amongst the 49 bands listed, jammers past and present playing (and I am bound to miss a few) include

· Breakout, feat Captain Chaos, Sala Kord (drums)
· West Coast Little Big Band, Captain Chaos, Jeff Harris, Murray Rees (trumpet)
· The PR Project – Malcolm Hornby, Peter Ryan
· G and T Jazz – feat. Gill Sealby, Tiina Ayris and Gill (G and T geddit?)were regulars at The Leinster about 75 years ago
· ade ishs & eMotion Band: Ade Ish, Paul Bonnington on bass. Ade and Paul were occasional jammers at the Leinster.

Of the other bands, I know little, but would like to single out The Ben Charnley Trio – regulars with Nadira Farid at Paris Cat, a class act and well worth a listen.

Merimbula Jazz Festival 7th -10th June

Get all the details at their website: merimbulajazz.org.au/

The standout on this one is that there will be “750 musicians” going, according to the talented but disreputable Roger Clark. – which if only remotely true would make this a helluva festival.

Apart from the usual suspects – Roger’s hottest band featuring David Franklin on piano, Larry Kees and one time jammer Doug Kuhn, there will be Festival regulars Sarah Maclaine, and the Ron Anderson Trio. Also, a complete weekend’s worth of big bands, with the Navy Band to top it off; and a full house of Trad Revival bands. Dave Taylor, who is a regular jammer, will be playing bass in, oh, about 23 bands. Always good…

It is a long way to Merimbula, and just as far back, but give this one a go if you are so inclined.

Was that a good Session? First, some thoughts on the Kafkas

All you really need to know about Franz Kafka is that he died of tuberculosis and was 6 foot tall. Although not necessarily in that order. His sister Ottla may have been an exceptional pianist. Nobody knows for sure, as she didn’t turn up for last Sunday’s jam session either.

Franz was of course famous for his short stories and being a bit of a nutter. Ottla was known for absolutely nothing. Had they both been there, it is highly probable that they would have had little effect upon the Sunday Jam Session, especially as they are both dead. Possibly.

But I digress. You may skip this next bit, as you have already deepened your knowledge of Prague based novelists, etc. etc. and that should be enough education for anyone.

You still here? Good…the session started with, um, some music probably. Kay singing 42, 18, 81 and I can’t remember what other numbers, but it all sounded good. Mr Richards on drums was rather excellent. The Captain, Jeff, Laurie and Keef on saxithingies then exerted their numerical superiority for a bit, Laurie notably smooth on a coupla ballads, before the tonsil artistes took over again. Rose voted the pick of them, or maybe Annie in her first stint at the Post, or Carol directing her band beautifully. First timer Libby got up and sang a coupla toons -seemed to go alright for someone with not very much prior form. Julian alternately flooted, twanged and warbled. Susie just sang.

All about the bass: Dave NN started on bass, then lent his axe to Ivan, who had way too much fun, before newcomer Serge took over on double bass, playing some tidy lines, with watsisname Hirsh, esquire no less, pretty neat on drums… again.

The Wrap: Some time around bedtime, the incomparable Annie Smith sang a coupla riotous toons, amusing herself by getting the guitarists (Neil, then Graham)  tangled up in 3/4 time. Annie insisted on not being called the Divine Miss Smith, and has been on gardening leave. She says. Anyway, if she really is 22 and a half, as she possibly alleges, she would be starting to look a bit frayed round the edges. We had fun. Disregard this paragraph if you prefer….

So…it was, in the end, a rather good session; and if you are still here, triffic, now turn up next Sunday for another go.
TW

Wondering

Often, when wandering into a Sunday Arvo Jam, one wonders. And just as often, one does not. Last Sunday was one of those days when pondering the state of the universe would only become those who were not heaving the gear up and down the stairs, and wondering, where are the speaker stands?

After the previous week’s quiet one, this time we stepped into the Mother’s Day luncheons, and a bar that was already fullish. We started as soon as we had gone round each table to apologise for the appalling racket we had in contemplation.

Only it didn’t quite turn out that way: a brisk Comin’ Home Baby to settle the crowd, Jeff and the Captain smooth on saxibles, then we were away with all sorts of singers – Deb, Jane, Susie, Kevin, Kay now back in Melbourne for good. Whose good, she neglected to say, but singing better than ever, according to the seasoned salts.

As a busy, noisy afternoon wore on, guitar from Fermin and Neil, fine cameos from Julian (floot and abacus) Huich (violin), meself and young Malcolm on keys, and an admirable line up of Russell, Alan R, Sala and Mr Hirsh esq. on the slap, rattle and thump department.

Really, the music was as good as the PA was a mess – the Captain kept busy most of the afternoon tweaking the knobs, and tuning the sound system in between. We eventually diagnosed a dodgy speaker lead having the afternoon off. (Factory Sound in South Melbourne have fixed it already.)

19 musos, with the afternoon stolen by Marley, see above pic she is the smaller one, on percussion and scene stealing, the Hirsh on Sunny Side of the Street, and a wrap up by Janine – Aint Misbehavin’ in G. Good grief! ‘Twas all good – let’s do it again, next time with speaker stands, and no dodgy leads…

Toodlepip!
TW