Is it true that Bird’s Basement has a Jam Session?
Let us know if you have been.
Is it true that Bird’s Basement has a Jam Session?
Let us know if you have been.
Illness, overseas trips and busy life styles have all contributed to the lack of a newsletter over the last three weeks. However, the jams have continued to successfully function every Sunday at the Leinster Arms with the usual low and highlights.
Last Sunday 5 Saxophonists, 4 pianists, 3 guitarists 3 drummers and single bassist were joined by Annie Smith on vocals. A diverse range of numbers were performed from some thirties classics, a number of fifties jazz standards to a Joe Zawinul’s Money in the Pocket. The gong of the day must go to the single bassist who risked serious RSI by playing almost continually for four hours.
Not your usual correspondent
On Thursday I heard the entertaining late set from tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt at Bird’s Basement (with the bonus of Sydney trumpeter Warwick Alder guesting on two tunes). He pointed out that this Saturday marks John Coltrane’s birth date, for what would have been his 90th birthday, and he intended to celebrate it with a “special tribute show” (With his dynamic pianist, Benito Gonzalez, heavily indebted to McCoy Tyner’s concepts, and Wyatt an authentic “out-of-the-tradition” stylist and “down home” leader, it should be a very worthwhile experience).
Last week we had Coltrane’s surviving son, Ravi Coltrane’s Quartet at Bird’s, after their Australian debut there last March. On this visit this group was far more dynamic, powered by the great drumming of Johnathan Blake. With the interplay between Coltrane and Blake (sometimes as a duo), one could not help but be reminded of the approach and template created by the great partnership between John Coltrane and Elvin Jones.
I was extremely fortunate to hear both McCoy Tyner (1978) and Elvin Jones (1984) still in prime form as bandleaders, and in venues that Coltrane performed in: The Village Gate, and The Village Vanguard. While both groups delivered truly inspiring performances, one realised that this only gave an inkling of what a Coltrane Quartet concert performance was to experience. On his 2005 MIJF visit, Wayne Shorter told a story of most of the Jazz Messengers band going to see the Coltrane Quartet during their set break, and becoming so mesmerised that they did not return in time for their second set. The club owner came down to bring them back, but he too became entranced and forgot about the time!
Realising that this year marked 50 years since his passing (on July 17, 1967), it is revelatory how powerful and relevant his music remains. We are fortunate that the Impulse label provided him so much studio time, and kept all of the unreleased recordings. The official Coltrane website is a great resource to check out (especially the audio of his interviews). Visit it here. Billboard covered the range of events marking Trane’s 90th. here
(*Martin Jackson is editor of the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative’s journal)
A quiet week, the ed still away, but you can learn about mid 19th century paedophiles, trainwrecks and triumphs
All of which is only more or less riveting than a boiler makers yard, and just as interesting as all the other e-mails you read every morning instead of working
Which neatly sums up the quiet little Jam Session that took place last Sunday. Plenty of opportunity to gyre and gimble, and none missed. A smaller bunch of jammers than usual (17) concocted a variety of tempo, and tones. And then had them altered at random.
All of which made for the usual gossip-mongering over a refreshing social lubricant, munchies from Glen, and the early departure of several rather good musos.
And the orchestra played on…
Colonel T Fourth Punjab Light Horse (retd)
Bill the beanpole,
the Hirsh (pleads not guilty)
Roger De Coverley’s distant relation,
(will plead not guilty if we find a chart for it)
The Late Annie Smith,
In summary “A curate’s egg”…not the greatest Jam Session by any means, the occasional trainwreck, the occasional triumph – society is to blame
At least that all bodes well for next week .
See Ya Sunday?
Twas brillig...Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Rugby School, 1846
A Curate’s Egg The origin of the phrase is the George du Maurier cartoon “True Humility”, printed in the British satirical magazine Punch, on 9th November 1895.
But it might as well be… this was an upmarket little jam session, characterised by early and mighty fine bebop, followed by a parade of singers. All bound together by the indefatigable Ivan (double bass), playing all afternoon, and playing well at that.
The Captain, Volkers, Will and Jeff led the rattle and squeak section, with Mr Findlay leading out the drummers. A fairly new guitarist, possibly called Haydn, played well; and Nadira Farid’s bassist (Hayden?) gave Ivan the briefest of respites whilst the Big Ho’s finest warmed her tonsils for that night’s gig. Preceded by the Divine Miss Smith, and followed by Chloe, then Katerina. Sam Izzo (piano) mercifully restored some dignity to proceedings.
All up, around 20 musos got up and had a dip, the Captain came back with good reports of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival AGM (see below), and the Spring weather is starting to come good.
Quiz of the week
This week, we are going to cock it up comprehensively. Should be a bust. If you want a venue so packed it is standing room only, ask the landlord to put the chairs back.
See ya Sunday?
Castlemaine Jazz Festival Committee for 2018
Around 30 members attended the Castlemaine Jazz Festival AGM, and elected a new Committee for 2018. And a good mixture of musicians, locals and business smarts is the result.
President: Calum McClure
Vice President: Chris Hain
Treasurer: Janet Cropley
Secretary: Elle Pedersen
Fashionably late, I staggered through the door of the Gold Street Gossip shop in time to hear Curtis, Colonel T, Captain Chaos, Fermin, Findlay, Steve Bray and/or Bill and the motley crew tweak some irretrievable version of a Monk tune (name withheld to protect the guilty) before settling down to listen to Lisette bring some calm and disorder to the proceedings. I then retired to the back bar for a bit of a gossip with POCKOTL
There is a satisfyingly predictable trajectory to the jam session which sees the singers take over around 6pm and this session was no different: Kev, a newcomer and then Manal back and singing with confidence. Chloe smoking a version of At Last. She then called for Girl From Ipanema which guitarist (Bradon/Brayden/Baden well maybe just guitarist ) enlivened by injecting the Sailors Hornpipe or Looney Tunes theme, maybe both, into his solo. Nice one.
Another Sunday, another jam – it was good to get back, enjoy some good music and some good trainwrecks. Props to Col T (retd.) for carrying his bat.
This week, Free Beer at Bar Prices. See ya Sunday?
What’s On, where, when, why not…
Saturday: Castlemaine Jazz Festival AGM
Sunday: Melbourne Jazz Jammers Session No 481, at the Chopper Read Ballroom
Sunday: Castlemaine Jazz Jam Session, at the Maurocco Bar
And if you survive that lot, you might want to listen to some music. Don’t know where though..
I recently had a wonderful experience as a participant at Jazz Port Townsend in Washington, U.S.A., a weeklong jazz workshop and festival. It was a truly inspiring experience to meet, study with, and hear a faculty of world class jazz musicians in a lovely semi-rural setting at Fort Woden, Port Townsend which is an historic small town about 2 hours’ drive north of Seattle. There was a full range of abilities among the participants, who included about 50% youngsters of jaw-dropping calibre, but plenty of adults ranging from enthusiastic amateurs like myself to pro musicians. Highly recommended!
This is coming up in a week’s time: Saturday 2nd September at 11am in the Chewton Community & Senior Citizens’ Centre, Main Road Chewton
If you are a member of the Association, you should have received a proxy form to fill in. The good Captain will be attending, naturally, and the Melbourne Jammers’ interests will be best served by giving him your proxy . If you cannot attend, please fill in the form and return it to him
Some of you may have noticed that jazz jam reports for the last couple of weeks have been flawlessly written with impeccable spelling, for which we apologise (again).
So, last week’s jam saw a turn out of 19 musos, although this was counted by the good Captain Chaos, so any number between minus 23 and 108 could be more accurate. And a fun time was had by all, mostly. We had the usual spread of good musicians who wanted to encourage the others, good musicians who wanted to push the lesser lights off so we could admire their virtuosity unhindered, fairly good musicians who ruined it by playing over, under or alongside other soloists, but expected others not to, inexperienced musicians who simply wanted to try out, maybe learn a bit, and musicians who managed to have a good time without any of the above.
All musicians though…
Meanwhile, back at Refinery Terrace, Madge from Altona is planning a trip to the High Court to see if she can snaffle a New Zealander having a bad day, and Hortense has now spent a good few hours at the Municipal Library attempting to update her enrolment details with the AEC. Apparently this has been quite slow, although that maybe because she is mistakenly in the Altona West Technology Museum, and Commodore 64’s are not the ideal weapon for updating your age from 40+ to 23. She is going to vote yes, but only because she always says yes to everything.
I really must get to the Jam this Sunday. You too?
Tip of the week: Do not obsess needlessly about playing things right! Playing the right notes out of tune has about the same effect as playing the wrong ones in tune.
the first Sunday of the month is rapidly approaching…
Taariq Hassam ( Mr. T. )
The Sheltered workshop for the tone deaf and the rhythmically challenged had another jam session. It happened at the Leinster arms last Sunday.
Many songs that were highly predictable were ruined in new and unpredictable ways.
The most interesting piece of music that looked promising on paper was mangled into the train wreck of the week . I speak of “ Seven Steps to Heaven”, the Miles Davis tune.
The most musical moment may have been a good version of “Nardis “ , also a Miles Davis piece. It nearly sounded like Jazz! , with this scribe on piano , Chico on Guitar and others were also present who were too talented or amazing to be described at all , even by name.
Many people turned up, tuned up and joined in. They included Pip on Viola and Violin. On Drums we had: Michael; Matt; Bill; Manny and the swinging Andre. On Bass we had :Pete Ponytail and this scribe taking it in turns on the electric bass guitar. On Piano Gentleman John Curtis played a solid bracket or two as well as your humble correspondent and some proficient tinkling from Kay.
Guitarists were not in short supply including : Fermin; Neil; Vlad ; Chico and Sir Not Appearing in this report. On Reeds and other ‘ blow in one end and hear the sound coming out the other end’ type instruments we had the usual chaos from Captain Chaos plus Jeff on Alto and Will on Tenor Sax.
Vocalists with their often inexplicably banal and hackneyed choices of songs included : the very lovely Chloe; Kylie and Susie. The bespectacled warbler Kevin also trotted out some pre Crimean war jazz standards and a late appearance from Ms. Annie Smith meant that
“All or nothing at all “
was not just a song and a chart but the reality in terms of anyone in the band really knowing what the effing hell was going on.
One must mention Tim on trumpet. There I have mentioned him.
Ted “ Anything after 1835 is Bebop “ Woollan was not there and the jam still went ahead regardless.
Overall it was not a bad jam session that started out with a small and subtle approach and ended up louder ,bigger and less nuanced as the proceedings unfolded.
I will be up on the wintery and snowy Mt. Bogong( 1986 M. ) in N.E. Victoria next week so enjoy the lack of an overconfident multi-instrumentalist muscling in on every song, on nearly every instrument (including the spoons with a rack of effects).