So You missed it….

In case you turned up, or in case you didn’t, the Junktion Hotel was closed on Sunday 10th, sadly for the staff to attend a funeral. Dodgy Dave clearly had the week from hell, but is bouncing back…Apologies if you didn’t get a phone call or an e-mail – the Captain was at Port Fairy Jazz Festival and I was somewhere around Bandar Seri Begawan, the most exciting airport in the free world.

Rose (sing next time please) and the Debster (sing anytime please)

All of which meant that we put some effort into getting a decent turn out for last week’s session (Sunday 17th Feb if you are as confused as I am). If you are not confused, read on and we will do our best..

Back in the Groove

Last Sunday’s session ripped. The Port Fairy heroes, or most of them, returned – generally playing better than ever as a result, and by the end of the arvo, we had 26 musos get up and boogie – including a cameo from the elderly Mr Clark (sax), no less than 8 drummers, ranging from Russell the Hustle through the smooth Swannie, via Alan in a loud mood, Sala as good as ever, Mr Hirsh (also sang Sunny Side of the Street) Ponta, Tom (?) and David with a closing cameo from Andre.

Which pretty much set the tone for the afternoon. Entertaining sets from singers Jane, Carol, Debbie, Ann Hayres, Kevin (smooth as) and Rose H, back in the groove… all drowned out on occasion by saxophones with the Captain, Laurie and Jeff redeeming themselves with the highlight of the day –

Highlight of the day: Killer Joe, featuring bassist Dave NNY playing the best we have heard him ably supported/guided by Neil.

If I haven’t mentioned Julian, Marion Lustig, Ponytail Pete or a healthy audience it is because they were all good too. Lisbeth promised to sing The Old Country (Nat Adderley, ) …. probably by 2028 or earlier. Can’t wait.

A fun , if exhausting afternoon, plenty of variety and more musos than usual.

Next week Come along! We will be planning the next featured singer series, trying to catch up on the planning for the upcoming Q Festival now slated for 2nd and 3rd of November 2019. Keen afficionados of something or other may recognise this as the date vacated by Wangaratta, and just before the Melbourne Cup.

Next Jam at the Junktion Hotel: Sunday 24th February, 4.00pm start,

The Junktion Hotel, 99 High Street, South Kew – the Hotel is on the corner of Kew Junction. Public parking is available on Studley Park Road, or behind the Mercedes dealer/behind the High Street Shops off Fenton Street from High St, Kew.

It has been a busy week in jazz. See ya Sunday?

The Missing Jam session review and the Madge Memoirs

It is with some concern that I realise that the newsletter won’t write itself. And silence from the erstwhile reliable Captain Chaos who was, as I understand it, a super star of the Port Fairy Jazz Festival, (last weekend) or a burnt out supernova or something in between.

Captain C has not therefore supplied any guidance as to the goings on or off at the Junk in his absence.


Madge, as it turned out, had offered to supply a suitable memoire in lieu. But ran out of paper and didn’t own a pen. Miss Hortense, as is often the case, was of no help either. If one or two of those upstanding denizens of West Altona don’t get crumpet for tea or sailors for supper there may be hell to pay.

Il Duce
Whatever happened to what’s his face?

Perhaps the readers of this august organ, (and you both know who you are), may care to make up a suitable jam session review for yourselves. Or perhaps if we take snippets of the usual drivel from the past 350 or so newsletters and paste them randomly together, we may concoct an account only marginally less coherent than usual.

Whatever. I shall be at the next jam session, at 4.00pm on Sunday 17th February, with jet lag. I look forward to seeing all six of the regulars/desperates there and hearing all your adventures.



51.3489° N, 1.9948° W until tomorrow

Wangaratta cancelled for 2019

The 2019 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues has been cancelled. This follows the resignation of co-artistic director Adam Simmons and before that the departure of long term festival managers, Nolan Media. Doubtless the $100,000 bail out of last year’s festival by the local council, though not disclosed at the time, was an indication of what was to come.

read more here . . .

IN RECESS: The Wangaratta Jazz Festival won't be held in 2019 after a ratepayer contribution of $100,000 saved the event last year.

Breaking News:

Wangaratta cancelled for 2019

Port Fairy Jazz next week

Not many lunatics at the Junk this week

First things first: Wangaratta Jazz Festival has been cancelled for this year.

Wang has been a bit of a fixture for the Melbourne Jazz Jammers for the last few years, with the jam sessions at the Bulls Head and at the market sessions, and a number of jammers playing on the Community stage over the years.

Breaking News: Port Fairy Jazz next week

Fri, 8 Feb 2019 – Sun, 10 Feb 2019

One wonders whether PFJ is becoming the new Wang – a huge number of bands playing, lots of Jammers making the trip and a great week-end all round. What’s not to like?

read more . . .


Breaking News: Not many lunatics at the Junk this week

According to the Captain… a very quiet session -possibly due to a very hot day last Sunday (41 deg C at 4.00pm). Malcolm the only keyboard player. Jeff, Will and the Captain on Saxophones, Salah, Steve and John Perry on Drums. Samara, Jane, Anne and Miriam (from Norway) vocalised. Pete on Bass and Vlad, Brian Paulusz and Neil on guitars.

Actually, that seems like a pretty good line–up to me. Brian Paulusz doesn’t come to the jams much but used to be a regular. Much improved going by his smooth session with Janet Arndt at the Ballarat AJC.

Samara used to sing in a duo, and is getting back into it. First time at a jam session.

Miriam from Norway is continuing the recent run of overseas contributors. One wonders where they hear of the Jam sessions from. We have had readers from 25 different countries in 2018.

Only the truly dedicated lunatics would front for a jam in 41 deg.c, and this session was a marvellous opportunity to find out who they were. I stayed home…. and missed this week’s highlight: Little Sunflower. I find the that a little hard to believe, but clearly John Perri’s latin drumming lifts even the most repetitive of tunes to a new level.

A mixed week of news, what with Wang, Port Fairy, and a quiet(ish) jam session. See ya soon.
not your (un)usual correspondent with assistance from the inimitable TW

The session on 20th January; an update with your name in it…

How did you score on last week’s template? We may have been inundated with email submissions. The glowing report from Captain Chaos has arrived in icy downtown Devizes and it seems most of you got it either right or wrong as usual. Or I did, whichever you prefer…

The session was remarkable for the number of international visitors: Alex from Germany (he was a star at the first Castlemaine Jazz Festival and well remembered) and Jeremy from France, who is here for a little longer and will hopefully front up again. Possibly. Ditto Yuseke (guitar) who is here from Japan to study English. And plays a mean guitar. In Japanese, but hey, who is counting?

All that and the regulars – Malcolm, Jeff, (sax) Pete and Dave (bass department) with contributions from Paul Phillips (drummer from way back) and late arrivals Will and Vlad.


The Captain doesn’t say if Jeff Harris sang, or danced on the table, or played a great version of When Sunny gets Blue, but we must assume anything is possible…

The Shame File:

Apparently Desafinado (João Gilberto) is a bossa,. Anyone listening to the jammers version would realise that the secret is quite safe…

Next week: will be an absolute ripper. I know this because I already have the Chaos files on the session. 24 musos! Phew!

Last week’s session: what a ripper

Wow, that came around quick. So…. twenty four musos fronted for a session de luxe at the Dodgy Dave’s Disco-rama and snack bar. Still ensconced in the Wltshire bleak midwinter, so I did’nt front – yet again. I am indebted to Captain Chaos for his summary.

The Drummers: Outdid the previous record of six drummers, although only just. Steve Bray, Hirsh, Bill Swannie (the regulars) joined by the likes of Alan Richards, Phunta (?) Michael Cameron and Anton’s mate. They were all good.

Keys: The usual Malcolm, Curtis the Debonair and Geoff (who is this month’s tip for most improved muso of 2019) as well as Jonathon Harvey, who I don’t know… must have ducked out for that one. As ever, the pianists were better looking, more intellectual and more modest than all the others.

Vocals: what a line-up! Carol, Jane, Brigid, the Debster, then Ann Hayres for afters.

The saxopholologists. Damn typewriter. After last week’s European invasion, just the Captain and Jeff H on the front line. Not sure what they played, but all spiffin’.

The stringy bits: Peter, Dave,and Anton on bass stringy bits, Neil, Yuseke and Fermin on twangly things. Rhythm Section the driving force behind the session – all the others are Prima Donnas. At least some of the time.

One more week for me in Pommieland, and then the Jammers Newsletter will once again feature reality.



As the appointed hour for last Sunday’s Jam session rolled around, I couldn’t help noticing that I wasn’t in Kew. I also couldn’t help noticing that it was colder than a witches wotsit.

There may well have been a jam session last Sunday, just not within earshot., seeing I was in the cold (very cold) heart of Devizes. I am not quite sure where that is either because I keep forgetting to ask when stumbling out of a pub. Or three.

I, and your good self, are both left to speculate on the Good Captain’s glowing description of the day’s proceedings. Which hasn’t yet arrived. And you may fill in the following all purpose emergency template © . This should be e-mailed to melbournejazzjammers as soon as possible.

The Session was: (delete as applicable)
· loud,
· quiet but confident
· spectacular,
· non existent,

The audience
· would have loved it
· There was no audience
· Somewhere in between

The rhythm section
· carried the day
· carried the drinks
· there was no rhythm section
· there was stuff all rhythm

The saxophones
· were all remarkably quiet, I couldn’t hear them from Wiltshire…. maybe the wind was in the wrong direction. Lift yer game, Lads!
· They never played a wrong note
· They never played a right note
· They played bebop all day
· all of the above, depending on who you talk to.

The session started
· late
· slightly late
· slightly later still
· just before Annie got there

and finished much, much later, when Captain Chaos ran out of notes…

© Jammers newsletter World Headquarters Bendigo Towers, the legal department.

The First Jam Session of 2019…

… was a blast, with 27 musos getting up, and over 50 peeps in the room. We never really know if anyone is going to turn up for the first session of the year, but if this sets the tone for the next few sessions, we are in for a busy one.


The Captain and Laurie

Amongst the highlights..

Drummers: Steve Bray, Salah, Andre, Mike Hirsh, John Perri, Dave from Indonesia and gawd knows who else. The most drummers we have ever had at a jam session


Mr Hirsh esq., played beautifully, bitched about the sound quality

Singers: The Debster, Nancy (new comer), Jane, Carol, hell, they were all good… and Brigid De Neefe to cap it all off.


Bassists: Pete, Anton, Kip, Bunter, Dan McLachlan, Dave. Yup…

Saxopholists: The Captain to kick off, then Jeff Harris in good form – Don’t Get Around Much Any more, Laurie Savage a blast on When Sunny Gets Blue

Piano: Meself, Malcolm turned up just as I was getting exhausted, then Lisette. What a refined bunch…

Geetar: Neil, Fermin and Dan’s offsider whose name I didn’t get, newcomer Yusuk every bit as good as the regulars.

Sound: started a bit scratchy and didn’t seem to get any better. Too loud and unbalanced. Back to the drawing board. Mike H (secret sound engineer by day time) suggested some drapes might make it a bit more controllable. Put the idea to Dodgy Dave (who, by the way, had a great afternoon) who will put it past his wife, Mrs Dodgy Dave. We listen, mike!


Susie and Anton

In conclusion: Good start to the year!: every man and his dog turned up – and stayed. Props to POCKOTL, Rod and Bette, Susie, and all the others in the audience. We put more effort than usual into advertising (Melband), promoting (Facebook and the Newsletter) and cajoling (telephone, mainly). It was a fun and busy afternoon, ending with the Debster scraping Captain Chaos off the ceiling so we could conduct a Committee meeting for the upcoming mini Festival (I think we have settled on 7th and 8th of December 2019 ) – put it in your diary and start thinking of excuses so you don’t have to volunteer…


Rose (sing next time please) and the Debster (sing anytime please)

With stuff like that going on, ya wouldn’t be dead for quids…


73rd Australian Jazz Convention: the last Hurrah

This is Australia’s longest running Jazz Festival, and comprises musicians and audience of equal enthusiasm, with a strong emphasis on Trad jazz, and a leavening of more contemporary bands. From 26th – 31st of December, there were a pleasing number of familiar faces from the Melbourne Jazz Jammers – Col, Steve Bray, Annie, Ponytail Pete, John Calamatta, Ashley Thompson, Brian Paulusz and Keith Hughes amongst them, and some alarmingly older musos, who all seemed to have fun.

Quite a few of the 241 listed musicians played in up to ten bands. Quite what this does to the standard of music is open to question, but the backbone of the Convention is musicians getting together, learning from each other, swapping yarns, and staying fit by running from one venue to another.

We managed to see Annie in action with Tim Nelson – Annie and the Latin Lovers. Intriguing selection of jazz standards, and middle European folk songs – in the cavernous George hotel back room – Annie with energy to burn, and an entertaining set. Marek Podstawek a standout .

Then back to see Barry Law pilot Indigo Jazz Band through a sweet set of standards, before the Katerina Myskova Quartet stepped up, but with singer Michelle Gigliotti as a replacement for La Myskova who had called in sick. Michelle hadn’t sung a full set for 22 years, neither Pete (bass) nor Bill (drums) had sighted any of her charts before we started, and both rose to the occasion, with Pete absolutely nailing Michelle’s selection of bluesy standards. Seemed to go down well.

Friday: back in Melbourne, in disgrace as we missed both of Col’s sets with Jaz Stutely in Cheap Frills. Saturday, another 5.30am start and printed/wrote out another ten charts for the lads. After catching a sweet set of standards from JAQ Plus, Janet Arndt singer, and Keith Hughes and Brian Paulusz amongst them, we played a second session (Michelle again). Cooler day, warmer audience, went well. Then listened to Shades of Blue – another fine set on the balcony, with Steve Bray on drums.

Next Year’s AJC.

This was the last hurrah for the (exhausted) committee. The Ballarat Jazz Club probably has the friendliest volunteers of any Festival, ably wrangled by Bobby Ballinger and others, – I caught up with the Ballinger lugging a step ladder around, which is the typical lot of any Committee member!

The AJC is , as I am advised, holding the next Convention in Albury,

All in all, a splendid Convention. Well done Ballarat!

Ballarat Jazz Club

The Next Jam Session 11 Years of mediocrity and still counting…

Hope you had a suitably jolly, politically non-correct, festive season, ate too much, drank too much, argued with the mother in law, kicked the dog gently, or did absolutely SFA, as the mood took you.

To help you recover, the Jam Sessions, rashly, are starting again on January 13th, when the desperates at least, and possibly a few other desultory souls, will be gathering at the Junktion Hotel, for an exploratory session of blowing the cobwebs out of the horns, tweaking the G String for the first time in ages, and charging heedless of the consequences into another Year of Trainwrecks, mangled Ballads, and b*ggered up Bebop.

Should be a laugh, hope to see you there…