The Leinster Arms Jam session: less is more

Or more is less. One might think that after more than ten years of writing drivel about the jam sessions, there might be an emerging consensus as to what makes a session as enjoyable as this latest mangle session turned out to be.

It didn’t start well: weather as cold as a mother in law’s kiss, the Council had ripped up the pavement and put a fence round the footpath, so you couldn’t get in, Glen away, all of three desperate regulars in the front bar, and absolutely no one to keep drummer Michael Findlay company as he unloaded the drum set.

Eventually the Captain, Neil and meself set about moving tables, chairs, benches and jammers equipment into place, plugged it all in, Laurie the sax warmed up, regaled us with tales of taking a fall in the night (see footnote), and Piers turned up with his double bass. We started making a bit of noise to keep ourselves warm.

The ingredients of a successful jam? It continues to elude us, which was probably a good thing – but maybe less musos who all get plenty of space to shine at the toons they mangled has a bit to do with it. For whatever reason, it turned out a convivial afternoon, plenty of good solos from Laurie and Folker, Brian waiting patiently for a turn on the tonsils, all of us getting lost, the Captain finding some swing tunes at the back of his book. In the middle of which Jeremiah turned in some hot playing with a banjo and a trumpet, though not, mercifully, at the same time.

Highlights, you may ask? There didn’t need to be many, but the rhythm section of Findlay, Neil (guitar) Jeremiah (banjo) and Piers (double bass) put in a delightful romp (sans piano and saxophones) through a few standards, we played a serviceable Mr PC (at Volker’s request), Laurie picked out a Keith Jarrett ballad whose name escapes me, and we couldn’t decide if apologies were due to Keith or Laurie first.

A quieter session, and we all went home at 6.30 because the piano player was knackered.

Very satisfying. See ya next week?

The Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood, will be back on Sunday 22nd April at 4.00pm.

Laurie’s fall: he says it was a dark night and an unfamiliar room to blame. Of course we all assumed he’d been 100% hammered. No damage done, although strangely, he played rather well.

Piers’double bass: asked him where he trained: turns out he is a self taught bass player. Struth!

Jeremiah’s trumpet and banjo: last came to a jam session at the Royal Standard Hotel. Asked him where he studied: VCA and NMIT. Not surprised.

The Jam session: 15 Musos with nothing better to do

The Leinster Arms Hotel
Well, a quiet day for a change, in the Chateau de Leinster, and 15 musos (and you may treat the term with derision if you wish) all neatly lined up to take their turn (hah!) in mangling a fine selection of toons. We even played a Peter Ryan original, but we were getting desperate by then.

Fine cameo by Trev on piano, Fermin and Neil on guitars, and a welcome return by Michael Findlay on drums, followed by Bill, the Captain and later a coupla solos from Will on saxaphone, much improved and improvised, before Malcolm took over the keys. Bassist Pierce played solidly all afternoon, and got the bass sound right: he held the rhythm section admirably together. Black Nile a standout that flew well above the audience’s heads, then the Debster and Kevin on vocals. After which point, some of us wandered out into the warm air of an autumnal evening, and the remaining musos probably ramped it up until the dancing on the tables died down, and they all left when the pub ran out of beer.

Or not as the case may be. Well, probably not…

The Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood, will definitely be back on Sunday 15th April at 4.00pm

Madge: the news from Refinery Terrace

It has been quiet of late, in West Altona’s leafiest suburban street. What a pity there are no trees to go with it. After the debacle with Rotten Ronnie Junior, of which the less said the better, Madge has taken to her room, with only a cask port and a catering pack of Winnie Blues to sustain her. There may have been the occasional foray to the Strangled Parrot, West Altona’s first and last licensed cabaret venue, but not many matelots get that far these days . . . and even fewer get back.

Hortense on the other hand, has been lurking about the jazz bars and live music venues of Melbourne, generally keeping to herself, or not, as the case may be. She may well have been sitting outside the Gold Street Gossip shop enjoying the music, but that would have been on Easter Sunday.

The Leinster Arms Hotel

Jazz this Sunday April 8th from 4.00pm.

After last Sunday’s brief pause. Many thanks to the people who read the Jammers Newsletter and didn’t turn up, and to Mike Hirsh who didn’t read the newsletter, and did. Extra solo for him next session which is on April 8th

The Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood, will definitely be back on Sunday 8th April at 4.00pm


Castlemaine Jazz Festival 2018

Found some flyers on the tables: the first sighting of publicity for the Jazz Festival, and in the only room in Victoria where everyone has aready heard of it. Never mind, the juggernaut is, we are assured, gathering pace.

April starts with a whimper – NO JAM SESSION ON EASTER SUNDAY good lord!

I walked in to the Gold Street Gossip shop, bang on time, to be greeted by a fine selection of old friends – Marg and Mark Allen brung along a table or two, Steve Bray setting up his drums, Land lord Glen in jovial mood and a bunch of regular musos. Seems like the return to form of the jam of the previous week, and then some. Only thing lacking was a train wreck or two, but we can fix that later. Continue reading

“the more things change, the more they stay the same”

Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Well, he never turned up at a Jam Session anyway. It has been some time since I last wrote for the Jammers Newsletter, being rudely interrupted by the need for a little light surgery. Wandered in to the Gold Street Gossip Shop , exhausted after a long (for me) waddle down Johnston Street, at 4.00pm sharp, to be greeted by a guitarist (1), a keyboard, the good Captain with his saxophone, no drums, no bass and an exceptionally good drummer (2). Continue reading