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 →

Down the bass rabbit hole with Ivan


Some samples from Ivan Sultanoff, regular jammer, occasional ski instructor. We have added some youtube url’s of each player – picked at random, but they are all addictive …

Just a few tips for bass players to look up, for instance for electric bass, look up on YouTube the following :

Scott’s bass lessons, deals with famous bass lines of various hotshot bass players, explains and shows bass lines in sections slow,up to speed , you can sign up.

John Patitucci- superb stuff on electric and upright bass, you can look up various clinics, I met John twice,had a good bass chat and was in one of his clinics in person and discovered he studied classical bass with my teacher I had at Guildhall School. …….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrDGVIdFLC4

Christian Mc Bride- upright bass phenomenal playing, again lots of material on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhsi_p-KSG4

Niels-Osted Pederson- Christian Mc Bride playing Bye Bye Blackbird , just go through the clips

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ne51BFpF9M

Richard Bona- electric bass, this guy is an absolute comedian on bass in a good sense of word, his playing is just something, met him in person- nice guy, witty, funny bass nut…..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu-bjr1leM4

Joe Zawinul Syndicate is a groove orientated band with some serious keyboard and percussion stuff, he used Bona, Pastorius, Williams, Bailey etc as bass players, once you start going through all this you might be amazed at what you find.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppNFJbMrOHw

Stanley Clarke-both upright and electric, wonderful stuff

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVmSgMNnplk

MarcusMiller- slap bass – no need to comment, just find him and get upset how fantastic slapper he is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zLDE63vBIk

Victor Wooten- the list goes on, good luck with all that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI5tKrtazyw

If anyone wishes to communicate further , don’t hesitate —

Huich Bar Ousso, and whatever happened to the Junk

And this received from our regular violinist, who has been getting out and about.

“I haven’t been doing too much jazz lately, I got slightly distracted by some other music to learn. I’ve been getting back into a bit of folk fiddling Irish, and old-time but the americaness of it makes me feel a bit of an outsider., more so than other music – maybe it’s because I attended this online music camp that is usually held in Florida and the Americans talk about it like one knows everything about America. Just trying to keep my fingers in action. It’ll be so good to play with people again, doing recordings really doesn’t cut it!

I was lucky enough to play at Bar Oussou on the eve of Stage 3 restrictions. Actually I went there to support my friends because by that time they were locking down individual suburbs and I thought that they would have a hard time getting an audience. Then they invited me to play with them and it was a really beautiful night. Here is a clip of what we did:

https://www.facebook.com/BarOussou/videos/292256951977364/

Please take care, and definitely will see you one day, it’s a question of when not if.”

Best wishes,

Huich

ps: I happened to go by the Junktion Hotel 2 days ago and the building has been sold! Unbelievable!

Pete goes metaphysical…

Pete Micevski has been a bass stalwart and regular jammer for years, one of few who have carried their bat for a full session

What day is it? Are we still in 2020? … all I can say is wow, looks like we are headed into a new matrix (reality) after this Lock-Down ends, and I don’t mean that lightly, I say hold on folks, because this Lock-Down might just be the precursor of what’s to come. Crazy isn’t it?

How is everyone? I hope you are all doing well and staying safe. Finally, musicians get that precious time needed to practice (there needs to be some positivity in this pandemic) and I’m sure you’re probably doing just that, and have been running those fingers, hands and tonsils a million miles an hour.

However, I’d like to share some things about music that may help you along your journey of development, a different spice….

Stop all that practising and playing … yes you heard me right stop. Have a break people, from music. Space and not playing anything is probably more important than consistently playing … life is the same, we need a break, this gives us that time to reflect. Music is the same, we need to reflect on what we’re playing and doing this in real time is probably the hardest thing of all, taking that break gives us time and space to discover the undiscovered.

Here is an exercise for the daring,

  • Week 1, don’t play your instrument for one week, don’t even think about it
  • Week 2, don’t play your instrument another week, this time only think about the various things you where working on or what you could work on
  • Week 3, get back to playing your instrument, observe and reflect on that feeling

Stop listening to all that jazz – when it come to music “the world is your oyster”. When you branch out to what you normally wouldn’t listen to, there is so much to discover. Closing yourself off from the world of music is not healthy, by expanding your music horizon you stand to expand your music vocabulary. Learning songs other than jazz helps us better discover our voices, as our voices are built through the notes we select to play.

So, stop playing start discovering and grow

Peace

Pete

CONFESSIONS OF A CHARTAHOLIC

By LUIS CHACÓN

I have a confession to make: my name is Luis, and I am a “chartaholic”. I depend on charts to play music. I know that it is a shame for a musician that is trying to play jazz, but this is my personal and pathetic truth. And I need to acknowledge it before I try to heal it. My guilt is enormous, gigantic. My shame, bigger than me. I used to walk into the jam sessions sliding like a snake, with my soprano in one hand and my iPad in the other. Yes, my iPad!, my sin!!, the place where all my charts are stored!

It all started when I was a musically illiterate kid in the fascist Spain of the early sixties. You know? Those guys killed people, killed culture and killed education. Spain was a wasteland and we didn’t know it.

One day, visiting uncle Arturo, there was a piano and, by I don’t know what sort of accident, I got interested on it, managed to make some sort of sense of the keyboard to come up with some poor one-finger melodies. My father caught me on that suspicious activity and, instead of punishing me, he sent me to the Conservatory (for some weird reason we had one on the middle of the dictatorship, something to do with the education of the aristocracy, I believe).

And that was the beginning of the end. By then, I was playing a bit of recorder and a bit of guitar, all by ear and self-taught (not in the school, off course, there we hadn’t such weird subjects). And I could even sing in tune! But then came literacy to fuck it up. You want to know what was my first and biggest sin? I’ll tell you: to believe the teachers that told me that the music was that weird written thing on the paper. Since then, I made a terrible effort to forget my ears and my instinct, put on the corset of sol-fa and start musically dying slowly for the rest of my life.

Now I am a literate, sol-fa-ed, fat-ass, white man, trembling in front of a music stand, trying to make sense of charts, while I fight back my instincts, my ear and whatever debris of talent that may have survived my education. Pathetic, I tell you.

But I also have some good news (top secret this one): I have learned to let my intuition fly over the charts up to the point that most of the time, when I improvise, I feel like that illiterate kid and play by ear. Don’t tell anyone in the Conservatory, please. To my Conservatory friends I talk about scales, modes, the 9th, the 11th, the 13th, chord substitutions and all that bullshit that I don’t really understand.

And also have another confession: that kind of childish behaviour is not of any comfort for my chartaholic personality. I know, it’s sad. Because, even though I improvise mostly by ear, I can’t get rid of my charts. You take my iPad, and is like putting a chart to a guitar player: I become silent (my apologies, Fermín and fellow guitarists, this is just a friendly bad saxophonist joke).

And this is happening to me in a world where everybody knows that the “real thing” is what sounds, and that the written chart is only a kind of map of the territory, but not the territory! And I know that as well; but can’t help it – I’m a chartaholic, I need my charts, I need my iPad. That is my personal fate.

But, wait a second, you know what? I still blame fascism for my “chartaholism”.

L Chacon

Jack Morris: a career

“I started playing Trombone in a small village brass band in England called Ardley at the age of 14.

Jack the tonsil (2)

I was very keen to improve and practiced so hard that, by the age of 18, I was accepted into the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. I served for 5years, and during this time played at the Albert Hall and the Empress Hall on many occasions, Before the end of my service in 1953 I played in the RAF Band outside of the gates of Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Coronation.

I also played in a 20 piece Stan Kenton style Band in and around the London area.

On the return to my home town I played in a 5 piece Dance Band, a Town Brass Band and a small Symphony Orchestra.

I arrived in Sydney on the 25th July 1968 as an immigrant. During the 2 years there I played in Terry Eldon’s Big Band as 1st Trombone, and in a Night Club Band. I then moved to New Zealand in 1970 and joined the Manawatu Big Band and also formed the Ram Jam Big Band which was more Funk.

In 1977, I moved to Auckland to join the Royal Navy Band for a 5 year stint, and formed the Jack Morris Big Band and gigged around the North Island and at Jazz Festivals. At the same time I played with a trad group in and around Auckland. That Jack Morris Big Band is still active, having performed at many venues in the Auckland area.

I returned to Melbourne in 1995 and played with the Diamond Valley Big Band for some 2 years, also with The Let’s Dance Big Band, also the Musicians Club Big Band until I moved to Seaford near Frankston in 1997 and formed the Jack Morris Big Band and performed at the Mornington Peninsula and other Jazz Festivals, I relinquished my position as MD in 2007 and bequeathed the Band to one of the members.

Since that time I have moved up to Northcote residing in a Retirement Village and have played on occasions with Musical Ensembles, visited and played at the Jazz Jammers at some of their Venues. At the moment I am the MD for the Port Phillip Big Band.

There you are Ted, you have plenty of crap to go through, and I haven’t mentioned my singing.

Jack Morris

The summary version: Jack is a long time jammer, one of only three trombonists we have had in the last 12 years.He started playing trombone for the RAF during the Second World War. We won. He then played at the Coronation, which still went ahead, and with Stan Kenton, whose career survived. He moved to Sydney in 1968, about the same time the Australian Cricket team moved to England. England drew the series. He played in the Navy Band in New Zealand, but nothing sank, so he returned to Australia, eventually playing at jam sessions as the only Music Director we have ever had, so he must have been the worst…

At an age when he should know better, he is now Music Director of the Port Phillip Show Band (Captain Chaos on 3rd clarinet or something) which is a pretty hot outfit.

Throughout his long and varied career, he has rarely been complimented on his singing…

Go Jack!
TW

DEB’S LITTLE RANT

Debbie is a regular jammer, Secretary for the Newport Jazz Festival Committee and runs a peripatetic outfit called Bootleg Daze. She has a unique ability to light up an audience with her smile.


Everybody’s got to start somewhere, right?

I’ve been thinking lately about the issue of starting as a beginner and then (hopefully) getting better as a performer.

For me, this is what the jam sessions are all about, so I’m prepared to cut some slack for the beginner singers, for the drummers who really don’t know their bossa from their swing (yet), and the three-chord keyboard players. We were all like that once. Some of us still are.

I’ve heard some grumbling in the past from audience members when there’s a train wreck, or the singer can’t find the right key (yes, that was me). I’ve been guilty of wincing myself sometimes, but c’mon people, we’ve got to nurture the new talent! Except possibly for the multitude of vocalists, who keep enthusiastically turning up (pre-COVID) and expecting to get a slot when there’s just not enough hours in the session to fit them all in (tip – turn up early).

I well remember (sort of) the first time I got up to sing at a jam session. It was at Dizzy’s in Burnley, when John Curtis was running the jams. I needed two glasses of red to get up the nerve (that’s why “sort of”) and I expect I sounded like it, too. John was very gracious and so I came back the next week, when he was gracious again.

Everybody was (gracious I mean, or at least they didn’t tell me how awful I was) and I reckon for those of us who’ve started out as jazz newborns and grown up a bit (or at least older), it’s up to us to give a hand to the newer newbies.

Certainly while I’ve been coming, since that La Pena days, through the Glasshouse, Leinster Arms, The Junktion and The Post, I’ve noticed regulars who have improved from being “give him/her a chance, s/he’s still a beginner” to “actually, you’re pretty good – want to join a band?”.

So I’m looking forward to being able to get together with all the regulars, sink a few, sing in an inebriated fashion and clap enthusiastically those whose best performances are still to come.

 

Debbie

Breath meets the larynx and this is ‘Vocal Attack’

One of a series of articles on singing, from Ebony Rose

The vocal chords are living tissue and need to be used carefully. ( Avoid sudden shouting or gravel sounds as this causes strain). Hear the sounds mentally before you release them….

 

Inhale expanding the lungs……when breath goes through the larynx and vocal chords energy, vibration, sound, and pitch come into play. We are also using our resonators (air cavities, throat mouth nose and sinuses.

 

When a guitar is played you strum the strings.A Vocalist must find the power and know where to resonate from in the facial cavity. Fasinating really as no teacher can show you exactly how to do it!

 

It is something we must feel and learn…

 

Remember that moment when you found the tone and pitch resonating in the right part of your face, forehead and at the same time you are using the diaphragm to control the depth and resonance…..the sound is so much better!

 

Stay tuned for the Vocal Chords!

 

All Love Ebonyrose xx

How I was introduced to the jazz jammers

Singer Aimee Everett

 

Sala was the one who introduced me to the jam sessions. We had met online. I have always been keen to meet musically minded people, but not sure where to find them. The drum set in his profile picture caught my attention and I thought I would try and befriend this stranger. For about three weeks, we messaged each other and discussed music and occasionally sent each other an audio recording of ourselves.

Having a mutual musical interest, we thought it would be fitting for our first meet up to be music related, so we ended up meeting at Yarraville pop-up Park watching the Concerteenies. Sala invited me to come down to the jam session the following day, which I did. He bought me a drink and encouraged me to get up and sing. I can’t recall the songs I sang or how well I sang them (note sure if that was due to the drinks or the nerves), but I remember how friendly and warm everyone was. Since then, I have been one of the regulars at the jam sessions.

Hope everyone is safe and well and I looking forward to seeing you once we return to a ‘new normal’

Aimee

Who are the Jammers?

First time in Japanese, and a bit more truth

Read to the end for some news on the Jam Sessions.

メルボルン・ジャズ・ジャマーズ 

初の日本語版ニュースレターです!

なぜ日本語か?

ほとんど誰も理解できないからです。(筆者の私を含め)

まぁ、英語で書かれていたとしても、

「誰も理解できない」のがこのニュースレターの売りです

Bet you didn’t see that coming. Bloody foreigners… Yuko, Ayako, Risa, Mihoko, Kozue and the other .jp readers may understand, the rest of you can choose your own translation below:

Version 1:    Three dim sims some teriyaki and a Crown lager please.

Version 2:    I don’t know much about jazz, but I know what I like and this isn’t it.

Version 3:    This car is equipped with a handbrake, a steering wheel and an incomprehensible manual. Thank you so much for choosing it.

Version 4:     This newsletter is written in Japanese which will not affect most readers understanding of it, because the English version is just as incomprehensible.

So… on with the potted histories: Got a few positive responses to last week’s exquisitely crafted histories (hah!) of some of the more prominent (well, regular anyway) jammers. The next selection includes regular musicians and singers, as well as the Late Miss Smith, who would struggle to turn up by six o’clock on a good day, but to her credit supplied her own sentencing material.

  • Carol McCarthy: crooner
  • Gentleman Malcolm H, pianist
  • Alan “slapper” Richards: drums
  • Alan West, saxophonist
  • The Divine Miss Smith: Raconteur

Carol McCarthy, crooner.
Comes from a long line of crooners and typos, mainly called Carl. She started singing at 27, and within two years was getting paid. My notes do not make it clear whether she was getting paid to start singing or paid to stop. An early memory was singing at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney as part of her singing course.

She was born at an early age in Brunei and claims to have been kissed by a killer whale in Toronto. … Not the old Toronto killer whale saga again, surely…By 2004 she was fronting the Diamond Valley Big Band, on their world tour, which consisted of the Banyule Winter Festival and not much else.

Carol admits to having sung to backing tapes in her distant past – a filthy habit which we are all glad she has quit.

She started with the Jammers at the Junktion Hotel, and says she sometimes sings quietly so as not to offend the punters, and only in the key of C, F or Bb because the jammers struggle in anything else.

Carol looking spiffin with green highlights

I can’t think who she is referring to – something in F#m or Dbm coming up….

Malcolm Hornby, gentleman piano player
One time rock and roll idol, now reduced to playing jazz covers for the jammers., most of whom are musically challenged anyway. Never gets out of bed before 4.00pm.

Started learning piano at age 5, and played his first gig at 20 playing pop covers. His best gig was at Moorabbin Town Hall – the band had a support act, and even a roadie to help Malcolm lift the piano lid or something. When asked if they had a Green Room, he described a disused cupboard full of rubbish, butt ends and half eaten sandwiches, so the answer is yes.

His worst gig was at a pub in Newport, with a door deal. Two people turned up, and the band’s door manager let them both in for free. Maybe they should have charged on the way out

Malcolm is a mainstay of the jams, and moonlights for Breakout on the side.


MH in contemplative mode

Alan West, saxophonist
You know, the big bloke that plays sax sitting down…started on drums aged 10, didn’t pick up the sax until he was 21, although he misspent his teens playing guitar for all the usual reasons. Given the choice, he would go back to being 23 again.

Nominated his best gig as Thailand, NYE with a band called The Disasters in front of 10,000 people; and his worst as a gig in Melbourne, where the entire band were substitutes. Also played in New York, Miami, San Francisco, London and Paris. Alan picked a Vince Jones dummy spit and no-show at the Tankerville Arms as his worst gig – the venue charged full price, got the punters in, and then announced VJ was not appearing.

Alan is one of the calmer and more experienced jammers, and loves to play his own creations – Josephine et al.

Alan, saxophonist to the stars

Alan “slapper” Richards
Started playing drums in Primary School marching the entire Year 4 into detention or something. One wonders how many drummers started this way – certainly quite a few. Alan played in a High School Rock and Roll Band and despite not becoming a rock legend, can’t remember his best gig. He recalled but one of the worst gigs was for manager Dennis Farrington who booked him for three jobs a night and ran up to a hundred bands at once.

Alan has vague memories of playing clarinet as well as drums, and is quite happy to be his present age. He “sat in” (I suspect he is being modest) on sessions in New York, LA, San Francisco, Vietnam and Japan, and now hardly ever plays in more than ten bands at a Festival…


Alan doing what he does best

A regular at the Jam Sessions who gives off a sense of really enjoying playing. Just a big kid really…

 

Annie Smith, raconteur

As is her way, the crutch wielding diva supplied a detailed account of her career so far. Unfortunately the editor deleted all of the triple exclamation marks (of which there were many), and then blanked out the bits he saw as slight embellishments, or exaggerations. He followed this by deleting the dad jokes, grandma jokes and other deviant wordplay, as well as the potentially actionable, libellous, scandalous paragraphs.

The detailed account now reads

Anne Smith
Says it all really, but if desperate, you can read the full debacle here…

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