Hush!

In light of the buzz around the joint the previous week, it was only reasonable to expect things to be a little quieter – and in that expectation, those of us who wandered into the Gold Street sheltered workshop at 4pm on the dot were not disappointed.

The afternoon would evidently start with three pianists and a saxophone… Izzo, Curtis, and meself, debating as to who should stuff the first stanza by playing drums. We opted for Curtis – a sound choice as he reliably attempted to hit nine objects with two sticks, maintaining from time to time a semblance of whatever tempo Mr Izzo had elected to stray from..

Thankfully Happysnaps Findlay took over and Ponytail Pete arrived to take up some bass duties – he ended up playing most of the afternoon, but as he is both young(ish) and naive, we didn’t think it would do him any harm. As he is both young(ish) and naive, he didn’t think it would either. Cue Col T (retd) on guitar and you have the makings of a jam session.

In truth it was an afternoon on which there was no aspiration to great heights, and few were achieved; dominated in the main by bebop tunes and their ilk. Highlights, if there were any, may have been Julian on flute duetting with Marian on recorder, or a new drummer whose name could have been Hieronymous Makita, but as I didn’t jot it down I can’t remember but CC thinks it was Adrian – quite good, and no difficulty hearing him in Alphington. Or maybe the best bit was Captain Sensible sporting a new reed on his sax, and sounding smooth as – I thought something was up when I heard him on Friday night at the Royal Standard.

Garam and Brian sang, the Don turned up late as usual, and the Divine Miss Smith brightened things up for a while – and even Richard, our resident late night cocktail pianist got in on the act. Really, it was all fun in a relaxed kind of way, and bodes well for this week.

Melbourne Jazz Jammers – where experience is recognising your mistakes when you make them again… and not giving a rats either way….

The choir will re-assemble at The Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood, Sunday 26th February 2017, at 4.00pm. You may wear the appropriate ecclesiastical garb if you like. We all need a laugh.

TW

The B Team smashes it

Wandered into the Gold Street Gossip Shoppe and Society Tea Roomes last Sunday with every expectation of there being no one there, and a seriously quiet jam session in prospect, given that so many regulars had made the odyssey to Port Fairy for their first Jazz Festival (see the Captain’s report below)

The session started quiet enough, but musicians of all calibres kept arriving all afternoon – and what transpired was one of the most enjoyable jams in a long time. Could I have a dollar for every time someone said “I thought there would be no-one here…”

We started with a classy little set from Katerina Myskova, Continue reading

The troublemakers are all in Castlemaine, Il Duce goes awol, and a Gentlemanly assembly keeps itself nice at the Basement di Bungle.

No kidding:- Col, Kev and Sir Roger De Coverley’s ageing roue descendant all hit up the Castlemaine Jam (which was a good one by all accounts), a lot of jammers were away furiously arranging a Port Fairy set list or three, in the hope that they could fool at least some of their audience into thinking they know what they are doing; Il Duce, who quietly sets up the room each week, was in Queensland, and we had everything shipshape and Bristol fashion by about half an hour late…when a gentlemanly rump fronted a very quiet Leinster Arms for the obligatory afternoon of doing things differently.

And how different they were… Peter Garam produced the first firework of the day Continue reading

Trombones, and La Manetta goes all quiet…

Fun little session last Sunday, much enlivened by newcomer Joel on his slush pump. I can only remember three trombonists in recent years, and one of those would be Elliott Joe on his green plastic technological marvel, so a bit of a treat, and some harmonious little duets with the Captain ensued.

Whatever, a quietish sort of a jam where 19 musos got up, nobody kicked the dog, and nothing got broken. Plenty of variety in the toons on offer, and lots of bebop as Colonel T was AWOL. Continue reading

Settle down

No sooner had I eased the corporate chariot into one and a half spaces, parking not being my strong suit, than I was greeted by the sight of young Nadira strolling somewhat purposefully towards the battered green door of the Gold Street Bebop Stop and Tea Roomes.

The Hobart chanteuse, possibly one of the better known singers in Lenah Valley, was urged on by a beaming Captain Chaos, who may have sat back and listened to a selection of swing tunes finely crafted, but not to the extent that he forgot to plan some disruptive fours for later on. Marion appeared a little lost on some of the rowdier numbers, and a little found on some of the others – another fine contribution. Continue reading

Jam session as usual, for a change…

The first jam session of the year, and you would expect that we would know by now to expect the unexpected. We didn’t, and there was a hefty turn out – even Captain Sensible declared himself well stuffed by the end of it.

The usual crew turned up, played the usual tunes, with the usual level of musical competence. Colonel T deftly demonstrated that his chart reading ability remains at the same unusual standard despite the depredations of a Christmas dinner and, judging by the suntan, a few days scaring off the wild life in the upper reaches of nowhere in particular. Continue reading

Captain Chaos goes bush

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Ben the Bouncer in full swing – Michael Findlay and Peter Ryan
are hiding in this photo, but they were still guilty…

And some of us fall for it… so there we were, at Captain Sensible’s bidding, dragging the dusty out of a motley collection of shooting brakes, charabancs and pickup trucks, taking over a muddy old corner under the trees at the Stables. Which is, as you would expect, an open air pizzeria in Malmsbury, set back from the old Calder, these days little more than a Boulevarde of broken drains… Continue reading

All Bashed Up…

A spiffin’ little light luncheon followed by no less than 40 musicians getting in on the act – making this the busiest jam session since the mid 19th century Balkan Wars, or possibly even before that., I wouldn’t know.

How sensible of Il Duce to arrange some nice weather so we could sit outside, gossip over an occasional social lubricant, and completely ignore the annual Bash going on inside. And there was plenty to ignore – 40 musicians got in on the act,

Due to the usual misunderstanding, about 39 of them appeared to be behaving quite inappropriately by playing music that could be misconstrued as jazz, if you weren’t paying attention and had more pressing matters on your mind. Splendid!

Highlights included Annie Smith handing out silly hats, wearing one herself and behaving decorously, as she always does…

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and the Captain in fine form – he managed to ring the changes so smoothly all afternoon. And the rest of us just had fun. Hopefully…

It is hard to sum up the Bash – certainly the biggest so far, and musically one of the best yet – but the music isn’t only what it is all about. Perhaps it is worth considering that there were at least seven people there who attended the original Dizzy’s Friday night sessions 22 years ago – The Princess of Cool and Keeper of the List, Rod, Bette the stateless one, Mike H the world’s quietest drummer, Gentleman John C, Col T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse (retd) and meself.

The First Jam Session of 2017

We are planning to start up again on January 15th 2017…. by tradition, nobody turns up for the first session, so about five of us get together and have a ball. Feel free to rock up and ruin it for us…. or make it even better.

TW

The Year in review: stop laughing, this is serious

It has been, as ever, an interesting 12 months – started brightly with several good jam sessions, then hit a sour note with the passing of Bob Vinard, although the session with so many of his mates was a beauty. Several jammers went to Inverloch, Halls Gap, and Ballarat for the Australian Jazz Convention. The extra 3B copy boy (ed: aka Ted)managed to join the cardiac club and we had to give up the Laika residency. Colonel T (retd) took the newsletter in a somewhat surreal direction for a while. Gill and Tina started to sound good. The middle of the year saw us all toddle off to Castlemaine – the usual suspects, plus debutante G and T sounding very good. Katerina singing up a storm, Il Presidente Doug on top of everything and still managing to play sessions, the Captain grinning from ear to ear all weekend as he should.

Come August, the newsletter fell in a hole as both Editor and extra 3B reserve copyboy went to Europe, and we had our smallest ever session with just 8 peeps turning up. About 8 weeks later, we had our second biggest session ever… and I seem to recall some hot sessions with the Clark mob, Ade Ishs and a few other monsters after that.

So …

The Most Indefatigable Award: Colonel T for playing a whole session – twice. We also considered him for playing the same solo more times than anyone else – 16 bars single note, 16 bars playing in octaves, and pull a face on arrival: played over bossa, bebop, swing, blues, and in every time signature and tempo.

Most Improved Drummer: Bruce. Have you been taking lessons?

Most Improved Singer: Katerina, but only because Annie was already good

Biggest Train Wreck: close run thing between the Curtis/Chaos Round Midnight debacle, and Annie Smith for whatever that godawful tune was. We’ll wait for the drug tests and award this one later.

Noisiest Saxophone: Laurie’s is bigger than Tony Wharton’s, so maybe this one goes to Laurie by a whisker. I am sure we will be able to enjoy Tony’s solos once he gets to Bangkok. At least they both play damn well.

And a big thanks to whoever gets all the gear set out, and also packs it up at the end of every session, along with wrangling the pack in between. I think his name is Col.

Precocious Brats, Ageing Reprobates and All Blues…

Things are getting out of hand – The good Captain collared a coupla kids, aged about 5 and minus 3 and a bit, and had them playing the drums before we started. Their sister, we were told by Proud Mum, was dying to play the piano. Naturally we agreed on the usual condition Continue reading

The more things change . . .

A pleasant little toot up the Hoddle Strasse, followed by the sounds of a Bavarian Brass Band playing Moanin’ as I wandered into the Gold Street Gossip Shoppe and Ladies Tea Roomes for yet another afternoon of indulgence.

Or so I imagined. Quite by mistake, I fronted first and had, instead, the fun of setting up the various bits of hardware, sackbutts, viols, contrabassoons, contrafagotti, cromornes, double bassoons, fifes, fipple flutes, flageolets, flugelhorns, funk band instruments, hautboys, heckelphones, hornpipes, and spittoons that are apparently the necessaries (see note 1) of a jam session. Continue reading

As I recall:

20 musicians descended on the Leinster Arms on a wet stormy Sunday afternoon to keep the bar staff busy. John Curtis called the early tunes and challenged the early comers to play some seldom heard titles at the jam session. African Flower by Ellington and Jobim’s A Felicidade were examples of these. Continue reading