Jam Session, cheap booze and Broken Promises

Last Sunday’s Jam was the third biggest turn out of musos we have ever had. Props to Rod and Bette back on a brief trip from some sweaty dive north of Borneo) for dragging so many through the door, and sorry you had to shout all afternoon to maintain the constant banter to which you are accustomed.

So, about those loud saxaphones and rattly ol’ drummers. No point in telling either to turn it down, as they are all industrially deaf. Can’t imagine why…

Actually, Carlton won the prize for turning it all up to 11, and then playing 43,521 notes in rapid succession, of which almost all bore some relation to the toon being massacred at the time.

What else… erm, after an opening stanza from Daniel, a mildly bandaged Il Duce hit things, as did the unmentionable (I promised not to mention him) Mr Hurch. . Whoops, don’t read that bit, or at least don’t tell anybody you did. Ashley played and sang, occasionally all at the same time. And Bill Swannie possibly sued the snare drum, but ethically, which was nice…

Ben Stewart made a rare appearance, played his usual elegant guitar, followed by Markoen ditto, Col T and the Kuhn held down the bass duties until Peter, electric bass and ponytail, and then Omar turned up: and Tony, Paul, the Captain and Will (I think) all fiddled with the dreadful Belgian’s device, whilst Seph was back with some entirely convincing trumpet.

Rory Clark, Tony from Wangaratta or Pascoe Vale, I forget which, and meself had a bit of fun with the piano.

And singers! Cheryl Kelly, first time at a jam, probably the pick of them (Hush Now, Don’t Explain) , Brian got up with some class backing, struggled to find the pitch, then nailed it and did enough to suggest he has a pretty good voice; a great return from Ange Whateverhersurnameisthisweek, with a fine rendition of My Funny Valentine. Kevin did his usual thing with his usual elegance.

By the time Chico, Vlad, Kay, and Cardinal Calamatta had turned up and had a dip, we was all feeling a bit knackered. All up, 28 musos got up, several didn’t, and our promise last week that things would be back to normal was well and truly broken.

Maybe things will get back to normal next week – a few desultory souls will contrive to mangle the same old tunes, Little Sunflower will run for it usual 16 minutes, we will persist in believing we can play Stolen Moments and have it sounding good (you can have one or the other, but not both) and someone will turn up with no charts, ask to sing Autumn Leaves, and introduce the band..

Should be fun.

Stick to the black notes, they’re cheaper!

Marj has been posting videos again: Ange, Rory Clark, a load of old rubbish…




It is high time someone explained the different genres in Jazz. Meanwhile…

THE BLUES  Probably the most basic influence on jazz, comprised of no more than three chords and the perfidy of women. All of it sung with a fake sincerity, often in a fake American accent to make it sound authentic. Apparently.

JAZZ STANDARDS The term is an ironic one, describing the constitutional inability of your average muso to play the same thing twice. There are actually few standards amongst Jazz Musicians, and all of them are low.

Jazz standards use four or even five chords, and were written some time between 1933 and1948, a time when most sensible people would be staying home to watch the advertisements on pay TV. The genre is defined by the use of walking tenths in the bass line, or staggering quarters if the bottleshop will still give you credit; and by the soloist swinging – preferably from a rope attached to the rafters, but I digress.

BEBOP  Another ironic term, describing the constitutional inability of your average bebop muso to play the same thing once. If you slow it down and play Bebop backwards, it doesn’t sound any worse. Spooky, or what!

POST BEBOP  This genre cannot be called ironic at all, as most adherents struggle with words of more than one syllable. It does not refer to jazz music that has been learnt by mail order. No one has ever listened to the end of a post bebop composition – because it doesn’t have one, it just fades away when the jazz club goes broke.

FREE JAZZ  Jazz that is so dissonant and repetitive that no one will pay for it. The entire enrolment of University Jazz Courses is said to be working on extending this to the point where people will pay for it (on condition that it stops immediately.) If successful, they will be able to go and get a job teaching trombone in a High School one year earlier than the previous intake (see note below). Progress is a wondrous thing.

SHOWTUNES  Ah, the most sublime music of all – saccharine romantic ballads. Showtunes have a timeless quality, at least when played by the Jammers, and we only pick them to see if we can get Colonel T off the stage.

Footnote: The enrolment at a University is called an intake. Each year around Melbourne about 100 Students are taken in by Jazz courses. Only to discover that there are no jobs at the end of it, other than teaching trombone in a High School. Far better to have studied Accounting or Quantity Surveying. There are no jobs in those disciplines either, but at least the pay is better.

Carruthers plays up…

“I don’t like it, Carruthers, its, its just too damned quiet….”

Carruthers has, apparently fixed that, and now the jams are almost too damned noisy instead. Last week saw a mixed bag of trophies pinned to the ancestral walls of the mouldering pile, and we will skip, figuratively, over the opening salvo – a piping hot set with Sam Izzo at the keys – and get to the guts of the matter, which was the sight of Il Duce twinkle toeing across the dance floor to tell the five, read it and weep, five saxaphones to shut the f*** up. Messrs Chaos, Cardinal Calamatta, Alan West, Tony and Laurie Savage were the guilty parties.


A piping hot set: Haircut, Savage, De Wang and Izzo – who departed after this, leaving the others to go downhill all afternoon Continue reading

Some More Jam Session Terms explained

Part of an ongoing series of one.

Soloist: Can only play one instrument at a time, often quite badly. If talking to a soloist, make sure that you speak clearly, as they are often not good listeners, due to lack of practice. On no account should you mention the presence of a rhythm section, as this might startle them.

Saxophonist: a sub set of soloist. They cannot all put five beats to the bar in a 4/4 tune, but most of them are pretty good at it. Continue reading

Jazz Is Dead?

One sometimes wonders whether a pattern is emerging in the Gold Street Gossip Shop sessions, hailing as they do from the epicentre of cultural alternativeness in the northern wastes of Colliwobble. Most weeks, we seem to start with a bout of amnesia, therefore thinking that we can actually play (and I use the word loosely, as Hortense might say) a couple of numbers in the tempo di dubious from the book of songswotColknows, before settling down to the usual fare of Autumn  66, Summer Leaves and Root something or other… Continue reading

Jam Session News: There isn’t any, the Editor has gone AWOL, and the extra 3b reserve copy boy is off to the land of the long white pom…

Other than that, last week’s jam, much enlivened by the absence of Messrs Chaos and Kuhn, started quiet, stayed quiet mostly, and was rather fun all arvo.. by the time we had finished, 22 musos had had a dip, nothing got broken and nobody died…

In yet another first, we opened proceedings with a new singer, Carol, accompanied by a new pianist, Kay, and an old bass player, Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse (retd). Putting tyros together is a recipe for disaster, but fortunately, none of the jammers can cook, and it all turned out rather well.. Continue reading

Jam Session News: Getting better, or trying or something… and another week in the salt mines to follow…

There are many, many Jam Sessions which are carefully planned, scrupulously organised and meticulously focussed on, generally, “modern” jazz, which, for reasons which escape me, means jazz first performed by African American heroin addicts some time between 1954 and about 1966, and slavishly copied by middle class kids in Jazz courses the world over ever since. Continue reading

Jam Session News: One out of the box

Before you know it, the daffodils will be out, the flannelled fools will be ironing a crease, and the ski bunnies will be bouncing off rocks again. In the meantime, where better to be on a cold winter’s day than sucking on social lubricant in the back bar of the Gold Street Lizard Lounge? Don’t answer that.. Continue reading

From the Clinic

The rehabilitation clinic for the tone deaf resumed on Sunday at the Leinster Arms after a quiet week with so many away at the Castlemaine Jazz Festival.

Early on I spied Roger “vote 1 Tories” Clark with his alto saxophone, Doug “I don’t play loud LSD Funk Rock” Kuhn on bass ; Sam “too loud and I‘ll quit” Izzo on keys and new face Michael who admitted he knew nothing about jazz drumming on the drums.

I took up the guitar at the Capitano of Chaos’ behest and a few interesting Continue reading

Jazz Jam Report Sunday June 5th 2016

The Melbourne International Jazz Festival is in progress and so far I have been to the Esperanza Spalding gig which I enjoyed and to check out the lovely Sarah MacLaine at Dizzy’s with Brian Abrahams on drums and vocal on “ Lush Life”. It is a fine time for live music fans and gives me something to cling to while I wait for the snow season to actually bring some snow for my outdoor winter adventures.

The Jazz Jam a.k.a the sheltered workshop for D.I.Y. musical lobotomy patients started in a very quiet and understaffed fashion. Newcomer Bill was on drums and a kind of blank bewilderment during the trading of fours with the Capitano of chaos who blew his horn and this scribe played the bassline and the chords simultaneously using each hand on the keyboard. Continue reading

At The Leinster

I have bought a looper pedal and if I can get the hang of using it,then I may start having live appearances backing myself times 6. Woe betide me if I split up with myself and have to send the looper pedal to the second hand pedal graveyard on E bay!!.

The sheltered workshop for the survivors of DIY musical lobotomies and tonal dyslexics reconvened after a period of seven days. Time wounds all and by Saturday I was telling myself that maybe they will play a Wayne Shorter composition that was written quite recently, i.e. Something from less than 50 years ago would be selected and truly mangled again. Continue reading

From Somewhere inside the Leinster Arms

I was out there hiking in the less visited wilderness that is the North of Wilson’s Prom over the Easter long weekend. I don t have to do that again and when the trauma of pushing through 60 km of virgin scrub with 25 kgs strapped to my torso has receded like the tide, then I will be fit and semi sane enough to take on the Grampians during the ANZAC day long weekend.

Meanwhile, the sheltered workshop for the tone deaf, rhythmic dyslexics and do it yourself musical lobotomy patients resumed after the Easter break.

The Jam session started slowly Continue reading