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

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 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…

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: The B Team smashes it

The Set Up: By the time I got there, Fermin and Neil had the set-up well in hand. We all waited with bated breath to see if a drummer would turn up and set up the drum kit, but alas Salah managed to darken the door about 15 seconds too late.

The record: What followed was a classic B team effort – that is, sixteen musos had a lot of fun, and broke our all-time record for most musos playing together – 12 at one stage, and they sounded damn good. Not many people in the audience for quite a while, and in the absence of the Halls Gap crew, we played, umm, about two instrumentals all afternoon, and had a ball, with tonsil artistes Jane, Ashley, Debbie and Carol all getting more singing time than usual. (16)


Singers Carol, Jane and Ashley

Musos Props to Salah, Ashley and newcomer Russell Stringer for some immaculate drumming, Julian for nearly blowing up his amp and then ditching it and fluting beautifully anyway, Huich for some extended violin, Malcolm for taking over piano and staying to help pack up. Ivan, Neil and Fermin for the best rhythm section we have had in ages, Calamatta and Will for a sweet saxophone section…


Great Rhythm Section – played all day

And Don (piano) who attempted anonymity to avoid adverse newsletter comment. As if. He last came on April 22nd 2015, also a week when the Captain was absent.. and played hot. Is a pattern emerging? We could consider a whip round as he clearly can’t afford a barber.

Going Home: We pulled stumps at 7.30, which required going round the room and apologising to diners and drinkers who had wandered in for the last stanza, but the rhythm section was truly knackered.

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: The Restaurant Experiment works again

An enjoyable Jam: second week in the Bistro, wandered in somewhat late and the set up went smoothly again… leaving us ready to start by, ooh, maybe 15 minutes late. Steve Bray set up the percussion, Fermin came early and set up the amps, closely followed by Neil. Only two pianists all day (meself and Malcolm) and Huich, alternately spelt Guichi excelled again. But a fine sunny day in tropical Kew promised a good crowd, and so it was, although not as many as we had hoped. The day was enlivened by a coupla new and returning musos, as well as a smattering of locals – Ben Stewart all class on guitar,

Jazz anyone? We kicked off with a few instrumentals from the Captain Chaos chart books whilst the room filled up, and followed this up with singers Debbie, Carol, Jane and later on the lads, Brian and Kev, as well as the late Miss Smith who went all modern on us with interesting results. Bacharach with his trademark 6/4 bar stuck in the middle of a 4/4 tune threw the lot of us. Jane could have sung a few more, but her selection of swing tunes was the liveliest part of the afternoon. Carol gets better and better.

Drummers to follow Steve included Bill Swannie, John Perri and later on Andre… he seems to have improved and played a decent set.

Train wrecks: probably the pick of them was Misty, with which we all struggled with a choice of tempos and the occasional dropped bar, in a key which may not have been Debbie’s first choice. Ah well, they are always fun anyway.

The audience dropped off noticeably as the afternoon wore on and we ended on a quiet note (it may have been F#, but I had left by then, so I can’t be sure.)

Teaser of the week: Some interesting discussions on possible future developments – stay tuned and we will bring this to you in due course.

Halls Gap Festival this weekend, the Captain, Curtis, Annie Smith and Jeff Harris will be there, amongst other Jammers. So the B Team will be taking over next Sunday 28th October. Always assuming there is a B team and it turns up.

And if anyone wants to help set up, feel free to turn up a bit early – see ya Sunday?

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: The Restaurant Experiment: Dodgy Dave’s bright idea

Greeted Dodgy Dave at the door – no one in the bar setting up, the Captain De Chaos upstairs perhaps?. Turned out Dodgy Dave had decided we should try transferring to the restaurant. There ensued some interesting furniture re-arrangement. Steve Bray was up for setting up the drums, we put down the Mike Hirsh Formal Carpet, and then managed to put the speakers at the back, the piano at the side, the Behringer foldback upstairs thankfully, and no one got in anyone’s way. Could this layout be a goer? we asked ourselves, which was just as well as there was no-one else to ask yet.

As it transpired, the sound was way better, the room worked a treat, and we had around 18 musos and a bit of audience type peeps to enjoy an afternoon of what we laughingly refer to as “jazz”.

Nice one Dodgy D! He may even advertise dinner and jazz next week – we shall see.

Only complaint received was one muso missing the foldback. Obviously all the others listen to each other and did just fine. Props to Steve, nice work from the Hirsh, on his carpet for the first time. Smooth set from Carol. Floot from Jeff, mammoth stint from Ivan, then Anton took over bass. Sweet contribution from Guichi (violin) and a bunch of others. 

If ya missed it, tough – but we will encore this week.

 Halls Gap Festival coming up next week 27th October – click on the “Jazz Festivals” tab for details

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: quiet, quite classy

At least to start with… Col and I diddled about setting up the gear, secretly hoping a drummer would turn up before we had to fiddle with the hardware (dodgy stools, missing butterfly nuts, enlarged carpet for the benefit of Mr Hirsh esq. etc etc.

The Drummers: Alan Richards turned up as soon as we had given up and bolted the infernal contraption together. So at least we had the pleasure of not getting in his way whilst he gave us baleful looks and re-assembled the kit to his liking. Hirsh was a no-show.

And away we went, instrumentals and not many people rolling through the door at first, but things got better, as they often do. Let’s face it, they couldn’t get much worse.

What ensued was a middle of the road affair, with Anton and Ivan on bass, only three saxophones at the front (welcome back Will!), Fermin and Vlad on guitars, a few singers and some very loud drums, pacified for a while by Bill Swannie and an exceptionally good drummer whose name remains a mystery. Hope he comes again., Alan and John Perri competing to do the best impersonation of Animal from the muppets, and the audience declaring it a draw.


In Summary: there were 17 musos (including tonsil artistes, ços they sulk otherwise)’, and Kevin’s mic working beautifully (only took me three weeks)

Guichi (violin) definitely the most improved, but also the most overwhelmed by the saxes, naughty lads.

Twas fun, but.

See ya Sunday?