Jamming at the L: A Touch of Class, or something

Upon reflection, probably something. Another fine arvo of cocking up all the good bits, and enjoying the dross. This was a remarkably busy session – mainly because we had five bass players ( Colonel T, Ivan, Matthew, Chris and Pony Tail Pete) and only three saxophones .(Captain Chaos, Luis, and Peter Cole). Continue reading

It’s that time of Year.. The Gossip Shoppe goes Autumnal

Autumn, it would seem, is somewhat late this year, but upon us nevertheless. As I ambled through the doors of the Gold Street Gossip Shoppe at the unusual hour of 4 o’clock last Sunday, there was the palest glow of feeble sunshine, the first chill breeze of the season, and stuff all going on inside.

A quiet session seemed in prospect, starting with pianist/drummer Gentleman John Curtis as gentlemanly as ever, and the McCue de Bendigo getting better and better on the ivories. It took a while for the joint to fill, but fill it did, and by the time 24 musicians had turned up, tuned up and joined in, it would be fair to say that this was one of the busier sessions. And not a little musical from time to time, although the habit of playing real jazz on a Sunday afternoon sets a dangerous precedent and is to be discouraged…

There were plenty of good moments in between the occasional debacle. Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse (retd) absent mindedly played bass rather well. Fortunately such an experienced old hand will not let that put him off his game, and he will surely be back to stomping on the ground so hard the floor shakes in no time. No time being the operative phrase. Anyhoo, he got things moving along rather nicely. Possibly because there was also a very good bass player, Matthew Birtchnell, who started rather hesitantly, and by the time Katerina got up and ripped the joint apart with Summertime and All of Me, was absolutely flying. More please.

Lewis, the guitarist for whom 1000 notes is never enough, was back, and in great form, Ben “Twang” Stewart produced some fine solos, and Luis (soprano saxophone) played some ace bossa.

Brian, Kev, Vlad and Kay all sang: Brian’s Ab chart for That Old Black Magic a ripper, Kay as entertaining as ever, Kev making it look easy, and the rhythm section playing Killing Me Softly in totally the wrong key for Vlad.

Michelle, Bill and Andre drummed, Julian flooted and presiding over it all was a benevolent Captain Sensible. Who, in a spirit of consistency, decided not to call fours, and therefore failed to produce his customary 5 bar magic. Stolen Moments was fun, although pianist Kay stole the show on that one.

So… a really enjoyable afternoon of ballad mangling, and by the time Landlord Glen produced the party pies, I think everyone was well mellowed.

Autumn is a good time of year…

And we will do it all again, especially the debacle bits … at The Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood, Sunday 2nd April 2017, at 4.00pm.
TW

It was just one of those things…

Strange little jam session last Sunday: started with lots of casual sax, only one bass player all arvo, a coupla singers, three drummers, and the usual complement of guitarists and pianists. As the good Captain remarked, there were times when it almost sounded like music… which is another way of saying there were times when it didn’t.

Hortense, I am almost certain, was not there – she has been much distracted of late Continue reading

Well, That Was Kind of Comfortable

Audience confused, of course, but the regular jammers set down for a regular jam, playing around with some fairly standard songs, with predictable results. Like a pair of old slippers, it was all decidedly comfortable – saxophonists (there were three) leading the charge in a born to rule kind of way, pianists (two remarkably good ones dropped in on the regulars (Curtis, the Don, and meself), and Findlay whacking away at the drums to the point of exhaustion, whereupon Il Duce took pity and spelled him for a bit. Matt Berg took over later on, played beautifully.

As has been the case in recent weeks, Bass players were a bit thin on the ground, with Ponytail Pete and Colonel T shouldering the load. Fermin, Brian and later on Chico all slotted in some nice guitar work.

It is afternoons like this that give you time for a yarn with a few old friends, the occasional social lubricant, and some light banter with a slightly manic Colonel T of the Fourth Punjab Light Horse (retd), who took it upon himself to direct proceedings from time to time. The results were predictable, although perhaps the rendition of Black Nile was a bit special, as it was spectacularly shredded, demolished and stomped into the carpet. Musicians who were there will know what I mean, and the funeral will be announced once the pieces have been gathered up and bagged.

The late Miss Smith turned up at her usual hour, and lifted the mood considerably – still basking in plaudits from her Friday night session. And Ponytail Pete got booked for his first session at the Royal Standard Hotel this week, so at least some of us are progressing well.

Kind, comfortable, what more could you want. Don’t answer that Hortense…

Melbourne Jazz Jammers – a bunch of musos getting together to play random toons. Sometimes we all play the same tune at the same time. Doesn’t make much difference.

Second opinions will be sought at The Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood, Sunday 4th March 2017, at 4.00pm.

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 – Continue reading

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