All of them Good?

Quite what makes a jam session work is an enduring mystery, but if there is a pattern to these things, it may well be emerging. Another crap day, weather wise, no advertising in Melband, very few hits on the Newsletter due to a cock up at least partly of my own making, and this week comes after a huge session the week before, all of which generally presages a drop in numbers, a lessening of musical quality, and quite possibly a visit from Hortense, of whom, more later…

The Ensembleclip_image002[6]

Long story short, 25 musos turned up, the crowd in the bar were just as enthusiastic, fairly thirsty, and a few new/old faces dropped by. We started with four bass players (Dave T, Dave NN, Slawie and Pete. Pretty good session as a result … well, at least nothing got broken and nobody died.

Highlights? Jeff turned up with a dodgy Chinese knock off flute, that sounded rather good. Laurie soloed memorably on All Blues, and Alan, who gets better every week, was his usual affable self. Singers included Aggie Smith on gardening leave, Jess trying out new material, including I Get A Kick Out of You, which isn’t exactly new, but you get the drift; Aimee struggling with young Malcolm on the piano (a reggae beat on Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Really?); Nurul rocked it on Sway and All Blues, and a trio of newcomers on guitar, piano and vocals, all good but from which I only managed to get one email address, which I cannot read.. ..followed by Janine (God Bless The Child) and Nicole (Summertime) before a big wind up with an ensemble singing of Hit The Road Jack, which, eventually, we did.

In discussion with the Captain, we estimated over 50 musicians and singers have performed at the Post. How wrong could we be – 83 have been listed in the newsletter since we started on April 19th. Apart from early days, (such as no singers on May 17), numbers have been running at or above 25 on most weeks.

And all of them good… Hortense, who often makes a discreet appearance when numbers are down, has hardly been at all.

See you next week?

 

Total

Oncers Came again
Piano 13 7 6
Sax 10 4 6
Guitar 10 5 5
Bass 7 2 5
Drums 12 4 8
Other 4 2 2
Singer 27 9 18

And all of them good… Hortense, who often makes a discreet appearance when numbers are down, has hardly been at all.

Steve on drums, hot guitarclip_image002

See you next week?
TW

Stuff Me, that was a good One!

A few stats and dot points for starters:

  • This was the third week in a row that we have cracked 25 musos. Stop mucking about, Captain Chaos is exhausted.

  • The finale for this session was a cracking Santana number, followed by “Moondance” with 12 musos up at once. Equals our biggest ever line-up. They couldn’t see the folks on the other side of the Bar, dancing…

  • If you count young Grace bopping away, it actually exceeds our biggest line-up. Grace is all of three which makes her our second youngest performer. Marley still the youngest, by a short head.

  • This week saw the smallest line-up of saxophonists for ages. Well, Jeff isn’t that small, and neither is Alan. The Captain is at least medium but you get the drift.. Come to think of it, Jeff didn’t even play his sax, only floot…Those boys had a ball, and played damn well.

  • The Captain, mortified by last week’s rhythm section taking the piss, launched into a spirited rendition of “Four” again. One of the other saxophonists scored it a 3.5. Those boys are savage on each other.

  • While the musos were playing, we “worked the room”, and gave out around 50 of the new cards. Happy little audience – we reckoned there were 80+ peeps in the bar.

  • Special mention for Kevin, who sang one of the hardest ballads going around – “Lush Life” by Billy Strayhorn. Slawie (bass) and I aged several years in the process, but it all hung together. Bravo.

  • Nicole was a first timer, jumping in on the spur of the moment. One of the best to date – Summertime and Fly Me To the Moon fairly standard offerings, but sung beautifully – please come again.

  • 82% of Annie rocked the joint to finish. The other 18% is replacement parts. Indestructible but not, it would seem, irreplaceable. Little does she know we use her as an example of how to sing, entertain, engage an audience and control a band. Quite often, she is a good example.

  • We haven’t even mentioned Kay, Jane, Yuko, Brian, Susie, Malcolm, John Curtis, Peter Garam, Lisette, Pete, Ivan and Eiji ace bassists, Neil (best guitar in ages) , Alan Richards, Steve Bray, Hussein, Andre, and Jane’s mate from Cairns. You were all spiffin’, mostly, so we won’t mention you now….

  • Jane is off to the USA, and has promised to send us all a postcard. She has also promised to forget to post it. Have a great trip…

  • Finally, we had more people than ever come up and say how much they were enjoying the music at The Post. We also had the first negative comment, so let’s not get too excited.

The Wrap: A really, really good session. Positively noisy at times, and increasingly crowded. There seem to be more people coming specifically because of the live music. Several punters thought “the band” was tight and very professional – not realising that this was a walk-up assembly of a motley crew of musos, none of whom take it too seriously, spurred on by a dedicated audience of regulars who should know better, but care not to.

See you next week? Could be a train wreck? Could be good? Ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids!

Next Jam Session will be on Sunday 4th August, starting at 4.00pm

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street, St Kilda

You can park on St Kilda Road (Sunday, no restrictions). Public parking is available on Bath Street, just past the Hotel on Inkerman Street. Or catch a tram if they are running, or take a helicopter, land elsewhere and get an Uber. Or walk. Or take the bus, but fer gawdsake bring it back. Or come the next week instead. Or as well..

The Castlemaine Jam

And it don’t come in jars. The Maurocco Bar rocks this Sunday 4th August. The Maurocco was opposite the railway station last time I went, and I would be surprised it they have moved it since. 2.00pm start and a good time guaranteed.

St Kilda Road Blues – all dug up

A very quiet day at the Post, with St Kilda Junction all shook up, and the 6 lanes of St Kilda Road reduced to 1, for tram works. Half the Post (the other half) almost empty. Obviously not many of the Jammers could get a day job ripping up tram tracks, as a fair few of them turned up anyway.

Jeff warming up . . .

Quite an afternoon – Serge kicked off on double bass, and was followed by bassists Pete, Slawie, Dave the Bass, and Anton “Papa Jazz”1. They all played nicely. Frontline saxophoneezers included the Captain, Jeff, Alan West, and Laurie 2. Alan upstaged us all with an egregiously 3 great solo on “Cry Me A River” . Jess sang a neat set, with Too Close For Comfort ripping along nicely.

 

Civility was restored to proceedings once Gentleman John Curtis took over ivory tickling duties, and Alan Richards surrendered the drums to an equally rowdy Sala. Those boys were having way too much fun, as did “Carpet” Hirsh 4 after nearly throwing a hissy fit because the saxes wouldn’t play “Four” without a chart, although they managed in the end.

Alan . . . great solo

Singers… Jess gets better and better, Carol was all good fun, Aimée may have her name spelt right for the first time and sang with confidence. Kevin and Brian each ripped through a coupla songs in fine style. Later honours belonged to LilyRose and Meggan from Brisbane – they got up and duetted on “Summertime” followed by “ Dream a little Dream of Me.” Magic happens….

image

L to R The Captain, Meggan, Dave the Bass, Lily Rose and Mr Hirsh all having fun – “Summertime”

 

Notes
1. Note correct use of Oxford comma. Society is to blame.
2. “Egregiously”, as in Alan doesn’t do this too often?
3. “a good toon with which to finish” Note pedantically correct use of preposition
4. The Irrepressible Mr Hirsh once insisted on a new carpet for the drummer. We were initially offered a bucket of earplugs, several blunt instruments, and advice that could have got us arrested. He eventually settled for a secondhand carpet, and hasn’t been the same since. Or before, for that matter…
TW

Do not adjust your set…

A bitterly cold afternoon, the piano locked up somewhere, a few desultory souls wandering in. Should have been a disaster from the outset, but it wasn’t. And it all started with four saxophones, one pianist (no piano for a while though!) and then a drummer…

So it is a little surprising that this ended up as a crowded, busy sesh, 26 musos in attendance, including the many singers, all of whom would tend to sulk if we did not include them in the muso count. Apparently we scored a mention on ABC FM this week, but even that proved to be insufficient warning and peeps turned up in droves.

By mid afternoon, the saxophonist count had risen to 7, with Laurie then leaving early, after a lively contribution, Roger “the Stiff” Clark there all arvo, Jeff H playing sax, clari and then flute, Cardinal Calamatta sounding sweet as ever, Alan in fine form with Josephine, and Keef getting a decent spot to solo – this has been on our to-do list for a while, the Captain de Chaos, meanwhile, almost losing the plot – he had to fit in nine different singers, (Kay, Jane, Brian, Yuko, Annie (Every Time We Say Goodbye), Ashley de Wang, Emily (Cry Me a River), Susie and Deb). Three turned up late, and one was easily better than all the others, but I can’t remember which one. You’ll all have to come again…

We only had the one Ukrainian bass player, name unpronounceable “ДϒΗНО”. He was pretty good, and of course Pete Micevski played solid all arvo.

Slap and Rattle department well handled by Alan R, then Sala, then Mac and Hussein (great rhythm on Sway really lifted this Annie Smiff version).

Rhythm and booze: all the piano players (Peter Garam, Malcolm and meself) played piano and Ben Stewart played some mean Guitar once he had got the cobwebs out.

The Captain opined that the standard of music was as high as ever, all afternoon – and I would have to agree. The audience seemed well impressed – this week, we went round and handed out cards, chatted up the burlesque dancer in the corner, tried to persuade the barmaid to leap the counter and sing, etc.etc.

I could make all this up, if only it weren’t true.
TW

Sunday Jazz : And a brief digression . . .

Arrived at the Yugoslavian Embassy to find Ambassador’s wife in a state of high anxiety, and His Excellency engaged in a complicated manoeuvre that may have involved several inappropriate farm animals, and a bitter reference to the mid nineteenth century Balkan conflict. And if you have been reading this rubbish since that was last mentioned, it is high time you got out more…

As does Hortense from time, making one of her desperate forays from the nether recesses of the back bar in the hope of more excitement than would be found on a good day at the Strangled Ferret, were it still open, which, of course, it is not. Having burnt to the ground years ago.

 

But I digress. Again.

Jam Session? Yup, that went alright. Got there to find the gear had all been put in place, so the Captain had time for a sound check and a beer. By the time we started, the pub was pretty much full, and noisy, and we ripped through a coupla instrumentals, probably more instru than mental, with Jane and meself swapping drums mid toon without in any way altering the standard of drumming and Geoff welcome back on piano. Then singer Jess took first swipe at the donkey: a neat little vocal set with “Turn Me On” a highlight.

Much noise, beer and clapping, and on we went, with saxes CaptainChaos, , Alan, Jeff, Laurie and later on, Keef. Mercifully, Sala arrived so we had a proper drummer, followed by Frank who only came to the pub for a beer, and only said he played drums for a joke. Pretty good. Max Teakle played bass then piano, Hussein and Mac alternated on drums, Neil played some brief guitar, and Marian recorded away.

 

All good fun, followed by a succession of tonsil artistes – Jane, Carol, Dayle (first up, good, thanks for waiting patiently, please come again), Judee Horin (p and v), Brian doing a Sinatra bracket, Yuko back again, Annie, unflappable, Chris (Route 66, and welcome back!) and then Susie accompanied by Malcolm back after a spell, with a closing stanza from Janine.

Jam session went alright? Actually, it was huge, 25 musos got up, noisy, fun – and we are starting to worry about how we might stuff it up…
TW

Sunday Jazz : A day to remember…

Sitting at the winkle blue screen pondering the latest Session du Confiture, and what a noisy crowd there was… not all of them, it must be said, musicians – and that probably includes some of the musicians…

I must start by mentioning Marion, who I have managed to ignore completely for at least three jam sessions in a row… player of the most exotic recorder and self-deprecator extraordinaire. Whoops, sorry!

A goodly crew of musos turned out on what was the coldest June day since 1985 – we scored nine singers, six drummers, a standard complement of 4 saxophones and a busy, noisy, happy pub.

Image result for Dizzy Gillespie

. . . a trumpet player

Highlights of the session? A fine cameo from 7 year old Jenson on drums, becoming the youngest ever muso at a jam session. A wop bop a loo bop, the lad understands the finer points of whacking the skins- a lot of fun and a most composed young man – took years off the singer (Kay) and didn’t do Gentleman John’s composure much good – but whatever…Jenson will remember his debut for years to come, and we probably won’t forget it either.

. . . another drummer

. . . another drummer

Saxes oscillated between elegant solos, and playing too many notes for too many choruses. ‘Twas ever thus. The Captain easily the smoothest soloist there, Alan entertained us ( in Db fer Gawds sake) and Keef played the sweetest sounding clarinet. Jeff pulled out a raucous first set, then settled into some finer playing as the evening wore on.

Percussion: Welcome returns on drums from Mack, and from Hussein, who apparently has only just remembered he lives round the corner from the Post. Hope they come again. Sala, Knuckles Hirsh and top gun Alan R all played the Post drum kit with panache, finesse, an insouciant air… and drum sticks.

Singers: just the 9 of them – props to Jess and Yuko who are both already singing better than their teachers might believe possible, and to Briony who absolutely smashed a version of Misty. The Debster, Susie, Jane, Brian, Kay and young Annie (22 and a bit) all entertained as only the Debster, Susie, Jane, Brian, Kay and young Annie (22 and a bit more) can.

Image result for Miles Davis

. . . but no trumpeters!

And finally…The Post Hotel June 23rd Award for best Muso of the day must go to Pete Micevski, who returned after a lengthy absence and played better than ever – according to the several musos we asked…. welcome back.

It was a day to remember. See ya Sunday for another rowdy bash?
TW

Sunday Jazz rattle the rafters at The Post Hotel …

Aaaand… the Castlemaine crew were back. They managed to avoid the usual exaggerated tales of musical exploits – but all played noticeably better, particularly Sala (drums). The session started somewhat late, due to a now regular re-arrangement of the cables, doodads, foldback, wotsit and thingummies. Hell, I hadn’t a clue what was going on.

The Captain, who else?

When we got started it turned into a pretty friendly affair, smooth changeovers and I am fairly sure everyone got a go. Highlight of the day was either David Lole kicking off on piano, or the Philippine mafia, junior division, under the tutelage of Alf Nicdao, consigliere or something. They were a talented bunch – Dorothy, Francis and Joshua waited patiently, then singer and drummer got up and acquitted themselves well.

Soxaphonists: Col, Alan, Laurie, Keef and Luis. As you know, Adolphe Sax, inventor of the sax, died in abject poverty in 1894. So total was his demise, that he never recovered from it. He also invented a six piston trombone, so things could have turned out a lot worse.

Drums: variously wrangled by Alan Richards, who puts the drum pedals back together every week, Sala Kord, philosopher and Persian emigré, young Joshua (or was it Francis?) who played way beyond his tender years and was rather good, and our resident bikie Knuckles Hirsh who is way beyond his tender years, but was also rather good.

Yodellers: a fine bit of warbling, all of which was enthusiastically received, from the Debster, Carol, Jane and Dorothy. Agatha Smythe (22 and a bit) arrived late as usual, but can be forgiven on the grounds that she sings. If she didn’t, well, who knows what might happen…?

Image result for yodellers

Guitar: Nice one, Fermin!

Pianists: David Lole played up a storm, the Debonair Curtis was so hot he shed his jacket (we returned it after we had checked for loose coin, incriminating evidence etc, of which it was disappointingly devoid). Finally, I managed to confirm that getting up at 4 am to write a programme for the upcoming Festival in Kew, before sitting in on a meeting with the Committee, before swallowing 16 antibiotic pills and completely cocking up the set-up, is not conducive to playing some semi sensible piano. Ah well…

See ya Sunday?
TW

The B Team? Well, not entirely

By the time we had tracked down the speaker leads, missing box full of microphones, and devised some way of bolting the drum kit together, we could have been on to the C Team instead.

As it turned out, Laurie was the lone saxophonist, Serge lugged in his double bass, Fermin appeared clutching the trusty ‘tar and a giggle of singers sat patiently at the back…

Another good drummer…

Laurie fired the opening salvo, missed the target and swung up Comin Home Baby, in the non – funk version which seems to have taken on a life of its own as a starting pistol…He then played a neat instrumental set, getting deserved applause from the mob, even though some of them may have known a bit about music.

There being no drummers in the house, it fell to the two pianists (the debonair Mr Curtis and meself) to swap seats and pretend to be drumming. When in fact all we were doing was keeping a beat – (which is, occasionally, what real drummers do) whilst the rhythm section (Fermin, Serge on double bass and whoever on drums) did its thing, later enhanced by the addition of the Rev Kevin. At their own insistence they all played nicely together. Adrian took over on piano for a while – very nicely done too.

Warblers included Jane, Kevin who seemed a bit distracted, Jess on her second foray, Rose who was in the mood for some standards, and Carol the crooner. Jane made a surprisingly good drummer later in the day. Huich played a coupla sets on her violin.

The Post was packed when we started, wisely thinned out a bit, and then got down to some more serious drinking when we packed up. We ended with a version of Blue Monk so extended that we even played it backwards. And then packed up early..a smallish affair, but surprisingly civil, somewhat musical, and not, therefore, entirely in the B team tradition.

Next week, the Festivalisti may return. Oh joy! Bring charts, enthusiasm and performance anxiety if you must…and don’t believe a word they say.
TW

It’s Cold, and vaguely Japanese, and the B Team to come…

There is a chill draught wafting through the spider webbed corridors of Bendigo Towers, world headquarters of the Jammers Newsletter and Daily Drivel. Winter is upon us, and the deadline approacheth.

So… what of last weeks Jamarama and Melody Mangling sesh, I hear you ask? Well, I don’t hear you ask ços this is a silent metaphor. We are saving up for the other sort.

Actually, it was all rather fun in a borrowed Mike’s PA kind of way, plenty of good singers, a host of saxophonisti, Laurie back from the brink of dental oblivion, the Captain, Jeff, Alan in a somewhat subdued mood, and just the one Spanish novelist (published, Luis tells me), with Julian on bass.

And then the arvo turned a bit Japanese: apart from Ayako who sensibly didn’t sing and her friend Yuiko, who sensibly did, there was Yûsuke on guitar, and Risa, easily this week’s star vocalist. And she hadn’t forgotten My Mother’s Son in Law, done at the usual breakneck speed. A fun toon.

Drums ably handled by Steve Bray, and Sala, Neil in fine form on guitar, followed of course by a tonsil chorus line – The Debster, Aimee, Annie, Alice (I think) and local Justin. 7 vocalists in total (plus Susie who dropped in later) made for a busy afternoon – well, Malcolm on piano and meself alternating were definitely kept busy.

And the Post was jumpin’! Pretty much a full house all afternoon – there is no doubt that the Jammers rise to the expectations of a crowd.

Next week, all the real musicians (according to them) will be off to Castlemaine or Merimbula for a weekend of strutting their stuff – which means the B team will be left to do their thing at the Post. Either no-one will turn up, or plenty will with the opportunity to play or sing a little more than usual. Could be a disaster of epic proportions.

Bring charts, enthusiasm and performance anxiety if you must…
TW

Sup,Yup, Yep and Nope

Sup? Well, not a lot really,, The Post Hotel seems to score a lot more recognition than the name, location and history would suggest. An easy stroll from Chateau de Ma Missus foregone this week due to a sore back.

So Col and Manager Mike had things well under control by the time I got there, and I amused myself by looking (confused) at all the knobs on Manager Mike’s mixer; whilst the Captain fretted about the lack of one speaker cable. A detail, surely?

Started sans bass player (or another piano player for that matter) at 4.10. Dave Taylor lugged his double in about a minute later, and we were all good to go. The debtser, I think opened the batting or was it the saxogoodie brigade with some obscure three chorder?

Yup: saxoloboddle benefit week, what with the Captain, Jeff H, Alan and later Keef and Stan all having a dip. Some good stuff amongst the lads, and they all took turns and played nicely for the most part.

Yep: Kay sang up a storm, Deb sounded good whilst confusing some of us, and when I say some, I really mean meself. Newcomer Jess was an instant hit, singing You’ve Changed, Dream a Little Dream, and You Go to my Head. Pretty challenging selection first up, but clearly had prior and proved well up to it, other than ducking around the form. Next time, next time, please come again,.

Who else? Carol sang with her trademark warm tone, and managed the rhythm section beautifully – we were getting a bit unruly by this stage. Janine gave me a break and sang with guitar at the end. Sweet.

Drums deftly handled by Alan Richards, Steve Bray back from Queensland as good as new. Neil (guitar) earned some warm praise from the back row and threw in a couple of solos.

Marian, who I have not apparently mentioned three weeks in a row, may have turned up early, and and played some neat recorder. Just thought I’d mention it….

Nope: So…we seemed to go awful late – finished at 7.50, by which stage I had enjoyed a good ten minutes off, slack mongrel…
TW

Was that a good Session? First, some thoughts on the Kafkas

All you really need to know about Franz Kafka is that he died of tuberculosis and was 6 foot tall. Although not necessarily in that order. His sister Ottla may have been an exceptional pianist. Nobody knows for sure, as she didn’t turn up for last Sunday’s jam session either.

Franz was of course famous for his short stories and being a bit of a nutter. Ottla was known for absolutely nothing. Had they both been there, it is highly probable that they would have had little effect upon the Sunday Jam Session, especially as they are both dead. Possibly.

But I digress. You may skip this next bit, as you have already deepened your knowledge of Prague based novelists, etc. etc. and that should be enough education for anyone.

You still here? Good…the session started with, um, some music probably. Kay singing 42, 18, 81 and I can’t remember what other numbers, but it all sounded good. Mr Richards on drums was rather excellent. The Captain, Jeff, Laurie and Keef on saxithingies then exerted their numerical superiority for a bit, Laurie notably smooth on a coupla ballads, before the tonsil artistes took over again. Rose voted the pick of them, or maybe Annie in her first stint at the Post, or Carol directing her band beautifully. First timer Libby got up and sang a coupla toons -seemed to go alright for someone with not very much prior form. Julian alternately flooted, twanged and warbled. Susie just sang.

All about the bass: Dave NN started on bass, then lent his axe to Ivan, who had way too much fun, before newcomer Serge took over on double bass, playing some tidy lines, with watsisname Hirsh, esquire no less, pretty neat on drums… again.

The Wrap: Some time around bedtime, the incomparable Annie Smith sang a coupla riotous toons, amusing herself by getting the guitarists (Neil, then Graham)  tangled up in 3/4 time. Annie insisted on not being called the Divine Miss Smith, and has been on gardening leave. She says. Anyway, if she really is 22 and a half, as she possibly alleges, she would be starting to look a bit frayed round the edges. We had fun. Disregard this paragraph if you prefer….

So…it was, in the end, a rather good session; and if you are still here, triffic, now turn up next Sunday for another go.
TW

Wondering

Often, when wandering into a Sunday Arvo Jam, one wonders. And just as often, one does not. Last Sunday was one of those days when pondering the state of the universe would only become those who were not heaving the gear up and down the stairs, and wondering, where are the speaker stands?

After the previous week’s quiet one, this time we stepped into the Mother’s Day luncheons, and a bar that was already fullish. We started as soon as we had gone round each table to apologise for the appalling racket we had in contemplation.

Only it didn’t quite turn out that way: a brisk Comin’ Home Baby to settle the crowd, Jeff and the Captain smooth on saxibles, then we were away with all sorts of singers – Deb, Jane, Susie, Kevin, Kay now back in Melbourne for good. Whose good, she neglected to say, but singing better than ever, according to the seasoned salts.

As a busy, noisy afternoon wore on, guitar from Fermin and Neil, fine cameos from Julian (floot and abacus) Huich (violin), meself and young Malcolm on keys, and an admirable line up of Russell, Alan R, Sala and Mr Hirsh esq. on the slap, rattle and thump department.

Really, the music was as good as the PA was a mess – the Captain kept busy most of the afternoon tweaking the knobs, and tuning the sound system in between. We eventually diagnosed a dodgy speaker lead having the afternoon off. (Factory Sound in South Melbourne have fixed it already.)

19 musos, with the afternoon stolen by Marley, see above pic she is the smaller one, on percussion and scene stealing, the Hirsh on Sunny Side of the Street, and a wrap up by Janine – Aint Misbehavin’ in G. Good grief! ‘Twas all good – let’s do it again, next time with speaker stands, and no dodgy leads…

Toodlepip!
TW