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?

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.

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…

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…

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.


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…



… in a fashion… Started the day with four (yes, four, read it and weep) saxophones. I tried suggesting that they should all get up and play at once, but it turns out saxophony is a competitive sport, and they each decided that the others were too good – which, of course, they weren’t.

And no bass player, for which I own an apology to pianist Peter Garam – we made him open the innings with no bass line, no proper drummer, and You’ve Changed, with which he professed no familiarity. Sounded alright to me…

Along with the Captain (Chaos), there was Laurie (sweet tone), Jeff (Misty), and the Blast from the past and all round bon vivant Alan West – turns out he lives pretty close by, and has lost none of his ability on sax…

Newcomer Dan, or Daniel perhaps, sat patiently waiting for his turn on piano, then launched into Fly Me To The Moon. Hope he comes again. Then Ezra (trombone) joined in – he took a while to warm up all 9 feet of the old brass pipe, but really added something to the jam – producing warm tones, with Julian on floot. The saxopholologists foregathered to a nearby table and attempted to snaffle all the sliders and munchies that the Post put on.

Ivan and Dave No Nickname arrived fashionably late, or more late than fashionable, take your pick; and took over bass duties from the exhausted left handed piano players, meself and Malcolm as well as the aforementioned Garam. Sala played the drums aided by innate proficiency, which is more than could be said for the alternative.

And that was it really: the first session in living memory with no singers, and the smallest line-up for, literally, years. It is a good thing they all played some sweet stuff. The audience seemed to enjoy it, the Budvar ran out, and the kids behaved.

Micro-managed? – there was stuff all to manage, what with the small turnout and the Captain calling time early.

‘Twas fun, but. Let’s do it again.


The Party Gets Bigger

And noisier, and a bit more chaotic…. Another fun session at The Post last Sunday, only this time 24 musos turned up, tuned up and shed their dignity in the approved manner. And a good time, it would seem was had by all.

Whilst almost nothing surprises the few hardy desperates who turn up every week, there was a noticeable upswing in the audience numbers, most of whom were, to start with, complete bluddy strangers. Not any more…

A few returned jammers after long absences – Stuart from the Ramage days, the immaculate Ben Hooper, rather better than ever on keys; Gentleman John Curtis, who has managed to get tied up in grandfathering duties, but dropped in for a while, with a good short stint on the ivories. And Agus, making a welcome, if occasional, visit to the jam sessions, playing as beautifully as ever. He has another gig coming up at Paris Cat on May 22nd –

Sax is good for you: the Captain hauled out his sax, on the dubious grounds that exercise would be good for the damaged forelimb, and ended up playing, well, more than most. You can’t keep a good man down… or the Captain for that matter. Jeff ditto. Keef turned up lateish, as is his wont, but was possibly the best of the saxophilologists, even when playing his clarionet.

Singers (seven again) – Jane, then Carol survived us messing with the reverb, and sounded rather good. Janine, fresh from her regular St Kilda gig, sang for the first time and was the best of them, Nurul and the increasingly stylish Rose sang to their usual standard.

Drummers: John Perri, Alan Richards and Salah, most of whom got louder as the day wore on, M Hirsh esq didn’t, but tried fiddling with the drum stool, then hit the skins with drumsticks and style, if not panache, and possibly a little finesse thrown in for good measure.

Basso profundo and fender: Ivan (big bass) and Dave (elec bass) started about an hour after Neil (guitar) and meself (p) had messed around with bass lines in their absence. Thankfully.

The evening closed with Ain’t Misbehavin’, from Janine, then some nice trio work, and the Prasad playing, as he does from time to time, Blue Bossa.

All up a good arvo, lots of people and some very complimentary comments, none of which shall I repeat for fear of inflating egos beyond the width of the front door.

The Post is starting to cook. We look forward to seeing you there.

Just a bunch of bloody amateurs?

Rash promises: By the time I got to the Post at 3.00pm, I had already received three text messages from singers who had said they were coming, and then didn’t. Would anybody turn up on Easter Sunday Arvo?

It seemed, for a while, quite possibly not, while we took a good 45 minutes to set up the gear. Jeez, a power point nearby wouldn’t be too much to ask, would it. Well, yes it would.

Eventually opened the batting at 4.10, with the Debster chosen as our first singer, Kevin in at first drop. Dave Taylor on double bass, and Alan Richards on drums made for a sweet rhythm section.

Due, quite possibly, to our incompetence in setting up the gear, the sound was remarkably good all afternoon although it got a bit noisy as the place filled up. I do wish that people wouldn’t turn up and have a good time, whilst we are trying to be deadly serious, or otherwise musical. Havin’ a good time? Bah, humbug!

We stopped worrying if anyone would turn up by the time the Captain started worrying about how he would get everyone a turn at the wheel. The Post Hotel was pleasantly full by half time.

In the end we had 16 musos get up and boogie – four bassists and seven singers – with the return of Rose (Route 66), Kevin and, good grief, haven’t seen Brian in a while; Carol, newcomer Edith, and Susie. Will was the lone saxophonist, played as smooth as ever, even filled in on the drums at the close. Nice one.

Props to the Captain -who didn’t play due to a crook arm, but put hours into finding the right venue, and hopefully felt well rewarded; to Edith who admitted after singing that she had never done it before – and made a pretty fair fist of it; to Rose for recommending the venue, and to all the jammers for giving the session the thumbs up.

And a final thanks to POCKOTL, Rod and Bette – they didn’t get there until 7.00, but these are our connection to the original Dizzy’s Jam sessions. Better write an other paragraph before Bette works out how old that makes her.

Oh yes… “Just a bunch of bloody amateurs” was how I described the jammers to the landlord – so he wouldn’t be disappointed – he wasn’t, and the jammers exceeded his expectations.
See ya next Sunday​​?

Sunday Jazz at The Royal Standard, Carruthers notices it is a bit quiet…

Second session at the Royal Standard, the Captain is a bit crook and all that bumping in and out to do… and it did seem a little quiet, as Carruthers has noted many times before …

Jammers Happy – at the Royal Standard playing As Time Goes By

Still, we got things up and running on time, all except the microphone which joined us a bit later. Quite why anyone would have a switch on a microphone is beyond my limited comprehension. Certainly made life hard for Miss Jane, who later sang up a storm anyway.

Good new drummer, Michael, warmed to the task after taking over from Russell the Reliable, then Bill as immaculate as ever. Jeff more or less had the saxophone department to himself, and ran duly amok, as you do.

An afternoon then rescued by Nurul, who sang remarkably well for someone who has only had kids to scream at for the last few months. Dave Taylor majestic on double bass, the Nicknameless Other Dave drove it along nicely in between times.

And as the evening wore on (and it did wear a bit at times) Huich came to the fore, given an opportunity to call the tunes and fiddle away, with Yuseke on guitar as able back up. Great little interlude towards the end of the evening.

The lowest turnout (13 musos having fun) since the Leinster Arms days – we need to settle to a new venue…

This coming Sunday will be our last at the Royal Standard for a while, notwithstanding its easy parking, central location, ace food and a really nice Little Creatures on tap. The jammers are then moving to the Post Hotel on the corner of Inkerman and St Kilda Road in sunny downtown St Kilda. More below.

Sunday Jazz at The Royal Standard, it worked a bit good

Got to the set-up early-ish, to find The Captain and Jane bolting the drum kit together. All more or less done before the troops arrived, although we failed to get the sound check set-up before the saxophones started warming up. Alan Richards turned up in time to re-assemble the drum kit, thereby rendering it playable.

The new/old venue proved a good one – a bit noisy and hard to balance, but the smarter musos adjusted to that quickly, using the alarming (to some) strategy of playing quieter.

Friday 22nd March saw the biggest number of hits on the website for any day in the last two years. And 19 musos fronted, singers and saxes winning the day, but rather more delicate interventions from Laurie, the Captain, Huich (violin) and Gene (guitar) in particular.

Dave Taylor added more than a touch of class on double bass, working well with Alan. Probably explains the standard of music which climbed a notch or three as the arvo wore on.

Geoff (piano) played his longest session yet. Whoo hoo!

We are continuing to check out the places suggested by various jammers, but are we happy with the Royal S so far…? Proving to be a good stopgap venue, Frank was well pleased, parking is a doddle, and a turnout bigger than we had dared hope. Roll on!

See ya this Sunday?

Sunday Jazz at The Royal Standard, what will they think of next?

Yup, landlord Frank has stepped up to the plate and offered us the back room at the Royal Standard Hotel for this Sunday and next.

If we like it and he likes it, we might continue thereafter.

A little history:

We first approached the Royal Standard, watering hole to the gentry, everyone else let in for free, about 8 years ago – in the mistaken belief that it was another venue anyway. . Then landlord Dom and his wife Cheryl agreed to let us try the side Bar for a few Sundays.Eighteen months later, we left for the Leinster….

When the Grand Hotel cancelled the regular gigs there, we turned back to the Royal Standard again for Friday night sessions. These ran for a few months, and quite a few of the current MJJ regulars played there.

Frank remembers us well, probably for all the wrong reasons, but has welcomed us back. Guinness on tap, and Italian meals of the better sort. Decent sort of a fella.

See ya this Sunday?