Castlemaine done and dusted

The Fourth Annual Castlemaine Jazz Bash went off without a hitch. Several people commented on the generally higher standard of music this year, and at least two of us thought that the Criterion Hotel was the pick of the venues. Certainly heard some good music there.

This year’s Committee had its moments, and by the time the Festival opened there were only four or five of the original 12 members still standing. In the circumstances, a fine effort.

It was great to see the quirky Run Rabbit Run back and packed, the Church hosted some fine music, and the Old Castlemaine Gaol was pumping all weekend. I must confess I ran out of time and didn’t get to Faulder Watson or the Cumberland; and the policy of consolidating the performance spaces rather than using more outlying venues seems to have been well received.

Hetty Kate’s master classes were well attended and the Dinner Dance on Sunday night sold out. Phew!

And the bands? Loved the Jazzsisters, Tim Nelson Band got better and better, Nadira Farid was a smash, Stomperoo was fun, and on a personal note, it was gratifying to see Katerina Myskova and Joys Njambi both play to full houses.

Lots of Jammers played, or volunteered or both. A fun weekend.

Castlemaine this weekend

It must be with a sense of relief that the Committee can finally sit back, relax and then panic all weekend at long last. The Fourth Annual Jazz Festival de Castlemaine kicks off on Friday evening, and keeps going all weekend. Eighty or Ninety bands, eight venues (or is it nine?), Vocals Masterclasses, a jazz parade, a supper club – there is more than enough to keep the most jaded jazzophile occupied.

And if you run out of ideas, I suggest you indulge in some vigorous warm-up calisthenics as the Big C is going to be cold as a witches t*t.

There will be bands from Queensland (stomperoo) and from Tasmania (Nadira F) and just about everywhere in between.

You can purchase a ticket (cash or card) on the day from the Ray Bradfield Room (it should be well signed), and there is a range of ticket choices: all day, evening, all weekend etc. etc. Children under 12 get in free, (children under 3 can get in for $250)

Hope to see you there!

Festival for beginners: start here…

Meanwhile, back at the big C, preparations proceed apace for the Fourth Annual Castlemaine Jazz Festival, President Carpenter dodging the bullets; and indeed for the 49th edition of the Castlemaine Jam Session, Judge Turnbull presiding. It all goes off like a frog in a sock over the first (jam) and second (jazz) weekend in June.

This year’s Festival takes another lurch to the left, with new venues (Anglican Church, Theatre Royal and Maurocco Bar), big band karaoke, and a couple of master classes for aspiring singers with featured chanteuse Hetty Kate, followed by an evening of dancing at the supper club. Rumour has it that several tickets have been sold, and around 350 musicians will be descending on the ‘burg all weekend to make up the numbers.

Should be fun…

Katerina Myskova and Her Quartet


Katerina is back for her second Castlemaine Jazz Festival. Originally from Prague, she is now based in Melbourne, and, with her regular quartet, will be presenting her favourite latin and swing standards.

Katerina Myskova Jazz Vocalist
Ivan Sultanoff Double Bass
Ted Woollan Piano
Ben Stewart Guitar
Chelsea Allen Drums

Joys Njambi Quartet



Jazz, soul, and blues, delivered by a consummate performer. Joys is a Melbourne based singer, with a passion and background in Gospel/motown and Soul music, now exploring the jazz genres, with her regular quartet.

Joys Njambi Vocals
Michelle Morrison Drums
Ted Woollan piano
Kip Dale bass
Ben Stewart Guitar

The ishs/Allen Project

Contemporary, latin, folk . The ishs/Allen project is the real deal. They all played out of their skins at the recent Inverloch Jazz Festival and are back for their fourth Castlemaine. This band keeps getting better and better, and will take you on an unforgettable musical journey.


ade ishs: piano, voice
Chelsea Allen: drums, voice
Paul Bonnington: bass
Ee Shan Pang: trumpet, voice

For more info
click here
or here

Nadira and Friends

Pocket Rocket Nadira is up from Hobart to present her own cheeky take on swing tunes, jazz standards, and ballads to bring a tear to the eye.

Nadira Farid (vocals),
Isaac Barter (bass),
Liam O’Leary (drums),
Michael Panton (guitar)


Sevil Sabah & The Webb St. Band

Sevil returns to Castlemaine. She has been one of the outstanding singers of the previous Festivals, and this year brings a new band, covering the songs of Bill Withers, Erika Baydu Jill Scott and others, maybe a couple of Jazz standards.

Soul and Jazz – a great combination.

Sevil Sabah Vocals
Joel Lukes Bass
Tom Doublier Drums
Billy Mathieson Keys



Progressive, modern jazz from some highly credentialed musicians.

Long established SHOL pay homage to their collective musical influences including: 70’s electric-era Miles, The Jazz Messengers, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra Orchestra, Thelonius Monk, Anthony Braxton and world music grooves and more.




Jon Magill’s Groove Congress

A glance at the musicians in the band will tell you that maestro Jon Magill has done it again – bringing together some top funk musicians. Expect contemporary jazz, bold arrangements, and a “little” big band punching well above its weight.

ade ishs – keyboards
Jon magill – saxes
Paul Bonnington – electric bass
Jarod Gordon – Guitar
Rob Mercer – drums

Westlake Williams Four Hands Piano Duo

Four handed original composition piano duets playing classically influenced ambient jazz. Cerebral music for connoisseurs or ear candy for when you have had too much big band – take your pick.

Band member names & instruments they play
Georgina Williams (piano with occasional additional bass and vocals)
Michael Westlake (piano with occasional additional bass, classical guitar and vocals).