The Story So Far

The Venue Menu – places we have destroyed

I am deeply indebted to some of the longest surviving jammers for their thoughts on the various places we have played – particularly Mike Hirsh who hasn’t let his failing memory or love of carpet diminish his thoughts. I must confess I thought the winning venue would be a lay down misere for the original Dizzy’s, but the various aforementioned jammers saw all sorts of advantages to the other joints. The fact that they are all now shut in no way detracts from our considerable efforts in sending a few of them to the wall ourselves.

So, to the Venue Rating Stakes:

POCKOTL, audience: The original princess of the cool and keeper of the list. Known for her occasional propensity for dancing on the tables clutching a gladioli and waving a hand thrown green porcelain jug, in defiance of the vague requirements for propriety that is the bane of all licensed establishments.

Favourite: The Glasshouse. POCKOTL recalls, quite rightly, evenings when the likes of Adam Rudegair and Anna Gilkison showed us how it should be done…

Least Favourite: The Night Cat

Gentleman John Curtis, piano:

A late starter for the Stakes. A mainstay of the jams over the years, whose piano playing has become increasingly sophisticated, particularly after being sent to the Jazz school in France for bad behaviour or something.

Favourite: old Dizzy’s in Swan Street – great setup with grand piano on stage, bar at back and audience space. Intimate, best acoustics and convenient location. First experience of jamming.
Least Favourite: Night Cat – Too large, not suited to jazz, very reverberant , poor layout, awkward location.

The Phillips, drummer: surprise runner, so modest we almost missed him.

Favourite: Picked Dizzy’s, and why not – the only venue with a grand piano, some surprising talent over the years, the original and best, where Paul got back to jazz as a drummer, after a 30 year hiatus, and has been going downhill ever since.

Least Favourite: Asked which was his least favourite, his reply is:

“Very difficult to think of a “worst” as any room with a bunch of people playing jazz, fuelled by alcohol, is going to be OK.

Carpet Hirsh: had to be prompted to get out of the stalls, but came up with a detailed assessment on mature reflection:

Dizzy’s Swan Street (old Post Office)

My fave of all time. On any given Friday night 6pm till 8pm was always packed with memories of some great talent. The musicians who ran the jam had no constraints on the instruments used, time on turnaround between sets, or the amount of alcohol that could be consumed. The more we drank the better we sounded, thanks Roger ..

Night Cat, Johnson Street

Went there once, but not then the jazz jam was on..

Scarlette Bar/Onderland.Smith Street

Great location as there was a lot of passing punters, problem was they never came in they just kept on passing.

The Glasshouse, Gipps Street

Loved this venue as Taariq always insisted on doing Frank Zappa tunes at ridiculous tempos, and obscure time signatures, which most of the musos couldn’t handle (or didn’t care to?)

Ramage, Park Street South Melbourne

Ummmm don’t remember. Editor’s note: Apart from the jams, Mike actually played a gig there – could have been pissed at the time, which may explain the memory lapse….

La Pena, Victoria Street North Melbourne

Vaguely remember – as do we all

The Royal Standard Hotel, William Street North Melbourne

Had some good Jams there, loved the way the bar was situated between the jammers which was a buffer and safe haven from any train wrecks Can’t forget the way overpriced beer. Beer was always an issue in the Dom and Cheryl days

The Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Collingwood

Will never forget Glen (the drummer landlord) Was he a drummer? Ummm… He had a knack of always saying the jammers were too loud. Problem was he was always louder than anyone else, and had this crazy idea that all drummers had to use his toys. Mind you we had some well attended Christmas do’s and some fine after jammers dinner dates.

This venue ran for eight years (longer than any other) so it must have had some redeeming features. Best pre Christmas bashes. Surprising how many of the long term jammers remembered it more for its shortcomings.

The Junktion Hotel, Kew Junction

The layout was s**t house, the sound was “boomy” and does anybody know what happened to my carpet ? (see The carpet Chronicles below) . Was this venue the one with the worst house red, or was it the Leinster Arms?

The Post Hotel, St Kilda Road/Inkerman, St Kilda

Great venue for musicians and punters alike…and cool and hip bar staff (Mel, Toby, Devon), giving out free drinks, much to the delight of the jammers who suddenly realised that this was too good to be true. Which, of course, it was.

Nobody ever got on top of the PA system ; its technical deficiencies compounded by the endless feedback, and constant failings of speakers, leads or mics not working or not plugged in.

(Some of the mics worked better when they weren’t plugged in)

We were finally abandoned by yet another misguided management.

The Carpet Chronicles:

These came about after years of watching the Hirsh (and other drummers) slap the drum kit across a slippery floor. On occasion, there might have been an uncharitable thought as to where the drum kit might slide to. Once he got wind of this cunning scheme, young Mike insisted on a carpet to hold the decrepit kit du jour together, and so far we have been through about six manky rugs, filched from various corporation tips.

The carpets provide a modicum of sound attenuation, and a soft landing for the dummy…
TW

Live Streams, Dead Pubs, the Laws of the Jam Session

Apparently, last week’s article headed Epistrophy struck a chord. I should stop right there, should I not? As if….Thank you for the feedback all the same.

First up, a bit about live – streaming music. We have had time to catch up on comments from the main stream media, or what is left of it. Seems current circumstances are disrupting the model of music streaming.

(See mediaredef-newsletter@mediaredefined.com)

Streaming model businesses have all sought to provide access to every artiste in the known universe, or on the planet at least. And they have all been jolly successful – if you can get it on Spotify, it is bound to be on Itunes, Pandora, Amazon and Tidal. So they are no longer competing on quality or exclusivity so much as on being cheap, easy and available. At 30,000,000 tunes, it would take 79.9 years of nonstop listening to Spotify alone to get through them all.

Going live online: Seems that the current trend is for musicians to create concerts on line rather than in person, bypassing the streaming services as wellas the great unwashed and going straight to social media – Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Whats App and the like. Apparently no-one has yet come up with a more efficient way of spreading viruses than a music festival or concert

Adding fuel to the fire, the current users of streaming services are apparently moving away from new music, and going the nostalgia route. So musicians can now choose between not getting paid much a by a streaming service, not getting paid at all because the gigs have all been cancelled, and not getting paid much by putting on their own concert or getting paid heaps by being dead.

Anecdotally, those jammers who have tried the online caper say it is technologically unreliable, and in particular creates timing issues. All that technology can barely provide a substitute for the live experience, even if it does improve, which of course it will because technology is like that. Should anyone doubt that, I got it from several sources, including a Wiltshire based Ukulele group. So there.

Personally, can’t wait to play live again. Ditto, I suspect. Most jammers…

Pubs with Pianos I haven’t Played At: Somewhere in south western Queensland there is a run down shack called the Toompine Hotel. It sits on the side of the Quilpie Thargomindah Road – a dirt track halfway between nowhere and nowhere else – I had ridden up it on a 1000cc Honda, with no map, not much petrol, and no water, mainly because Thargomindah was closed.

Turns out around 70% of all passing traffic stops at the Toompine Hotel. So I did too. . It is a bit like Wall Drug in that respect except Wall Drug is also closed, and it is in South Dakota. But I digress. There was an Opal rush in Toompine in the late 1800’s, but only the Hotel and the Cemetery and about six street signs got built The streets were called 1st Street, 2nd Street and so on. Probably a saxophone player there somewhere. Dead opal miners made it to the Cemetery. Everybody else packed up their tent and went to Lightning Ridge.

So… parked the bike, walked in for a chat with the landlord. There was a piano at the side of the bar. Who’da thought?. “That’s nothing” the barkeep said, “there’s another one out the back – I’ll show you” So through the back door, and there was another bar, with another piano along side. Who’da thought? Whilst I mused on the statistical improbability of finding two pianos in the outback, he opened a door at the back of the bar, and there, in a dingy room, was another piano, only this one was falling through the floor as the floorboards had been eaten by termites. Turns out there is not, statistically speaking , much between the odds of two and three pianos.

As none of them were in tune, I finished my drink, got back on the bike and went to Quilpie instead – where they had a surf club on the shores of Lake Quilpie. I bought the story and the teeshirt in the Quilpie Cafe.

Next week’s newsletter Why I stopped at Wall Drug, South Dakota, but not at the Ocean Inn, Dymchurch
TW

The Jammers Bit:

Epistrophy…

It has been a lively week at Bendigo Towers, world headquarters of the Melbourne Jazz Jammers Newsletter. First time in ages that we have been unable to report a single bum note played by a single jammer. Try harder!

Epistrophy in the key of what? We are sure there have been some bum notes,, if only because so many of you have been attempting to learn Epistrophy in either Gbm, C# major, or a tearing hurry, depending on your mood at the time.

Why so many jammers are doing this is easily explained. We had occasion to contact quite a number of musos (see the Festival section below) with the intention of confirming their intent to perform in the Second Inaugural Newport Jazz Festival (permits pending). Almost everyone admitted to using the time to avoid doing all the tasks that they had rashly said they would do when they had the time.

Quite a number pounced eagerly on the Epistrophy idea as an excuse, as I said we would play it when we got a jam session together again. By accident, I mentioned the key we would play it in – and am now looking forward to three saxophones playing it in F#, Db, A#minor and B simultaneously, whilst the pianist plays it in Fb mixolydian – and the bass player in A. We are not worried what key the guitarists use, because they always sound a bit naff anyway. And the drummers don’t play in any key, so we have asked them to work up a spiffing little riff in 7/4 instead. This will keep them happy and the rest of us confused.

The noise should be truly appalling, and I encourage you to come along and enjoy the debacle, when we get around to it. Nothing can truly replace live music, can it?

A Trot Through the Archives

Most chardonnays at one session: Bob Vinard, every session. Dizzy’s 2009, 2010, 2011, eventually got banned, came back at the Leinster, and switched to most teaspoons (six usually) of sugar in his coffee, 2015, 2016,

Most insults hurled at a single Drummer Alan White, but only because he asked for them, and got grumpy if we left him out. Still miss him. A dapper dresser – is there stilla Datsun 180B in Moonee Ponds with no seat covers? A natural drummer – never had a lesson in his life. Never missed a beat, never found it in the first place. Eventually learned that a drum stick has two ends. You get the drift…

Longest single tune: Little Sunflower, 16 minutes. The Leinster, can’t remember when, as I only woke up when it was finished. A loose use of the word “tune”.

Earliest known Jammer: Mike Hirsh, by his own estimation. Has played at every one of the venues we have destroyed. Still playing, still waiting for a nice carpet…

Biggest Train Wreck of all time. So many to choose from…Contenders include Gentleman John Curtis for a version of Don’t Explain that defied belief. Actually maybe it was another tune, it was hard to tell. He will claim, quite justifiably, that he was hamstrung by the three saxophones playing in either a different key, a different tempo, or both.

Another memorable cockup was the Annie Smith Leinster debacle of 2015. Again, the name of the tune now escapes me. The chart was to blame. She followed this up with another absolute trainwreck at the Junktion, this time with Sam Izzo on piano and everyone else on drugs probably. The chart was to blame. We did the same song, on principle, the following week and it went fine…

clip_image002[9]
The Rt Hon Annie Smith

Strange how the Curtis and the Divine Miss Smith (as she was then known), have been generally two of the best performers at Jam sessions in between. Of course it is more fun for all of us when it is the mighty who have fallen…

Loudest singer of all time: And damn good with it… Amy Jaulin at the Leinster. The entire Front Bar stopped playing 8 ball to listen – or was it to look?

clip_image002[11]
Amy Jaulin, the flying eyelash…

Fours, Fives, who knows… This has been an enduring speciality of the Duracell Kid, latterly known as Captain Chaos. The trick is to leap up in the middle of a perfectly good tune, and call “fours” by which he may mean anything between 3 and 17… after which half the band will ignore him, and the other half stop, whilst the drummer du jour goes berserk in the mistaken belief that we like that sort of thing.

clip_image001
Captain Chaos at Ramage, just after the Second World War.

November 15th 2013 Jack’s Accident

“And Jack! Long term jammers may remember he was mowed down by a Pajero going backwards, whilst strolling across Queen Street. Jack Morris, not the Pajero. Rumour has it he was playing his trombone at the time. A complete defence against a charge of careless driving. Anyhoo, the crash severely affected his trombone playing abilities, to the extent that he now sounds pretty damn good. He was good before of course, but not pretty.

Taariq: A stalwart of the jams, starting from Dizzy’s. Had a unique feel for what constituted jazz, coupled with an innate inability to blend with almost any other musician. Would then show that he could play, if only intermittently by occasionally nailing a piece.. Sample review:

“Highlight of the day, for me, was Taariq getting the groove going for Feelin’ Good. We agreed at the end that it almost sounded like real music. Not like yer average jam at all really.”

And that is a trot through the archives for now. Several peeps have commented how much they miss the jams. Amazing how you can forget so quickly. Stay in touch, stay healthy, and toodlepip!

TW

The Jammers Bit: The last Tango and looking ahead

Fin de Siecle moment 22nd March – who but the Good Captain Chaos (aka Col Garrett) would organise a Saturday morning freebie outside a cafe in Challis Street – the back end of Newport – for no particular reason that I might be aware of.

clip_image002

Started at the ungodly hour of 10.30 am, with one coffee drinker and her dog.. but strangely warmed up into a rather spiffin’ little local event, with people dancing in the street, eyeballing the quartet from a passing bus, drinking coffee and generally being nice to each other. By midday it was swinging hard – seemed like most people knew this would be the last hurrah for a while and loved every minute of it. Props to Katerina Myskova for singing her little heart out, to Steve Martin on double bass (we borrowed him from The Newport Gypsy Djangos), The Good Captain playing some easy saxophone, and to meself for turning up and having a ball…

The shop was shut a few days later…

Doom and Gloom … which brings me neatly to the next bit. 99% of the jammers are doing the same number of gigs and earning the same coin as they were before it all went t*ts up and pear shaped. The optimists among us (there are 3) will be looking forward to doing the same number of gigs and earning the same coin some time in the future.

Shutting down the Jazz Festival. We are actually getting so good at this that we might keep doing it year after year…

Support for Professional Musicians

I have received several earnest e-mails asking us all to support a submission to Government seeking special treatment for the Arts sector, because everyone has lost their gigs. Everyone being, in this case, musicians who are so professional they feel entitled… and not idle jammers. Unless people start leaning out of windows and applauding musicians, we probably won’t contribute to this…If we continually plead jazz as a special case, we will only emphasise how non-essential it might have become.

Looking Ahead: Party Party Party!

There is a real risk that any number of music venues will not survive.. We have been in touch with Gina at the Tower, planning a re-opening party even if we don’t know when. And we will go back to the Challis Street cafe to do it all over again. Maybe throw in a few recovery parties for other venues as well. See the bit on the Newport Jazz Festival 2021 below.

Venues we have closed, and other bits of gossip..

Some bright spark suggested a review of all the different venues whose standards we have lowered over the years:

The “old” Dizzy’s: The Friday night sessions featured (amongst others) the Curtis, Hirsh, Marg in the audience, and Bob Vinard on the chardy all night long. Adam Rudegair was a regular, and Celestine terrified us all with her instructions. The POETS day promenade saw some great crowds, particularly when driven by Steve Sedergreen. The musical standard was often high, and this was a great jazz venue for quite a while, punctuated by noisy trains out the back. It closed because the management apparently received an offer they could not refuse. Roger was moving the venue to Burnley Street, aiming to be open in a couple of months – it took over two tears… so we went to:

The Night Cat. This one didn’t last long as a jammers venue, but this was where Margaret the newly named POCKOTL took us. Princess of Cool and Keeper of the List, she had the bright idea of getting everybody’s email address so we could stay in touch. The Johnson Street venue was a barn of a place that needed a huge crowd to make it work, which it never did for us. Sam Cheevers ran a great latin band there on Saturday nights, long gone, but the POCKOTL email list survives – it is now the Newsletter email list for around 550 people who have been associated with the jams over the years.

Scarlette Bar/Onederland. The scruffiest venue (by quite a margin) that the jammers ever played in. Had some great nights there, even if it was a little cold. Memorable rendition of Georgia by Henry Manetta was a highlight. Eventually the bar got taken over and ‘refurbished” with mouldy armchairs; the management probably thought it had potential as a great venue for drug dealers but was too seedy even for them. We left this one just before it went broke…

The Glasshouse, Fitzroy. This pub was a hangout for unsuspecting Lesbians, who took to the jammers like ducks to a crocheting class. What were we thinking? Regular jammers at the time included Bob from South Melbourne. Depending on who you believed, Bob studied philosophy at University, played classical piano, had a severe mental illness, came from a middle class background (his words), had a non-specific performing arts grant and a heart of gold.

Other jammers at the time included the Debster on debut, Julie Stewart, Bronwyn an audience regular, Miriam (from the Dizzy’s days) Anton on bass, and John Dent playing the sweetest clarinet. Jane Elvy on New York State of Mind was a standout. And this was the venue for the famous mass rendition of Watermelon Man.

“Can we borrow the Technics P30 keyboard for a couple of weeks?” Sure, got it back 8 years later.

There were times we struggled to get a quorum, as many of the original jammers faded away, but the chronically underlit Glasshouse had its Byzantine charms. Can’t remember the barmaid’s name, but she could really sing. So could Sarah Maclaine who dropped in several times…

Ramage, South Melbourne. Dreamt up this one as a pretext for not having to pack up the PA after our regular Saturday night gigs at this South Melbourne bar. The first of the Sunday sessions. Harry the manager grew to love the jams as they became his busiest session of the week; and drew in some fine musicians (the seven sax line-up one week was a treat.) Once persuaded Taariq to let someone else have a go by politely standing on his guitar case. Louise (Rogers) was a regular and a good singer. Captain Chaos started with the jammers at this venue.

Ramage folded after 48 weeks.

La Pena This West Melbourne spanish tapas bar worked well for a while. Highlights included putting a speaker out on the pavement for the Errol Street Festival and pulling a fine crowd. Lost count of how many Local Government regulations that one broke…, before we all turned up one Sunday to find the shelves bare and the locks changed. Never did find out what happened, but I think the manager did a runner. The Spanish beer was ghastly.

The Royal Standard North Melbourne. Ah, Dom and Cheryl! Dropped in here to ask the way to another pub, but thought this might do, (it did -for two years) High points included packing the side bar, then running a whole session off the Roland 30w Cube we used as a foldback, when Dom’s expensive PA system failed for the umpteenth time. Eventually we were asked to leave – by Dom, who then pleaded with us to come back. He sold the lease to Frank about two weeks later.

We have been back to the Royal Standard several times – Friday night sessions, and more recently as a stand-by when the Junk folded.

And so to…

The Leinster Arms Hotel, Collingwood Where we stayed for 8 years, without ever failing to get in landlord Glen’s way (he had a vision of punters in droves coming through the door) or keeping the noise down to Glen’s desired level which only went up when Glen was playing. He was a magnificent supporter of jazz…. Cracked the all time record with 7 saxes one week. Memorable contributions from Adam Rudegeair, Rory Clarke, Ade Ish, and even Chelsea Allen came down and played drums once. My personal favourites were Jason Chalmers (sax), Andy Moon and Doug Kuhn on bass, some of the Ruby Rogers sessions, and Amy Jaulin who sang so loud she stopped the pool competition in the front bar. This was the starting point for current jam session regulars Malcolm Hornby, Jack Morris, Alan West, Jeff Harris, Kay Young, Frank , Kevin Roffe and Brian amongst others; and the last gigs for Alan, the 3,473rd worst drummer in the world , nearly, and Bob Vinard.

The Leinster was way too small a venue (there was room for an audience of about 8), but was almost everyone’s favourite at the time.

The pub used to win Pub of the Year awards every year, until 2010, (which was the year we started)…and closed in 2018 – so off to search again.

The Junktion Hotel, Kew: We promised landlord Dave we would get up to 25 musos in every Sunday. In truth, we rarely dropped below 50 people at each session. Started in the corner Bar and moved to the Bistro after a while. Home of the Featured Singer series, and was a high point of Ray Hood‘s occasional world tour (he used to drop in after a La Niche session). First sessions for Carol, and Jane, Fermin (who found the place) hit his straps as a guitarist. Ivan Sultanoff and Pete Micevski became regular bassists. In fact, everyone was good, except perhaps Dave as a venue manager..

Eventually got a phone call on a Friday – would we get our gear out pronto as they were changing the locks. Never heard from Dave again…

The Post , St Kilda If this wasn’t your favourite venue, you should get out more. In the 11 months we were there, we saw over 140 musicians, and despite the most complicated/worn out PA system we ever used, there were some great sessions. Amongst the regulars, Alan West, Laurie Savage, Roger Clarke and Jeff Harris held up the sax department, Alan Richards, Mike Hirsh, and Michael Findlay drummed admirably, John Bell (trumpet) was as good as Peter Dann, and nearly as good as Julian (Leinster) and Jane, Jess, Carol, Yuko, Kay, Annie, and Aimee all had their moments.

We left because they wanted to move the Jammers to an unviable time, and then capture our considerable audiences for a new band in the evenings. Their treatment of the jammers was lousy, their timing was awful, but they effectively got three weeks of an expensive band front of 8 people (we counted) in place of the 50 – 90 folks who used to frequent the Jam Sessions. And so…

The Tower – a work in progress. We have only played here once, great acoustics, posh venue and Gina the Bistro manager as keen as mustard, (she used to manage Dizzy’s) More to come…

Next newsletter – a trot through the archives going back to 2011 – you may be surprised at who did what and with what and to whom…

Stay in touch, stay healthy, and toodlepip!
TW

The Jammers Bit: On Sailing

On Sailing
There is a saying amongst wise sailors that if you even start thinking about taking in a reef, it is already time to do it.

The Tower Hotel Jam Session: launched with a pretty spiffing start. Not full sail, perhaps, but of the 24 peeps who rocked up, all of them said they would come again, most thought the joint fairly classy, and the sound quality was better than ever. Miss Kay even used the cheap Chinese Shure knock-off microphone, which was a vast improvement on what we have been used to.

Highlights of the day included

· A bunch of locals dropping in for a meal, and staring, gob smacked, at the musos performing for them. Several said they would come again – the beginnings of a new crowd, perhaps?

· Calamatta, resplendent in his red hat, playing more than he ever has at a jam before.

· David Lole (piano) dropping in for a look-see, staying all afternoon and playing up a storm

· The Debster, Kay and Ash the only singers, getting plenty of air time

· Saxofollicles from Alan, The Captain, Jeff

· Drums by the Hirsh, and Andre – Andre probably the best on the day, but Mike gets the gong for helping to pack up – much appreciated.

· Garram, Malcolm and meself making up the four piano players for the day

· Ivan, Nelson and Pete taking turns on bass – three very different styles but all good.

· Quite a few people saying the venue was closer for them than St Kilda had been.

All of which makes it so much more of a pity but, reluctantly, we have decided to put the sessions “on ice” for the present. Apologies to Gina (Bistro Manager) but we would like to come back. By which, we probably mean that we will resume the sessions some time around September, but I am not saying which year..

Hopefully, the two (or is it three now) regular readers of the Jammers Newsletter will appreciate that this is being done for all the right reasons which may or may not include the fact that we wouldn’t mind a break anyway, can’t be a***ed to go on writing the Newsletter if there is nothing much to write about, and we would rather everyone went home and caught coronavirus mildly but nicely whilst there, and the Jam Sessions weren’t to blame.

Hatches battened down, and a reef taken in.

Stay in touch, and toodlepip
TW

Off and Running… again

The original Dizzy’s, the Night Cat, The Scarlette Bar/Onederland, The Glasshouse, Ramage, La Pena, The Royal Standard, The Leinster Arms, The Junktion Hotel, The Post Hotel, and now….There has been a fair bit of movement this last week, with Jammers suggesting, and looking at, a fair few different venues. The upshot is…

The Tower Hotel, 686 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn East VIC 3123

clip_image002

 

Good parking (free on Sundays), and the Jammers will be in the Bistro – food and bevs available. Go in the door on the left in the above picture. We have organised a 4 week trial to see how it goes, and whether any Jammers turn up, other than Jane who suggested the joint and then arranged a family function for Sunday so she cannot be held responsible. Sensible girl.

The room is larger than the corner bar at the Junk, and a similar shape so the sound should be good. If not okay. Or reasonable. Or ‘orrible in the finest traditions of the previous venue.

Does anyone get the impression that we won’t know until we have tried it? And it has more carpet than Mr Hirsh esq. could have ever dreamed of.

So….Don’t come this week unless you are desperate. We are secretly banking on having just a few peeps there so we can play some half decent tunes.

Oh, alright…See ya there?
TW

The Questionnaire

We ended up with 69 respondents. Thank you! The answers we got would have been quite beyond our expectations; if we had any.

How long have you been coming to the jams?

72.5% said they had been coming to jams for more than a year. Of course, those who have only been once or twice would be less likely to respond, but we have counted over 130 different musos in the last year.

How often do you come to a jam session:

17.2% said every week. We know who you are…

31.9% said at least once a month: we should know who you are…

50.7% said less than once a month – so maybe the once or twicers have responded…

Which leaves 0.2% of 69 respondents unaccounted for. Thank you Google.

What time do you normally get to a jam session?

18 said before or at 4.00pm

17 said before or at 5.00pm

6 said before or at 6.00pm

The answers were pretty widely distributed, but the sessions peak at 5.15 – 5.30 (we know this from the muso list that we have been keeping) and several people consistently arrived after 6.00pm

If the jam ran from 2.00pm to 6.00pm, what time would you get there?

Turns out there was a pretty even response from 2.00pm to 4.30pm. With one “probably not go” and one “no idea”

There is nothing tying the start time to the Post Hotel – we could agree a 2.00pm start at any venue, but it does not, at this stage, have majority support. Should we revisit this question later?.

Would you still come a Jam session if it was somewhere else?

76.8% said yes, 23.2% said not sure, and no-one said “no”

This response really surprised us. Can it be interpreted as – coming to a jam session is a priority, the venue is not.?

Is there another venue (consider hotel, RSL, Bowls Club etc.) you could suggest

There were 43 responses to this. 25 possible venues were mentioned. There were two votes for the Post Hotel, (“The Post is brilliant, best venue we’ve ever had.”) and even one for the Leinster Arms. A number of RSL’s and Bowls Clubs got ticks, and The Tower Hotel got two votes, not all of them from Jane…

We still have some venues to investigate, hence the four week trial rather than just settling for The Tower Hotel. It is remotely possible that The Post could ask us back – there was only one negative comment about the Post, so this might be a popular option.

The Jammers Bit

Chaos at the Post?

So, we started at the usual time of 4.00pm, and got told at 6.00pm that the management had booked a paid band for 7.00pm, and would we kindly stop playing, but stay around for the next band, order meals and spend lots of money to make the Post more profitable. Just to add to the fun, the hotel management had failed to inform their own bar staff of the change, and the incoming band were equally unaware of the situation. Not particularly classy.

There had been some meetings and discussions over the past couple of weeks so we knew the Post had a problem – but the upshot is that we have removed the jammers equipment and set in place an urgent search for an alternative venue. It is still theoretically possible that we will return to the Post, but only if the jammers – you – are treated with some respect. The jam sessions have been the busiest day of the week for the Post, for quite some time, and have presumably been profitable for the hotel.

The Questionnaire

We feel it is important to seek the views of jammers old and new on the future of the jam sessions – there are some people who have been coming since before 2008, and some who are recent arrivals. All your views are important.

You will have received a questionnaire regarding this. We have already had quite a response to this – 50 respondents in less than 24 hours, as well as people ringing to ask what is going on. Thank you.

If you haven’t filled in the questionnaire, please do so urgently. We already have appointments with several potential venues, and some great suggestions.

There will be no formal jam this Sunday – we cannot arrange this at such short notice, but the plan at the moment is to arrange a one month trial at another venue, then go back to the Post to see how their new arrangement is working out for them.

Colin Garrett 0422 568 537
coling73@gmail.com

Ted Woollan 0431 968 982
bede147@gmail.com

The Jammers Bit

Welcome Back week at the Post…

What an unexpected surprise! The theme this week was undoubtedly set by the number of jammers returning, in one case after at least three years (looking at you, Tony!)

Yuko Onishi, Singer

Geoff the piano made a welcome return, as did Ian – can’t remember when he last jammed but I do remember his guitar playing. Russell back on the sticks -haven’t seen him for a while – POCKOTL in attendance with Rod, Bette, and a moderately second hand looking Bec, who has been in the wars. Slawie, for the second week running aced the bass department, with Pete following up with a fine set. Drummers also included Michael Happysnaps Findlay, and Hirsh the Carpet (should have mentioned his band at PFJF, but it will only encourage him).

The regulars were there : Jeff on clarinet, Alan smooth on sax, Laurie even smoother, and red hat Cardinal Calamatta popped in for a whirl through a few standards.

The singers were out in force as ever – Kay, Carol, Jane, joined by Nurul shaking off the rust, and Kevin singing Take the A train in the wrong, albeit default, key. Susanna showed up later, and I missed her singing. Tye sang with heaps more confidence, and put in a neat set as a result, That’s Why the Lady is a Tramp the highlight. Getting better and better.

Pianists included Peter G and Gentleman John Curtis, a set from Richard, and Malcolm to follow. Newcomers included a nervous Barbara who played some neat drums and seemed to enjoy it. Hope she comes back. And of course, newcomer Ennes was the only Bosnian playing oboe. He made it sound simple.

Michael (sax) and his offsider, who remains a nameless guitarist/singer because I forgot to get his name, put up a rather lengthy set, not without its charms. The suspicion remains that these are carefully rehearsed and we will throw them at an impromptu line up next time. You know it makes sense.

Then Gilbert brought his own pianist, Sharon for a trot through some Festival material. Sounded good. Posh or what.

I understand that stumps were eventually drawn at around 8.30 and a fine if raucous time was had by the night watch. Definitely one of the better jams all round.

So… at 36 musos all up, this equalled the second busiest session ever, and props to the Captain who wielded his list skilfully and got everyone the spot they came for.

See ya this Sunday?
TW

Jam Session Number 6 of 2020

This week’s jam is on Sunday 23rd February from 4.00pm at the Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, all over the Front Bar.

Mingus Week went off as expected last week – everyone completely ignored it, which is, let’s face it, in the finest traditions of the Jammers. So this coming week, we will be having Cock-Up Week, with prizes for the winners.

Everyone is expected to bring their own cock-up chart, but feel free to try them out in joint formation. Perfection, as ever, will be frowned upon. If you are too modest to bring your own chart to cock up, then by all means cock up someone else’s material. They won’t mind a bit, because they will be too busy looking to return the favour..

If we can get enough cockups occurring at the same session, we may even be able to declare it a debacle. And we all enjoy those, don’t we?.

See ya there..

The Wednesday Night session: Yuko!

At the Post Hotel, Wednesday 26th February, 6-8pm

Next week sees the third jammers’ gig, with singer Yuko heading up a quartet comprising Dave Taylor on Bass, Alan Richards on drums, meself on keys and quite possibly Alan West on saxophone. This spiffingly under – rehearsed quartet (at least we can count) will be running through the Onishi play book in front of an adoring crowd of about, well, I am not sure how many…

But we would like to see you there – light supper and a bevvy of some sort would be a midweek treat n’est ce pas? And Yuko at her best is rather entertaining. Starts at 6.00pm, goes to 8.00pm

The Jammers Bit

Meanwhile, back at the Post…

Well, a few of us shot through to Port Fairy (see below) leaving the nearly famous B team to disport themselves as they wished at the famed landmark and watering hole, also known as the Post.

Rashly, or perhaps not, we left Miss Kay to wield the organisational rattan cane as required, aided and abetted by the Debster. The girls had a pretty good time of it, what with a few of the regulars holding it up, and a few newbies adding a touch of class. Discipline was excellent, I am told.

Precocious youth, John Bell and The Debster

So… props to Peter G and the Curtis on keys, Richard Gale who struggled with Yuko‘s choice of ‘orrible key for A train, and ‘orrible chart for Round Midnight. Slawie dropped by, first time in a while, Shahar and Jonathan, fresh from busking at South Melbourne market, joined in to show us all how it should be done, and John Perri put up a longish session on drums. With regulars Anton (bass) Okto (guitar), John Bell (trumpet), plus all the names I didn’t recognise, a pretty good line up.

All told, seventeen musicians darkened the door, threw hats metaphorically in the ring, and had a good time anyway. Maybe more next week?

Upcoming opportunities for a gig

Mike at the Post has offered us three Wednesday night spots at the post – 26th Feb, 25th March and 25th April, each to be a two hour slot for a quartet (piano, bass, drums and soloist) and singer. This has come about following the two sessions we did with Katerina Myskova and Jess Dams.

If you would like to get involved, let us know at the jam session.