Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: it gets like that, from time to time

Someone once observed that, even though all the jam sessions were essentially the same, how did I manage to write something different each week… the ensuing writers block eventually wore off.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that every jam session has its own special character… and there have been some very special characters over the course of the 480 or so reviews that have, miraculously, hopefully avoided the dreaded cliche.

Last Sunday’s jam was a classic of its type – no great musicianship perhaps (competence, as ever, well concealed as a kindness to others) but as enjoyable an afternoon as we have had in quite a while.

After the usual stumbling instrumentals, we got Debbie up to sing – she lit up the room as only Debbie can, in front of a crowd that included a good smattering of locals, some new musicians and the regulars in fine form.

The Captain set the mood with a coupla ballads, Sala the mystery drummer returned and played effortless latin rhythms, Fermin has been practising hard, and excelled himself with a fine rendition of his “go to” tune – Corcovado. Jeff reprised Out of Nowhere and Dave the Bass played with increasing confidence.

A brace of rather good first time singers (Jane, I think, and Bonnie) really lifted the standard. My Funny Valentine a standout. Do come again.

As the evening drew to a close, what made this session so enjoyable was the balance between ballads and charge-ahead bebop numbers – Straight No Chaser the pick of them. Variety is the spice of life, 481 identical reviews notwithstanding .

It gets like that, from time to time….

See ya Sunday?
TW

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: quiet, quite classy

At least to start with… Col and I diddled about setting up the gear, secretly hoping a drummer would turn up before we had to fiddle with the hardware (dodgy stools, missing butterfly nuts, enlarged carpet for the benefit of Mr Hirsh esq. etc etc.

The Drummers: Alan Richards turned up as soon as we had given up and bolted the infernal contraption together. So at least we had the pleasure of not getting in his way whilst he gave us baleful looks and re-assembled the kit to his liking. Hirsh was a no-show.

And away we went, instrumentals and not many people rolling through the door at first, but things got better, as they often do. Let’s face it, they couldn’t get much worse.

What ensued was a middle of the road affair, with Anton and Ivan on bass, only three saxophones at the front (welcome back Will!), Fermin and Vlad on guitars, a few singers and some very loud drums, pacified for a while by Bill Swannie and an exceptionally good drummer whose name remains a mystery. Hope he comes again., Alan and John Perri competing to do the best impersonation of Animal from the muppets, and the audience declaring it a draw.

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In Summary: there were 17 musos (including tonsil artistes, ├žos they sulk otherwise)’, and Kevin’s mic working beautifully (only took me three weeks)

Guichi (violin) definitely the most improved, but also the most overwhelmed by the saxes, naughty lads.

Twas fun, but.

See ya Sunday?
TW

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: Saxophones, wall to wall

Started early with La Myskova helping to set up the gear, before her retiring after three days of partying (insert Czech National Stereotype here?). And then waited for the saxophones to turn up. They did not disappoint, and at one stage we had more sax than aud, but whatever… it was going to be an instrumental sort of a day, perhaps. I rather enjoyed it.

After the opening stanza from the usual suspects, we settled down to a lively afternoon – reeds in abundance precluding any gossip other than shouting, before Curtis the Debonair sensibly sat in and pushed the keys to max vol. Some sort of sound balance was achieved.

Toon of the Day

Laurie distinguished himself with a fine rendition of Nica’s Dream – not an easy tune to play, but he made it sound effortless. The audience was one of the smaller ones, around 5’3″on average, and stubbornly stayed that way all arvo, but those that were there, some to play, plenty just enjoying the mooz and a cold one, certainly had fun.

Various musos

Pete, Ivan and Dave took turns on bass duties, Neil played guitar, followed by the original Ray “Lounge Lizard” Hood back from Sin City, both classy as ever. The late Miss Smith turned up early, Kev and Brian had a dip, and Ashley sat in on drums – later replaced by Le Hirsh, who was as good, only a lot louder.

Saxophones

Great to see Jeff Karutz for the first time at the Junk, ditto Paul, Volker making a rare appearance, Keef coming later. And with Laurie, Jeff and the Captain, we had a total of 7 saxophones, possibly the most we have ever had.

Others what I forgot. Can’t remember who.

Curiously, the session actually got livelier as it wore on – mainly due to some hot piano from the talented Lisette.

And some upgraded lighting, courtesy of Dodgy Dave. Very nice.

Ya wouldn’t be dead for quids…
TW

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: Well, that was fun…

This week’s jam session was definitely one of the livelier affairs – plenty of audience and musos (24, about par for the course) turned up, and after starting with the world’s slowest version of Stella by Starlight, soon kicked on. After an hour or so, the joint was rocking, a surprising number of audience had turned up, some driven from the other bar by a raucous end of year Football team bash, complete with a startling number of players on crutches, and a few socially refreshed players joining in the jam later on..

Standout singer of the week was Anne Hayres who sang so well that she pulled the rhythm section of Neil (g), meself (p) Ivan (db) and Perri (d)into a tight unit for a while – Out of Nowhere a highlight, with Perri swinging the proverbials off it. The Captain joined in for some smooth counter melodies. Audience peaked at around 50 in the room.

Ashley de Wangaratta and Carol sang duets, Brian and Kev didn’t but came up with some new material which ranged from adventurous to intriguing., the Debster stuck to her recent fine form on tonsils, then the late Miss Smith, unfrazzled for a change this week, came up with a swing version of The Nearness of You, followed by Dave Frisberg’s Peel Me A Grape.

Drummers Bill and Matt, Ivan and Dave on Bass, guitarists Fermin and Chico all had a dip.

The session came to a close, at least twice, by eight o’clock. Good stuff all round, and better sound than heretofore. Apparently all those singers like a bit of reverb…

See ya this Sunday?
TW

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: They all turned up…

Not. This was one of the quieter weeks, but not in any musical sense. Actually not much of the music makes any sense at all, but that has never stopped us yet.

We set up the kit in record time (34 mins) and had time to read the manual which has sat in my PA case for 15 years. It has not, if we are honest, (which, to be honest, we are not) faded in the sunlight. Worked out how to use the phantom power for Kevin’s new mike, so naturally Kev didn’t turn up. The sound was good.

Kicked off the opening stanza with the Captain and Fermin, followed by Laurie “when sunny gets blue” Jeff playing sweet, and Larry Kean exceptional on drums.

Eventually I got used to Pony Tail Pete playing some mellow bass with nary a hiccup, Some singers turned up – Carol and the late slightly frazzled Miss Smith. I promised I wouldn’t mention that she was in a sensitive state, with her reputation in tatters, so I won’t. What reputation? Needless to say, she sang beautifully.

Julian played some smooth floot. Ivan brought along his giant bass, twanging the five strings to good effect, and it was great to see Neil after a couple of weeks awol. Played a million notes, all good too.. Mr John Perri slotted in after Larry had played a full set. Another drummer in good form.

See ya this Sunday? Bring yer fiddle, banjo, sousaphone, Colombian nose flute, tonsils or whatever.

TW

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: The week after

Another Sunday – and another quiet start to an afternoon of music mangling. This became a week for old faces to turn up – Peter Garam put in a solid session, as did Gentleman John Curtis. Ivan the one legged skier fronted, and played some pretty good bass, Trevor was there again, Jeff startled us all with a gentle rendition of Embraceable Ewe, (No Hortense, it is not the Kiwi National Anthem), Bill, and the redoubtable John Perri put in some sttellar performances on drums, as did Matt, the ever reliable Bruce was at the window, Rod and Bette dropped in, probably from Singapore, and persuaded POCKOTL to drop in too…

Laurie essayed When Sunny gets Blue for the first time, Carol got up and ripped through a coupla jazz standards with Malcolm, Annie the Later Miss Smith her usual good self, Chico sublime on guitar.

A lot of good music too – Ya wouldn’t be dead for quids
TW

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel

Sunday started as cold as a mother in law’s kiss, with belts of rain driving all the way across town from Essendon, and a biting wind to boot. Surely even the Jammers would prefer to stay home…

And so it seemed when we had a decidedly quiet start, if such a thing were possible with JH blowing the tits off his tenor.. He soon smoothed it out and he and the Captain entertained with a selection of instrumentals.

It wasn’t until well past 5.00pm that the bar started to fill – we ended up with 26 musicians, notably including singer Carol., who at one stage was the only female in the room, Cardinal Calamatta who set the tone with some sweet sax, Ivan on a semi – cured knee, Alan Richards playing drums as well as ever, the Curtis, Malcolm 1st on keys, Bill and Matt on drums, Peter Garam, (piano man) for his first visit to the Junk, hopefully not his last, Fermin on some sweet solos, and Neil playing a million notes on guitar, beautifully, and a bunch of others. Later arrivals included Pony Tail Pete on bass, Ashley De Wangarratta, Kevin and Brian on honey-toned tonsils. The session started to jump. … At which point, I had to leave and drive back to Essendon in more rain.

This ended up the biggest turn out of musicians at the Junk so far.
TW

Update on the Leinster Arms Hotel… cancelled

We have decided to cancel the “final bash” at the Leinster Arms Hotel. This would have required us to transfer all the gear to the Lunatic Soup Kitchen for lunch, play in the small bar as the Atrium is already booked, and then perform a mad dash to the Junk, set up all the gear again and be ready to start by 4.00pm. Ain’t going to happen.

Apologies to those of you who were proposing to go. Since opening at the Junk, very few people (none, actually) have said they miss the Gold Street Gossip Shop, so all reminiscences, scurrilous gossip and wildly exaggerated rumours have been transferred to the Junktion Hotel.

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Captain Chaos, Laurie Savage and Peter Garam having fun at the
Leinster (Christmas 2016)

We played at the Leinster Arms Sheltered Workshop for over eight years, occasionally straying into an approximation of jazz, always getting in Glen’s way, and being too loud. It was kind of fun. Best wishes to Il Duce for his Sunbury venture.