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

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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.

The Jammers Bit

The Castlemaine Jam Session:

A quick sortie up the Calder got me to t the Maurocco Bar last Sunday. Gwynn at the door, John Hannah doing the technical thing, Ken Turnbull the opening numbah, whilst Crafty old Mauro is making a motza out of this – it is the busiest day of the week for the Maurocco Bar. A lively afternoon, from Jaz Stutely and her band, through to Norm Gray and a few hot players at the other end, with Don from Halls Gap in between, all held together by Maggie Jackson and one of the rare occasions when the C Jam has out numbered the P Jam. Probably because neither meself, nor the Hirsh nor Alan Richards nor Brian made it to the Post.

Highlights of the day included a tuba, washboard and banjo, Norm’s trumpet playing and a lady (Cathy?) playing violin and singing rather well. The Hirsh played a slightly confused solo on drums (it wasn’t him doing the confusing), Brian thinks he can get away with the same Everyday I have the Blues, but he can’t because the St Kilda Post mafiosi were there., and Alan was, well, just Alan because that is what he is good at.

The Maurocco remains a great venue, and the crowd in attendance are a cruisy lot.

Pip Avent, Tuba and his trad band at Castlemaine

Meanwhile, back at the Post…

I am indebted to the local snout, aka Chaos, for his pithy comments on the jam session – a quieter one than usual, but some good stuff coming from it – he picked out the John Bell/Jeff Harris Philharmonic Orchestra for being particularly articulate, Roger Clark and the Debster for entertaining, and a newcomer (Marganita, but I am sure I have got that wrong) who sang rather well, and whom he hopes will come again. And a dancer (Natalie?) who, well, danced. No, can’t read my notes, who danced well.

The Debster – all frocked up

Michael on guitar was too loud, his off sider Michael on sax really good. Turn up the sax, turn down the axe and come again!

Tye copped the dodgy microphone, or dodgy microphone lead. Sorry, will try and find a solution next week.

So… nobody died, nothing got broken, and a good time was hopefully had by all, although you all left before the free beer ran out, pub burnt down, the Fire Brigade arrived in fancy dress, the PA system worked properly, the tigers were let loose and the drugs wore off. None of which may not have happened. I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there.

25 musos all up, and a splendid afternoon’s entertainment.

Next week: We might suggest you stick to the black notes, they are cheaper. We might not.

The Fourth Jam Session of 2020

Will be this Sunday, 9nd February at 4.00pm. At The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street. And it promises to be an unmitigated disaster as all the muso regulars with an unnecessarily high opinion of themselves will be at Port Fairy, leaving everyone else to dive in and misbehave in their absence. Otherwise known as the (slightly famous) B Team.

Plenty of parking around the Hotel possibly due to the fact that no-one has taken over the area for coal mining, gas fracking or pop tunes done badly. Wide open spaces really, just the spot for your ageing Rover 90 Series 1, Datson 180Y with no seat covers, or similar… and then in to the warm but familiar confines of the Post, for a soothing ale or three.

The Newport Jazz Festival – this week’s updoot

Stop messing about, we are up to pussy’s bow with bands. Going to see the Hobson’s Bay City Council wallahs for an update and see if they have got any spare venues. The Captain over achieving again. Why are we not surprised.

The Website

Subtle addition of Newport Jazz Festival.com.au as a reserve website. Should automatically bounce through to melbornejazzjammers.com.au which is the actual website. Jess has been working on the band updates, but they have come in so fast we can barely keep up.

Festival badges:

The proofs are in

Posters:

Susie V and the Debster are getting quotes for graphic design. Woo Hoo!

Check it all out at

melbournejazzjammers.com.au

The Jammers Bit

31 seems to be the new normal

Not that we would ever accuse anyone at a Jam Session of being normal, but for the second week in a row, there were 31 musicians at the Caelidh, all keen for a bit of a fling, and, by the end of the evening, all had been, hopefully, been accommodated. Well done Captain Chaos, although it was a close run thing… 12 singers was the feature of the arvo. Each sang three songs, suitably elongated to accommodate various soloists.

John Bell and Rose

Pick of the singers this week was a fine set from Jane, from Yuko, Kerry and Aimee, sweet afters from Rose, welcome back, patience from Kay, with the cheese and biscuits course supplied by Gilbert, and Susanna who you may remember from Leinster Arms days – or not as the case may be. Carol put up a confident set, and Tye surprised some of us (mainly me) by putting in a fine version of My Way. More to come from the lad…

Of the soloists, Alan, Jeff and Laurie saxed things up, and John Bell continues to glow brighter on trumpet by the week.

Laurie looking worried, Ivan and Malcolm

I am sure I have forgotten to mention somebody other than the drummers, and bass players, all of whom I have managed to ignore entirely because you can from time to time. Oh alright, here’s a pic of Chantelle with Pete on Bass, Malcolm on keys.

Chantelle on drums – welcome back!

We finished rather late due to having to fit in over 30 musicians – again. Pizza on the way home. It really is the new normal.

The Third Jam Session of 2020

Will be this Sunday, 2nd February at 4.00pm. At The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street. Lots to look forward to – John Curtis will be on keyboards starting shortly after breakfast and finishing in the middle of the night. I have been invited to the Castlemaine Jam, forward to which I am rather looking.

Plenty of parking around the Hotel (Bath Street is the go – it is off Inkerman behind the Post). Come to think of it, everything is off Inkerman, other than Inkerman itself. Or just waddle in with ya weapon of choice, get yer name on the list and whoops you’re in..

Enthusiasm essential, charts a bonus, performance anxiety optional, and competence to be well concealed as a kindness to others…

Update: The Newport Jazz Festival May 2nd and May 3rd, 2020

The Captain keeps posting more bands to the website wranglers – and we are now full of big bands which is a great headache to have.

The Two bands per musician malarkey: As a small Festival, we decided at the outset that we would limit all musicians to a maximum of two bands. This has a significant benefit for the playing programme as there are a lot less “clashes” to avoid. If you are still looking for a band to play with, why not give Col a call – the number is on the Contact tab of the website.

The Committee: Met this week, we now over 40 bands registered – and the Committee has been discussing ways of shooting the laggards should we be over subscribed.

Facebook/Whats App/Twitter: someone tell me how we do this. Please. Still waiting

Promo Cards: seemed like a few of you liked the idea of double sided cards. Going fast.We will get some more soon.

The Website Jess has given a much needed spruce up to the website with updated information and photos of at least some of the bands. We have also sorted out the Paypal situation though the handy expedient of disabling the option. Some payments have gone through on Paypal, and some will have been refunded.

Check out the website (updated) , like it on your Facebook page

https://www.melbournejazzjammers.com.au/

The Jammers Bit

Here we go again!

This week’s Jam marked the beginning of the Year for most of us, the beginning of a hectic week for many of us, and a great way to avoid the weather for all of us.

Long story short, there were 31 musos in attendance, POCKOTL back where she belongs, Bette in yellow, and the rest of us in clover. Seems like everyone came back from a break full of renewed vigour and there was a happy vibe about the place.

Started with a Committee meeting which was a riot in itself, Susie came to see what we were on about, left none the wiser, but will take up the role of Media/Marketing/Sponsorship/Promotion. Haven’t got a clue what she will do next meeting… but great to see her on board.

So… Mme Kay back, a bit to my surprise as I thought she was in Darwin, but a bright start to the year, Jeff H on soprano sax. He started brilliantly which left him far too much downside later on, but does anyone appreciate how difficult it is to get a soprano to sound like something other than a strangled cat? Alan West as benign a ever, John on trumpet patient then pretty good – no, bugger it, probably as good as we have heard him. Terry on guitar rather smooth, the usual contingent of drummers (Steve Bray, Michael Happy Snaps Findlay, Mac,) with Mr “Carpet” Hirsh himself the pick of them with a fine late solo on Sunny.

Trevor Prasad put in a brief piano stint, pretty sweet, but only after Peter Garam had (a) started the session, and (b) continued to play pretty well – back next week ?

John, with Steve Bray and Peter Garam backing him

A bunch of new faces whose names I probably haven’t got, Yuko and Aimee both sang solo then duo later on, Deborah waltzed in with a confident set, maybe the pick of the singers this week. Ashley de Wang rounded out the arvo with a suite of Sinatra songs and way too many saxophone players, then Gilbert maintained his reputation as Mr Smooth – look out for his band Gilbert and Swing the Boogie at the Festival – should be a shoo in for best new band name. And that brought us to a late conclusion. Nice work Lads!

Aimee and Yuko, with a (very small) Hirsh in the background

In the middle of which, the jammers raised $176.20c for the bushfire appeal. (receipt attached!)

Nice One!

The Second Jam Session of 2020

Will be this Sunday, 26th January at 4.00pm. At The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street. If you missed last week’s sesh, all the more reason to dip your toe in the pool this week. Plenty of parking around the Hotel (Bath Street is the go – its off Inkerman behind the Post). Just waddle in with ya weapon of choice, get yer name on the list and whoops you’re in..

Hope to see you there.

Another fine crowd
all photos by Michael Findlay

No advice for the desperates this week – you will just have to wing it.

Update: The Newport Jazz Festival May 2nd and May 3rd, 2020

The Captain has developed a taste for the beer and now needs to liaise with the Newport Bowls boys on a regular basis. Wrangling the bands a treat!

The Navy Band has confirmed, and that is a very big deal. Whoo Hoo!

The Committee: Met this week, we now have 40 bands registered – and the Committee has been discussing ways of shooting the laggards should we be over subscribed.

Facebook/Whats App/Twitter: someone tell me how we do this. Please.

Promo Cards: seemed like a few of you liked the idea of double sided cards. Going fast.

The Website Jess de Webmeister is back from the land of the long white Pom, and will hopefully start polishing the Festival website as soon as she reads this.

Check out the website (updated this week) , like it on your Facebook page

https://www.melbournejazzjammers.com.au/

The Jammers Bit

Pay Attention at the back…

Welcome back. As there hasn’t been a Jammers Newsletter since 8th December, there is a bit to catch up on…..

Item 1 The Jam Session after…

Following the biggest Jam Session we have ever had, for the Christmas Bash, we had an extra, for the benefit of Yuko’s parents, who were in town the following week for a 5 day trip from Japan. Apparently they had never heard Yuko sing, so we thought it might be fun… we rang a drummer and a bass player to make sure we had a quorum… and then 36 musicians turned up, all of them apparently with nothing better to do or no homes to go to or something.

Much Fun ensued. ‘Nuff said

Item 2 The Australian Jazz Convention

Quick toddle up the Hume in the Captain’s car, and it wasn’t until we got to smokey Albury that the thought occurred that we were playing with a singer who had never done a gig before in her life…or anyone else’s come to think of it.

We amused ourselves by going to gigs by two outstanding singers – Annie Smith who absolutely scorched through a set with Nicole Thorne, and Anita Harris who was a powerhouse in a duo with Kim, and then with her larger band.

annie smith.jpg

After a nervous first set, and a fun extra session with Jeff Harris, Steve Bray, and meself, Yuko soaked up every bit of stagecraft and then sang up a storm with Steve Bray (drums), The Captain (saxophone), Dave Taylor (double bass) and some old half blind, half deaf pianist.

yuko ajc at atura

Other Jammers we saw; The Hirsh playing brushes for a full set. Ace. Marion and her new band putting up a pleasing show. The aforementioned Annie singing better than ever. Steve Bray and Jeff Harris in particular playing out of their skins.

Job done. Let’s do it again

Hirsh

Mr Hirsh, of carpet fame.

Item 3 The Quartet Sessions at The Post.

I thought we had arranged for others to do this, until I got a text from Obergruppenfeuhrer Mike whilst at the AJC. Put together a band at short notice for the next two weeks.

Katerina Myskova sang first week, with Ivan, Michael Findlay, the Captain and meself. Fully unrehearsed, the bar staff gobsmacked at how good it sounded.

Second week, Jess Dams, with Pete Micevski bass, Mac Beshai drums, the Captain and meself again. The rhythm section sounded even better. Again, a classy sound, under the tutelage of Toby the Heavy Metal barman. Gobs were smacked again.

The First Jam Session of 2020

Will be this Sunday, 19th January at 4.00pm. At The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street. If you have nothing better to do, you could consider strolling in at around 4.01pm, scoring a spot and playing the tits off your favourite tune. If you have something better to do, you had better do it some other time…

Hope to see you there.

And stick to the black notes – they’re cheaper.