The Biggest Bash… ever

The Christmas Bash: so that was that – or was it?

Lunch. Well, why not? A few hardy souls foregathered for lunch at The Post: among them De Coverley the cad and a few friends (Larry, Doug, Laurie and Cath Connor et al), along with Yuko, The Captain, and a gradual assemblage of Jeff, Ivan, Gilbert, meself, and a bunch of others…. Lunch was pretty good.

Started the music with a fine foursome – the aforementioned bounder and his mates, and some rather good jazz, whilst the rest of us sucked on wagyu beef burgers, chips and reminiscences for a while Not many peeps at this stage and it really seemed as though the 2.00pm start would be a fizzer.

Aimee sings, Anton on bass

Which, of course, it wasn’t. This was the biggest Jam Session we have ever had – bigger than we could remember at Dizzy’s, bigger than the seven sax blowout at Ramages, bigger than the Captain’s birthday party at the Leinster.

How big, you ask? Well I can’t hear you not ask, but the answer is 45 musicians., all of whom got to play over the ensuing six hours. And when you factor in two who turned up but didn’t play (Rose and Bruce – sorry chaps), as well as those who were elsewhere engaged (Malcolm, Carol , Aggie the Gardener – you were missed) we were lucky to get away with it.

John Calamatta, the Maltese maestro, smooth as ever

All the drummers who didn’t turn up are in discgrace, because at one stage, I had to slap the skins so badly that Larry kindly got up from his rest and resumed.

So… a fine afternoon, fine music, and great company. Who should we pick out as particularly culpable?

Jeff played some of the sweetest saxophone he has in ages.

Sir Roger De Coverley easily topped the charts for most solos.

Gilbert turned up earlier than ever before, and sang with gusto.

The Debonair Mr Curtis was as elegant as ever.

Jane knocked up a fine set (actually, better than fine).

The Captain declined a solo on When Sunny Gets Blue, but then aced it anyway,.

Jack Morris sang for the third time in living memory,

Jack: he is singing

Dave NN the bass turned up for the first time in ages, as did guitar ace Ben Stewart, Ash de Wang sang…

…and the rest of you must remain unmentioned, because either you were unmentionable, or American, or excellent, or both, or because I have run out of superlatives, vituperatives, adjectives and inclination. But what a great afternoon that turned out to be!

Prizes, and the year in review

There are no prizes, but if there were, we would be awarding them to… (drum roll)

Malcolm for turning up late every week, playing better and better, and staying back to help the pack up. Gentleman JC for setting a standard to which we aspire.

The Rhythm section for driving the whole damn shebang. Ivan, Pete, Alan, Steve, Mike (x2), Bill, Mac, Hussein, and all the others: great job!

John Perri: for starting to drive the Rhythm section really well: much appreciated.

Annie Smith: for most nicknames in a year. Oh, alright, she sings rather well as well.

Alan West: for being a soothing influence on us all, and playing damn well as well.

The 120 + musicians who have played at the Post since April 2019. You know it has been a good year.

The Staff at the Post: Mike’s crew is constantly changing, but Devon, Mel, Adam, and Toby all stick in the mind. Some Jammers will be aware of how much they enjoy the jazz. Props to Mike for putting up with us.

Just when you thought – that is it for another year – or is it???

We are holding an unofficial, supernumerary Jazz Jam Session this coming Sunday 15th December, at the Post Hotel as usual, from 4.00pm until whenever – to which you are invited, and at which you may play or sing whatever the hell you feel like. Yuko’s parents are coming from Japan for this one. Annie will be there. Captain Chaos may be there, or not, or may be a newly signed up Collingwood supporter, as the mood takes him. Plenty of regulars have said they will come too.

Update: The Newport Jazz Festival May 2nd and May3rd, 2020

Bands: We now have over 25 bands signed up – and it looks like 50 may not be pie in the sky.

The Committee: rolls from hiccup to hiccup: this week saw Deb unwell, the Captain contemplating eye surgery, Julian retiring. We desperately (or not so desperately) seeking someone to take up the reins on the roles of Treasurer and Marketing guru.

The Website hasn’t crashed yet! God knows I’ve tried, but it looks increasingly likely that it will still be working when Jess gets back from the UK.

Check it out:-

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

The Jammers Bit: An Experiment

What an appalling day for a jam session: buckets of rain just when we were arriving, and surely not many musos would be so desperate as to arrive in this downpour.

Never underestimate the depths to which a musician in need of a blow will sink, say I. We had a quorum well before 4.00, and by the end of a very long day, had 30 musos get up and trip the light fantastic, metaphorically, of course.

The Experiment: Just to make sure no-one knew what we were doing, we tried using a clipboard – wrote down everyone’s names as they rocked up, in the mistaken assumption that we would then get everyone more or less equal playing time in the order in which they arrived. Sort of. Didn’t work entirely to plan, of course, partly because we hadn’t got the plan in the first place, and partly because musicians tend to arrive in ones and twos, and not, as would have been most helpful, in band – sized chunks.

Dream on! We will try it again. Let’s face it, we did manage to get through all 30, and still get home in time for a brief snooze before breakfast. We are saving time – necessary as numbers increase, by cutting down on solos, (one or two per tune, but not the eight we had the previous week) while still trying to give all (and not just a few) soloists individual playing time.

Gilbert, cool as ever, waiting his turn

Sound: The sound system worked well from the start. This is always ominous, as the only way to go is downhill from there, which it did. Next week, we will pay particular attention to the vocals , if not the vocalists themselves. The foldbacks, however, worked well, which was a strange experience for all of us.

Highlights of the day? For me, Will, Satsuko and Guy (sax/sax/tpt) put up a hot set. Malcolm managed to stick with the PA/foldback speakers – first time he has played without the Roland amp, but really, the sound was better, and better balanced.

Will, Guy and (?) Satsuko put up a hot set

Lisette played her usual immaculate self, with a touch of suave, if not an arpeggio or three.

John Perri seems to have hit a purple patch and again drummed beautifully. Mac and Hussein not far behind him.

There were far too many vocalists for the Captain’s liking (I wonder how many he does like?) but he persisted and got them all up. Newcomers Fiona and Anne the Second were terrific. Gilbert and Yuko in particular copped a dodgy mic channel, which the brains trust attempted to remedy by adjusting, then disconnecting the Bass channel. I cannot imagine why this wouldn’t work…but it surely didn’t. Sorry chaps, will do better next week.

All About the Bass: Ivan played most of the arvo, never missed a beat and was pick of the day.

Definitely a bigger and better jam – the standard of the music was consistently higher than usual.

The Jammers Bit

Perhaps the third busiest Jam Session since the Dizzy’s days: 29 musos, and a goodly crowd.

There were first timers, old hands, old friends returning, a reinvigorated Gentleman John Curtis, Sir Roger De Coverley’s disreputable descendant, POCKOTL, a drummer from New Zealand, and a heckofalot of St Kilda bright young things enjoying the sunshine, the music and an exotic range of Toby’s cocktails.

All in Mac, Fermin,Alan, Jeff, Carol. Debra Yemow Pete (hiding) and Gentleman John Curtis back to his best…

All of which boded well for the arvo’s entertainment, although its seemed to take for ever to get going. Good when it did and for an unprecedented two weeks in a row, the sound system worked, sort of, most of the time.

It was an entertaining afternoon’s moo, with two new singers, Kerry and Anthea ready for the off and sang well when they got up. Curtis was, however, first splash in the pool, and led a sprightly lot in some entertaining jazz standards before retiring, temporarily of course, in favour of strong drink and mild gossip.

Break it To Me Gently – Kerry singing and a Fermin solo

Music ranged from Carole King to Cole Porter, stopping quite a few stations in between. Bassists Pete and Ivan took turns in driving the whole lot, and mastered a couple of tunes without charts to misguide them – Break it To Me Gently (Kerry) and Your Heart is As Black as Night (Jess) . James was outstanding on drums.

Great to see Carol, on crutches, but back from the facelift or whatever it was – one of the singers who is both hip and groovy?

Later in the day, Guy (trumpet) and his keyboard mate who shall remain nameless, but only because I forgot to get his name, chimed in with Blue Bossa and a coupla bebop tunes to right the balance, Kay put up a lively One Note Samba, Route 66 and Masquerade,and then Gilbert and Yuko duetted for a finale, with the Debster doing the doo wops. Eventually, we got to pack up, then sat around gossiping . Perri was the last to leave.

John Bell, Captain, Gilbert, Kay and Yuko doing the doo wops, Guy and Yemow

So… Fermin probably the pick of them on the day with some bright guitar solo work. If we didn’t mention you by name it is probably because you were too young, good looking and talented and we didn’t like to ask.

Actually, the Post rocked for a coupla hours – a goodly effort all round.

Black Notes, people, they are cheaper…

Yippee! The Jam Session Update

The sheer bloody relief of having a sound system that works, and works well – after weeks of struggling to find enough positives in the sessions to outweigh the negatives… I got to the Post at around 3.45, having already been there in the morning for the sound set up. Well, it was a niceish sort of day, not much else to do, might as well drop in for the usual social lubricant, bit of a chat, that sort of thing…

The Captain looked somewhat ill at ease – turns out this was because he didn’t need to change a thing and already had 10 bucks on the outcome.

Started quiet as usual – couple of drummers (Alan Richards and Michael Findlay, Hussein and John Perri) and not too many bass players. That didn’t last long – we had Lisette for the opening stanza, Jess and Jane up for some vocals – and the whole damn shebang… at last… started to sound pretty good.

John Perri and Ivan

Photo by Michael Findlay

The regulars fronted – Jane, Yuko, Annie, Gilbert, on the tonsils, Alan , Laurie and Jeff joining Capt. Chaos on the saxophollicles (although Jeff switched to floot and played up a beauty), Fermin and Yemow on guitar, and relative newcomer John Bell on trumpet/flugelhorn.

Highlights of the day included:

  • Having a good time
  • Lisette Payet on keyboard
  • Great singing from seven different singers – I think Yuko shaded Susie for most improved, but they were all good.
  • John Bell (trumpet) starting to hit his straps.
  • A saxophone section kept busy all afternoon
  • The pub jumping, with a lot of family groups enjoying the music, and a packed sunny courtyard
  • Having more of a good time
  • Devon too busy in the kitchen to get out and sing
  • The bar staff clearly enjoying the music
  • Vlad winning a prize for most colourful jacket

25 musos on the day, all good – ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids!

Vlad and the famous coat…
John the trumpet, Jeff and Yuko

Another day, another donut

Yup, it all went tits up, pear shaped and quite possibly ass-about for starters. And after I had been given conflicting explanations by the several audio experts in out midst, I eventually left it as it is. Or isn’t.

When the Obergruppenfeuhrer gets out on day release, we may have words, but until then, we will perhaps rely on another sound system…

So… what of the jam – it took its time to get going, and we opened with no foldbacks through which we might have appreciated Jeff’s open blow all the more.

RT Hon Annie Smith

Annie getting ready to sing

Crowd-wise, this was a quieter afternoon than most – and paradoxically, so loud that we managed to empty the other half of the joint rather sooner than usual. Notwithstanding the muddy racket ( and to be fair the Captain got this under control in time, ) the afternoon was the usual mix of the sublime and the ridiculous.

The pearls among the swine had to include Nelson, who when he was allowed to go trio style played his heart out. Laurie, who seems to get mentioned a lot these days, stepped in with a lively rendition of Sugar. Yuko, who waited patiently, then sang a trio of standards for her equally patient friends. Japanese politeness.

Steve, Mr Hirsh, Michael “happysnaps” Findlay and the rather loud André played drums, The Captain, Jeff, Laurie and Alan saxed it up, Fermin and Emi(?) shared the guitar spot, Deborah picked a couple of standards – a version of Lullaby of Birdland so fast it didn’t put anyone to sleep.

Hirsh

Mr Hirsh, of carpet fame.

How long should each tune last? This came up in conversation – the average duration of a jazz standard generally runs between 4 and 6 minutes. (we measured this at Castlemaine jazz festival, and again one afternoon at the Junk) This leaves plenty of time for everyone to get a go – and runs to 40 tunes each session, which would make things ridiculously easy for the Captain. Of course, if you want to be selfish, egotistical, or both, you can extend the time per tune by any one of the following means.

· Play your instrument, loudly, whilst we are trying to do a sound check. This only works at the beginning of a session, and is incredibly helpful if the crew doing the set up actually feels like listening to you warming up. They don’t.

· Stand around chatting rather than starting the next tune. The audience (and other waiting musos ) absolutely love watching you chat. Amazingly interesting, and uses up a fair bit of time.

Kay

Welcome back! Kay with the best set of charts in town

· Solos: play one, two, or even three choruses, every opportunity you get. Particularly useful when you just get up any time you feel like. Extra points for playing over the singer, who has been waiting patiently for the last 90 minutes.

· Singers: Bring your entire book of charts up, stand at the microphone, and then start making your mind up about which chart to play. Then hand it out. Slowly. Then give the tempo by waving your hands about, a signal often interpreted by the hapless drummer as “any tempo you like, especially the wrong one” Then miss the 4, 8 16 and 32 bar intro before launching into the actual song.

Why do trios sound so much better?

Rarity value possibly. Actually, smaller ensembles (say drums and bass, singer or soloist, and piano or guitar) invariably sound better for a number of reasons:-

A simpler set up makes it more audible for the other musicians, as well as the audience

Shorter duration – and the consequent quality of solos, either vocal or instrumental.

Less is more – The phrase was originally attributed to Mies Van Der Rohe who, if he ever played an instrument , forgot to mention it.. He was a “minimalist” architect. Just like his buildings, stripping a tune back to the essentials is better than having way too many superfluous things….such as guitars, pianos, notes in a solo, more than one solo instrument at a time, or even an unnecessarily complex sound system.

At present, a typical line-up at the jam session is six or seven people and the record is twelve– way too many for producing good quality music, and often everyone seems to cancel each other out. Of course, the other side of the coin is that everyone has a good blow, and the racket can be appalling but in a fun way.
TW

Next Jam this Sunday 4pm at the Post Hotel

Next Jam is on Sunday at 4pm

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street

You can park on St Kilda Road (Sunday, no restrictions). Public parking is available on Bath Street, just past the Hotel on Inkerman Street (same side as Post Hotel). Tram 3/3a or 67 down St Kilda Road from the City if they are running, or take a helicopter, land elsewhere and get an Uber. Or walk. Or take the bus, but fer gawdsake bring it back. Or come the next week instead. Bring the spouse, collect double points if it is someone else’s.

The Great Sound System Debacle continues (episode 23)

In recognition of what has now become an ongoing tradition, we have dedicated pretty much the whole review to the following debacle. Congratulations are due all round….

Step 1 Spent a pleasant hour or so in the morning not understanding the sound system as explained, patiently, by Mike, the all round ober gruppenfeuhrer Der Post, part time audio engineer and optimist in chief. Eventually the sound system of his dreams worked: signal through the mixing desk sitting on the amp we weren’t using (no one noticed until step 4 of Ensuing Debacle) to the ceiling mounted speakers, via the control panel behind the bar. Active speakers deployed as fold back, taking signal from the guitar amp, bass amp, piano and vocals via the mixer and feeding it to the singer/saxes, and to the piano/drums/bass.

No one notices the switched off amp/mixer and the two biggest EV speakers which are not connected anyway. And we couldn’t fully check the microphones but did notice that the output signals from the mics were not matched.

Step 2 of the Ensuing Debacle. Captain Chaos (now where have we heard that name before?) helpfully connected the Roland piano amp to the piano, thus managing to destroy the balance in the Obergruppenfeuhrer’s system. Quietly removed power and lead. No one noticed until step 3 of the ensuing debacle.

We started around 4 – ish with the sound system and foldbacks working better than ever. Questions remain over the microphones, some adjustment at the mixer, thereby further depleting the balance in the set up.

Step 3: Tits up and Pear shaped About 20 minutes later, the Obergruppenfeuhrer’s computerised system crashes, bringing down the secret computer panel in the cupboard and most other things in its wake. This causes the foldbacks to stop, err, folding back. The Captain converts one foldback to a fold forward as the overhead speakers had ceased emitting a signal due possibly to the aforementioned Step 3.

Step 4: Gimme Noise! Pianist points the other foldback at the pianist, thereby excluding the saxophones. He also elects to plug in the separate keyboard amp, as he can’t hear the foldback (which isn’t working). We need’nt worry about the singers, as by this stage, the microphones weren’t working either. Someone pushes the sliders on the mixing desk to max. Has no effect as the leads are feeding to Aux not Main.

Step 5: Noise Goes Up: Instrumentalists now elect to play louder as they can’t hear themselves or indeed anyone else in the foldbacks. As a result, the increased volume forces everyone else to shout .. at each other, at the bar staff, and at the top of their voices. So the sound goes up some more….

Step 6 : Switch the other speakers on: Captain Chaos is nearing end of his tether. In desperation, we switch on the Yamaha mixer amp, which powers up the two enormous EV’s with what remains of the balanced signal – although we successfully amplify the short comings in the microphones.

Outcome? Everyone happy, and a splendid afternoon ensued, proving that no sound system, however awful, can keep a good jammer down. Or as an alternative, no Jammers, however good, (and there were 25 of us) can fix a sound system up. Take your pick!

Honourable Mentions go to Laurie, sweet as ever, Alan the best of the saxes on the day, Marion for being properly audible, Aimee and the Captain for hot solos on You Are So Beautiful, and Aimee’s mum for staying on after Aimee had gone home. And to the Right Honourable Miss Annie Smith for singing so well, so late.
TW

Seems Like…Groundhog Day

– and are we doomed to repeat the same old shenanigans? Natch!. As if the sound set-up wasn’t complicated enough, it was totally and comprehensively cocked upwards by the time we started last Sunday. Simplicity compromised by the careful/careless removal of one cable. The power cable. Not that it mattered – no one quite knew which lead went where and what to do with it went it got there.

Which it didn’t, (get there, I mean – pay attention at the back.) For a while, we had no proper foldback, no sound to the courtyard or to the other side of the bar. Strangely, the occasional trio set up worked rather well…

By the end of a lively session, the Captain de Chaos opined that it had been a busy one all round. Even though we only had 24 musos get up on the day. It felt like more – possibly because by 5.00pm, the bar was the fullest we have ever seen it. Whoo Hoo!

So… we kicked off, carefree, or careless, whichever floats your boat, with a trio of songs from Yuko, and some instrumentals from Alan, Jeff and the Captain, including Alan’s original Josephine. Just a spiffin’ warm up, really.

Then the rhythm section (Steve B, Stan the Man and meself) settled to its task, and lifted its game with Ben Hooper on keys, and the long time no see Mihoko (saxophone). Carol and Jane threw in some (possibly Diana Krall influenced) ballads, the saxes continued to jump in, then the Debster sang the best set she has in ages. By which time, Ashley (60 and a bit) had crooned and departed. Then Darlene (D’Adelaide) wandered in on a whim, and scorched through a set, Devon d’Bar sang for the first time (Spooky, not bad at all) and Deborah discovered that not all songs are created equal. Vladimiro (it’s Italian for Vladimir) played harp. And I discovered that playing the melody for the singer on Desafinado, in a key other than the default Bb is, err…, theoretically straightforward. Or to put it another way, almost impossible.

Ah well, onward and upward, as the actress said to the… but I digress. Nelson took over bass duties, Agus sat in on keys and then a great duet between the Debster and Darlene – Autumn Leaves as it often does. Chantelle got up and sang – a bit wayward at first, but then good, followed by a gratifyingly neat session on drums. And Moondance for an all-in finale, with 10 musos getting up and creating a racket which could be variously described as appalling, miraculous,or just good. Just…

Props to first time tonsil artistes, Devon, Deborah and Darlene. Welcome back to Agus, Ben and Mihoko. I haven’t mentioned Mr Hirsh, esq, – or his recording studio.

We pulled stumps at near on 8.00pm. A good afternoon’s entertainment, but never mind, we can always cock it up next time.
TW

Yet Another thrillingly brief description of yesterday’s Jam Session, not including the state of chips, Idaho’s loss, and the meaning of noise in music…

Well, you have to start somewhere, do you not. I have been reading about the slithy toves this week, and do not intend to pursue the matter further, there being a rather good jam session on which to report.

Where did we go wrong? Not sure, but a surprisingly good cross section of Jammers turned up, late as usual. We kicked the pill round the paddock , before embarking on a session that got better by the minute.

Sir Roger De Coverley’s dubious descendant ripped out his black sax and entertained us for a while. Quite what has come over him is still uncertain, but he seemed to do all sorts of weird stuff, like leaving space for Les Autres (see footnote) to get aboard, playing succinctly composed solos, and generally raising the tone. About time.

Of course having Ade Ish on keys helped considerably, and when we realised that (a) young Stan on bass was having a red hot go, and (b) Monsieur Bray was as good as ever on drums, a half decent jam session emerged.

Ade Ish, pianist

Jess put up a passably smooth set of jazz swing, then Peel Me A Grape. Jeff soloed a treat on that one. Not to be outdone, we had a mass saxophone section (Laurie, Jeff, Alan, Keef – kicked off by the Captain, and Jaime (de Spain) on his 3 month old saxophone with a handy take on Footprints, which besides being a Wayne Shorter toon, is easy on the ear, and quite possibly piano, although you wouldn’t think it at the time.

The afternoon passed at a dizzying pace, and the pub filled satisfyingly full – maybe a little cold weather was driving the punters in? Song of the Day (do we have one of those?) went to My Old Flame, (Ade, Alan West, Stan and Steve on drums)

Huich turned in a typically unobtrusive violin solo; and Julian, back from what he described as a four month hiatus, played some pretty sweet floot.

Hirsh arrived to take over from Steve on drums, Nelson relieved a determined not to be knackered Stan, Yuko (My Baby Just Cares For Me), Jane (East of the Sun), Carol (Minnie the Moocher) Annie (You turned the tables on Me) all pumped new life into songs we forgot to bury years ago. And then Mr Hirsh dragged him self off the carpet for a rousing take on Sunny Side of The Street. You cant keep a good man down. God knows, we’ve tried….

So … only 24 musos turned out for this one, no excuses, but it was definitely up a grade or two, music-wise. We indulged the instrumentalists manly because they were, for the first time in a long time, the stars of the show.

Next one please, can’t wait!

Footnote: Very little is known about Les Autres, and none of it is true. Les could have been a late 19th Century toothbrush salesman, but his dad wouldn’t let him. He often hangs about the back entrance to one of the many licensed premises that the Melbourne Jazz Jammers have closed down over the years, waiting for the next debacle.

The Jam Session: Up a Bit, Left a Bit

It has been a busy week…

Friday: publish the latest edition of the Jammer’s Email Newsletter. It gets 103 views on Friday, 290 for the week. Relies on avid readers having nothing better to do.

Saturday

For the sixth year in a row. The Box Hill Anglican Church Fete, starts around 10.15 with the often-played Variations on a Feedback. Settles down, Huich (violin) gets better and better, Steve Bray, the Captain and meself should know what we are doing, but do it anyway: Jess looks good, sings good, moves good and sets up a good rapport with the audience, which ranged from One Small Child (lost) and a dog, to an all classy bevy of sausage eaters, vicars, parishioners and the like, and a fan waving dance troupe in red. Topped it all off with a classy take on Peel Me A Grape

Sunday

Committee Meeting for the Newport Festival. Reports on Venues, Marketing, Finance – welcome back to Julian, the four month globetrotting absentee, just in time to start spending money. And lots of discussion on how to get the name of the Festival and website address we want

Ashley turns 60, invites some of the jammers, resulting Post Jam Session as classy as all get-out – coincidence surely, although we would like to see the ageing Ashley again some time.

Meanwhile, back at The Post, yet another change to the sound system, skilfully avoided by the Captain (at the Ash bash). Again, once it had settled down, this week’s layout worked half well, with a positively pleasing sound in the rear Courtyard. We started with everything but the singer too loud, turned everything down and were rewarded with the saxes (Alan and Laurie) playing beautifully, and at the right vol. Nice one!

Flamenco Dancers. Much to everyone’s surprise, only the one Flamenco dancer turned up (Natalie), turning a normal afternoon into an egregiously good one.

Singers: Jane, Carol, Yuko, Debster, Kevin, Chantelle, Silvana (walk in) Rachel Camarino and Nurul all sang. This is, apparently, what singers do.. If I had to pick one this week (I don’t) Carol gets stronger and stronger.

Drums: set up by Michael Findlay and Alan Richards, with a surprise visit from Sala (now from Castlemaine) and Chantelle finding out she doesn’t find latin rhythms that easy.

Bass: Ivan in absolutely top form, played all arvo. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou..

Guitar: Fermin comped and solo-ed all arvo. Filled the sound nicely.

Recorder: again, only one recorder player turned up – Marion the mention, as good as ever… and she is now on a promise to put a band up for the looming Festival.

Piano: The Debonair Curtis and meself took turns in tickling the ivories, at least, in John’s case, to great effect. Eventually the piano disgraced itself due to the bodged up stand failing, and we finished off on a table. We played an inordinate amount of latin because the Flamenco thing was such fun, but there was plenty of other stuff – Deb picked out a typical Deb-style obscure ballad, which turned out to be (a) different, and (b) fun to solo on.

Alan, Fermin, Ivan, Rachel, Sala, TW    Photograph by Michael Findlay

The Next Jam

It will be at The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday October 13th. Last week’s comment about a 3.30 start to allow time for fiddling with the sound system proved satisfyingly accurate, but was only meant as a joke. Next week we will start at 4.00 on the dot, promise, or the Captain will stand everyone a beer.

Wanted: around 25 thimbles. Must be waterproof, and clean

See ya there?

The Newport Jazz Fest – up a bit, left a bit more,

We are still scouting venues – on a “the more the merrier” basis, and are starting to talk seriously to bands (seriously? another first!)

Volunteers: We have had several people rash enough to volunteer their services. Frankly, the number of volunteers needed to run this sort of event can be staggering – at a rough count we are looking at between 24 and 48 volunteers (24 only if they all agree to do a shift both days)

That said, we are tremendously encouraged by the offers we have had to date – we will just need more of them!

Next Jam this Sunday 4pm at the Post Hotel

Next Jam is on Sunday at 4pm

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street

You can park on St Kilda Road (Sunday, no restrictions). Public parking is available on Bath Street, just past the Hotel on Inkerman Street (same side as Post Hotel). Tram 3/3a or 67 down St Kilda Road from the City if they are running, or take a helicopter, land elsewhere and get an Uber. Or walk. Or take the bus, but fer gawdsake bring it back. Or come the next week instead. Bring the spouse, collect double points if it is someone else’s.

Sunday in St. Kilda

It doesn’t seem so long ago that getting to The Post involved a mad dash through the rain, with a chill winter wind wrapped around yer ankles. Yesterday’s was a casual stroll in a warm afternoon breeze, to be greeted by the sight of Mike switching cables, plugging in doodads and hanging the speakers off the ceiling. We wisely stayed schtumm as the debacle unfolded…plenty of time to reflect on what else could be beneficially hung off the ceiling

And through it all, the sound system, once tweaked, twiddled and tuned, was the best FOH we have had so far.

So, once sorted, we launched into a bright and tight set from Jess, who grows increasingly confident as well as tuneful, and as a result will be singing almost every song in her current repertoire at next Saturday’s Box Hill Anglican Church bash – in the company of Piers (bass), The Captain (saxophone), Steve Bray (drums), Huich (violin) and meself on keys, all being well. The cacophony should be appalling.

The band (L to R) : Huich, Shota, Guy, Jane …and the Captain
smartphone photo by Michael Findlay

Then newcomer (but experienced) Kerry morphed from I might sing, to can I do some more?, and got better and better. Singing with the Jam Session Orchestra can be a daunting affair at first.

So, was it a good Jam Session? Actually, not as many people there as has been the case recently, perhaps due to daylight saving confusing everyone who wasn’t confused already. A quick tour of the joint to hand out promo cards revealed that almost every one not called Rod or Bette hailed from the local ‘burb or Arizona.

The best trio set that I can remember The lack of musicians led to a hot set from Gentleman John Curtis, Ivan on bass and Steve Bray on drums. The pub fell positively quiet as this august trio attempted what has rarely been tried before – playing real music; unencumbered by superfluous guitars and saxophones. Who will all get their turn next week.

Not to be outdone, Laurie then played some positively lush baritone – Moonlight in Vermont, if I remember rightly, followed later on Now and Forever, the Pat Metheny ballad.

And the afternoon was topped off by Jane – after an up tempo first set, she got up again, (and again I think), causing at least one seasoned jammer to comment that she seemed to know what she was doing. Never mind, she can always cock it up next time…

At which stage, I remarked to new barman Toby (ex Heavy Metal pub) that listening to jazz could rot your brain – you only had to look round the room to realise that. He gave me a blank look, right between the eyes.

Rare(ish) contributions from Agus (piano) Huich (violin), and later Guy (tpt) and a positively decadent take on Summertime from the aforementioned Jane, with Trevor Prasad on keys. Susie put in a late set – Black Coffee, All Blues and Comes Love. Sweet.

Great way to finish a classy afternoon – 22 musos, not a train wreck, no ‘effing up the form, mainly in tune even. Come on lads, you’ve got to do worse than that – we have a reputation to destroy..
TW