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

It’s getting rather busy…

…And we are rapidly approaching a point where we will run the risk of being over-subscribed. This last week, we had 4 pianists, 4 saxophonists, 6 drummers, 4 bass players, 2 guitarists, and 9 singers – a total of 29 musos for the Captain to fit in. We barely managed, so if you are one of the lucky ones who got to play more than three times, make sure that everyone else gets a go before you get up again.

Egregiously uncharacteristic appearances:

Trevor Prasad,(keyboard) for one. He contented himself with the thought that the piano was inaudible, but what we could hear of it was pretty much on the money.

Fermin: great solos again, otherwise contributed to the muddy sound with gusto.

Chantelle: newcomer, sang some standards, powerful voice and tuneful.

Bill Swannie: (drums) first time at the Post, Bill has played a number of gigs with Katerina in the past and remains as smooth as. And it is his Birthday.

John Perri: maintains he has barely touched the drums for months, but is a dream to play with. Possibly the only drummer to suggest 12/8 time and mean it.

Jane and Jeff

Jane: sang early: and entertained. Stayed late and should have sung again. Jeff Harris in the background.

Summary: The Captain resorted to putting up six or seven musos at a time as a means of getting everyone in. The Captain Chaos Knackeredom Index was up several points by the time we finished and packed up. This was a busy session, and ran well late. There was lots of good stuff going on. Word from the audience was generally highly complementary. Hortense and Madge from Altona were both speechless, but only because they were not there. Again!

See Ya Sunday?

Marketing 1.01

Did you notice the Sandwich Board outside, and the update on the Post Hotel website? Have you seen the ads on Melband? Have you given one of the MJJ cards to your best friend, vague acquaintance or complete bluddy stranger? Have you tried googling Melbourne+ Jazz+ Jam Session, and marvelled at how high up the first page we come?

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 6th October, 4.00pm start. Should be fun – get there early and help move the PA around (again!); order something exotic off the menu, get your instrument out and start playing it loudly whilst we are doing a soundcheck – God, we love that!

 Jam Session at the Maurocco Bar, Castlemaine.

This Sunday 6th October, usual time, the Bar is right opposite the Railway Station. Vice versa is also true. John Hannah reports that Mauro has invested in a new sound system. Nick it and bring it back…

For Heavens Sake!

For Heaven’s sake

Yet another PA setup to contend with – and this time not in a good way. Of the 25 or so people who commented on it, not one person liked it. The likely cause was a desire to see the Inkerman Room used a bit more -possibly because the Post Hotel is getting increasingly crowded on a Sunday afternoon. Sadly, this didn’t work, and in the meantime there was nowhere for anyone to sit other than propped at the bar.

The Inkerman Room at 5.30

All of which should have led to an appalling jam session. It didn’t…. in fact we listed 28 musos and singers as getting up and boogeying in spite of it all. And the bar stayed crowded all afternoon. Soundwise, this set up wasn’t great, but Col, Laurie and Jeff on saxophones rose above it, ably led by Mr Clark, who only got lost once and the rest of the time was great.

Ian Nicholson (guitar) played with Breakout. (Col, Malcolm, Stan and Steve) playing a Peter Ryan number in his honour.

Fermin (guitar) aced a solo or two, Vlad ditto,

Newcomers Liam and Chantelle took over drums from the aforementioned Steve Bray and Michael “snapper” Findlay. Alex towards the end. Liam struggled until he got the sound levels right, then fitted right in, Chantelle was impressive from the get-go.

Bass players were a fine lot – Dave for starters, Piers and Ivan (loved the Classical music gig all black outfit) in the middle, and Stan Van Hooft later on – Stan playing more fluently than he used to.

The band in this week’s layout: Adrian, Kay, Roger, Jeff, Dave No Nickname and Peter Garam out of view

Singers started well and got rowdier as the evening wore on – Yuko for starters had every body toe tapping to Beyond The Sea, Kay to follow, then Aimee, Kevin and Susie (“Black Coffee”) culminating in Gilbert (“My Way”) . And then they all got up for Route 66 – an inspired if slightly traditional choice by Kay. Guy (tpt) soloed, and we forgot to mention Marion. Oh, alright, nice recorder solos on a coupla toons. 

John (Alex’s dad) played us out with some nice half stride, and we all went home well sated. Except for the basket of chips. They were salted

My picks for the week: this ended up a very satisfying session – made all the better by the improvers – Dave (obviously), Kay who sang at her best for weeks, and Marion.

And Captain Chaos reckons Aimee sang the best she ever has. I would agree…

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 29th September 4.00pm start. Should be fun – get there early and help move the PA around; order extra chips and we’ll help you eat them. Complain bitterly at the bar if the Budvar hasn’t been restocked.

The Newport Jazz Fest – incremental progress or bratwurst. You decide.

I recently looked up the reports on the early stages of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival. The first effort mentioned that we were going to shoot for 30 bands. Woohoo! A month later this had blown out to 40 bands. Rash promises. The festival opened with 58 bands.

With that in mind, our opening salvo of 40 bands seemed pretty reasonable, n’est ce pas?

Venues: We met with the Junction Hotel – big space (big enough for a big band and then some) and the beer garden at the back. Waiting to hear back from the lovely Fleur.

Then a coffee at Leroy’s Cafe – best location of the lot, should be great for a four piece, a coffee and a light lunch. Again, waiting for confirmation

Still waiting for confirmation on the Scout Hall – their motto? Be prepared. Except wen it comes to answering the phone.

The Date: Hold the Festival at Newport on May 2nd, May 3rd 2020: confirmed We haven’t changed this date for several weeks. Good grief!

The Bands: Book 40 – 50 bands who are prepared to volunteer their services in return for an equal share of any surplus made. Cynics may feel that making a loss would cut out a lot of paperwork, but we wouldn’t think like that, would we?

The Web Site Jess has just a few t’s to cross, then we will launch.

Jess: website guru by day, singer by inclination

The Logo: still not designed, for heaven’s sake. Should be here soon.

The Esteemed Editor: is back from swanning around Europe, Breakfast in Hamburg, if it is Thursday this must be Berlin and bratwurst , you get the drift.. Jetlagged, he is now swanning around in Point Lonsdale or something. We should have him back in the stocks any day now, and there is no point in apologising about all the e-mail addresses that haven’t been added to the list, because this is an arcane and editorial process to which the Extra 3B Copyboy is not privy.

No more tea for me, Mama – I’m going to fly my aeroplane.”

Madge and Hortense, the Festival, and then…

Madge and Hortense: Another Load of Codswallop

I was talking to Madge from Altona the other day. Well, not so much talking as communing with nature whilst Madge eyeballed the seagulls. They tend to drop in on Refinery Terrace en route from the municipal tip to the fish and chip shop, perpetually hungry and squawking a lot.

Speaking of Hortense, she has taken to wearing a spectacular Philipino straw boater and a stupefied grin.. Quite where she got them remains a mystery, but the words startled, matelot and fishin’ spring to mind. Cods have been walloped all over Altona West ever since. So… neither Madge nor Hortense were at the Jam Session last week. Seems St Kilda is a bit too posh these days, and anyway, Hortense is no longer in the business…

Which left a desultory collection at The Post of four musos at 4.00pm sharp, By recently established tradition , this was a good 15 minutes before we started. Would anyone turn up? Seems they would and by evening we had 25 musos up and jumping. Rather satisfying, as almost all of them were more than passably tuneful.

Highlights of the day included a welcome return by pianist Adrian, no less than seven saxophonists, but they mostly kept themselves nice. Alan West’s Josephine is becoming a bit of a favourite, and nobody knows why. The two bassists, Dave and Ivan both played rather well. Dave grows more irascibly eccentric as his bass lines develop, and Ivan is back to his jazz best, after a spell under the weather.

Tonsil artistes included Kay, Jane, Yuko, Brian, the Debster and Carol, with Gilbert to finish. Jane, ever the Krall aficionado, essayed I Love Being Here with You to good effect, followed by Yuko’s take on My Funny Valentine, with Guy on tpt. The evening concluded with a rousing version of Mustang Sally, led by Gilbert, with Yuko on bv’s and a fullish complement of Saxophoneurs, still keeping them selves nice. The Captain spun it out to 8.05

Spiffin’.sesh after all.

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 22nd September 4.00pm start. Should be funthere will be prizes!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it The Newport Jazz Fest?

The latter, quite possibly. Another busy week cruising the western burbs looking for more venues, and angst among the committee on a name that cannot be confused with the Rhode Island Newport Jazz Festival.

The Date: Hold the Festival at Newport on May 2nd, May 3rd 2020: confirmed

The Venues Use 5, maybe 6 venues including the Newport Library/.Community Centre, The Newport Bowls Club, the Newport RSL, confirmed, the Scout Hall (still a maybe) Now looking at the Hotel and Leroy’s coffee shop.

The Bands: Book 40 – 50 bands who are prepared to volunteer their services in return for an equal share of any surplus made. Cynics may feel that making a loss would cut out a lot of paperwork, but we wouldn’t think like that, would we?

The Web Site Jess (the singer ) is preparing a red hot web site. We are proposing to transfer the Newsletter and such recipients as are interested to the website.

The Facebook page: this is the Melbourne Jazz Jammers Facebook page, which is so old it almost predates Mark Zuckerberg (I wish somebody would). It has undergone a major spring clean and will soon feature more dodgy videos of the Jam Sessions, starring err… you?

Check it out on https://www.facebook.com/groups/83551088146/

The Committee remains keen, the venues are keen, the Council is keen. What could possibly go wrong?

Stay tuned to find out!

Q and A -some questions, new Festival Details, and few answers

Twenty Eight? Musos, that is, making this the second busiest Jam Session since 2008. Apart from Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Titch (60’s popster nerds get on down) who might have been there, Uncle Tom Cobley and all who weren’t there, and Kylie Minogue who could have been there but her people didn’t confirm, there was a record number of Japanese there, a record number of singers (10), a record number of baritone saxes (2) and even the lights were smokin’. And not a bad session, to boot…

And not a bad session, to boot

Singers: Jane, Carol and Kay early starters, with John Curtis on keys having way too much fun. Kay even forgot to sing One Note Samba as a swing tune, or some perfectly good Lennon McCartney classic as a bossa. And sounded all the better for it.

one note samba: the official chart

Jess (see the Other Newport below) sang a brief set of three, Yuko swung it, Aimee treated her friends to a complete re-ordering of the form on at least two songs, but with her trademark warm tone; Kev ducked into the Captain’s take on Besame Mucho, and Brian stuck resolutely to the blues – not that we minded, he sounded pretty good. As the arvo wore on, Gilbert got up (“I like to sing Sinatra songs”) and duly sang Sinatra songs including asking for a switch in keys in the middle of Fly Me To The Moon. I can honestly claim cock-up of the day on that one (“What, again?”) and Malcolm closed it all out by accompanying Brisbane singer Leena Salim on Girl From Ipanema, followed by Fever. And a good version of Moondance heavily obliterated by having too many soloists all at once. Probably having three singers (Susie joined Leena and Kay on that one) didn’t help either.. John got up for the epilogue. Sweet.

New Bari: Who’s a lucky boy? Jeff tried out his shiny new bari, and it has to said, we couldn’t keep him off it – but it sounded pretty damn good. Laurie probably a tad smoother on his used-to-be shiny silver Bari.

Bass lines: Piers grooved along, Dave stretched out on Brian’s blues, Eiji the pick on his stick, with Yuko and others, Anton funking it up (but gently) at the end.

Guitar: Fermin back for a hit out, all the way from the cultural backwater of Kew. Good to see him again.

Drums: Larry for starters, Steve, Alan all good, Alex back for a second hit, Michael Findlay in the groove.

Q and A Given the numbers, the Captain did well to get everyone (well almost everyone) up for a play or a yodel. Will the layout change next week? Why stop now?, although the sound was adjudged as a bit muddy by those that know. Are we approaching full house on the Jams? Can we cock it up enough to avert that crisis? Of course we can!

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman,this Sunday 15th September 4.00pm start. Do hope you can make it!

The Captain Does a Runner

Well, not really, but he and Malcolm spent the afternoon in a tin shearing shed up the bush, listening to the rain. For reasons which escape me. The barest rump of a Jam Session in their absence: an afternoon with only one saxophonist, no drumsticks and, for a while, no drummer, (see the big secret below.) other than the estimable John Curtis who sat in and made do before a goodly session on keys.  – and yet, the afternoon had much to commend it.

Bass for starters: Dave NN repeated his stint as a more than competent bass player, this time driving the rhythm section nicely, followed by Piers who did much the same. And followed by Anton who we all know is good.

Saxophones: Laurie fronted with his Baritone, and played out of his skin all afternoon -one of the best sax sessions we have had at the Post.

Guitar: Just as well we were all on our best behaviour, because next up was Ray “lounge” Hood, who has embarked on another of his world tours (the Lounge Lizard and Annique at La Niche). Usual ridiculously good standard of music, although in the interests of accuracy (hah! Who would be interested in that?) we should mention that Annique had a first class go at blowing up the PA . Props to Dan for fixing it. Fermin, (Dindi) for the first time in a while, got up to take over the guitar department. Quite like old times at the Junk..

Recorder. Marion, but by that time we had settled to a groove and couldn’t be arsed to play some obscure bebop number, obliging her to play All of Me, and a bunch of other toons… con gusto….

Rose, Marion on recorder

Drums: Great to see John and Alex, not sighted since the Laika Bar days. Alex played drums, properly, for the first time all arvo..(See below for the big secret…). Later on Mack and then Andre took turns on the drums. (see also below for the Big Secret)

Singers? What Singers?. I haven’t mentioned the singers – they are all too shy and modest to be mentioned anyway, other than Kay, Aimee, Rose, Deb, Yuko, Jane, and Annique. Despite our best efforts, they dominated the afternoon, and mighty fine they were too.

Debs on the turps, a happy bar

The Big Secret Curiously, people kept commenting all afternoon on how good the three drummers were, (Mack, Alex and Andre) and how they weren’t making too much noise. It wasn’t until we were packing up that we realised there had been no cymbals, no snare, one ride – we will never get away with that again, but they were good…

Finally, props to Kay who wrangled the musos nicely – might get her to do that again. . We called stumps due to fading light somewhat after 7.30, at which point we all went home older, but none the wiser.

It had been a good afternoon – see you next week?

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 8th September 4.00pm start. This is going to be a special session as we will be announcing details of the Jazz Festival to be….possibly.

Why Music?

Why not… I have been reading some articles on Neil Young recently and listening to the 1973 recording, warts and all, that has become his latest release. The irascible Young holds a theory that digital reproduction loses a lot of the sound quality of vinyl/analogue – and this damages our brains, although why Neil Young would still worry about that is a mystery to me….

Why Music? Do we need live performance any more, now that the machines can do it all? Technically, the rot set in in 1877, when Thomas Alva Edison invented the phonograph, initially, one would assume, as a means of making money, but later on as a means of reproducing music as it sounded in live performance. Neil’s live performance incorporates the mistakes, clams and glitches for which he is famous – as a part of his artistic expression. It grows on you.

Avid readers, all three of them, may now be wondering quite what this has to do with a Jam Session. Each week, we produce, live, some truly awful renditions of tunes which deserved better. This last week was no exception – except that the 27 musicians who fronted had a great time in general. This is currently one of the larger live, unrehearsed and impromptu musical gatherings in Melbourne, and if we are not careful, will continue to attract a uncritical audience.

Soloists: So rare are the brassisti that we have given up advertising for trumpeters – and of course two turned up – Satou from Japan and Guy (I think) from somewhere else. On top of which, the usual complement of saxes, plus Jeff on clarinet and soprano sax. And Sir Roger De Coverley, buckler of swashes and Bounder about Town, who mercifully left his horse, if he had one, outside.

Guy, Satou and Laurie: don’t look so serious chaps!

Singers were a bit thin on the ground- Kay with her usual collection of Bossa modified standards, Yuko singing up a storm, teenage gardener Miss Annabelle Smythe, reeking of Lobelia roots, but otherwise in fine voice. And Kevin the cap, for good measure.

Kevin the Cap

Drummers included Mike Findlay, Alan Richards, Steve Bray, Russell, and on a flying visit from Tasmania’s Big Ho, Nigel Legge (washboard ace, but this time on drums)

Guitarists: Octo as good as ever, newcomer Roy held his own, and Harry from Queensland got up eventually and could play more than a bit. All sweet.

Bass: Dave NN has taken to misbehaving, by playing rather well when you least expect it, and was the pick of them for once.. Another fine innings from Piers, Anton from Glasshouse days, and Roy’s offsider who was (a) better looking than Roy and (b) rather good.

Piano: Early contribution from Mr Curtis, played beautifully for Yuko, Malcolm and one other (name?) at the end.

All of which made for a middling musical medley, a goodly audience, and notably quite a few family groups amongst them. The Arvo was wrapped up with a fine (hah!) rendition of Minnie the Moocher, which proved an inspired choice.

The next generation looks on…

The Next Jam

Yes, you guessed it,The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 25th August, 4.00pm start.

Serious Jazz? Tits to that! (*)

Jam sessions in Melbourne come and go – we have lost count of how many have blossomed, flourished, faded and carked it. There should be a hotly contested prize for the serious session with the shortest life span… not that the Post would be hoisting the trophy, for at least two reasons.

The most likely explanation of the longevity of the Jam Sessions is that we have not yet got it right, do not know how to get it right, and have very little clue as to how to get it wrong, but keep trying.. Creative incompetence, BoJo (**) style, perhaps?

This week’s jam at St Kilda’s Post and Part Time Furniture Store (have you seen upstairs?) was, it could be said, on a downward trajectory – smaller than previous weeks, and musically a bit loose.

So… what, as the Curate (***) said, were the parts of it that were excellent?

The sound: just about as good as it gets. Captain Chaos has taking to adjusting the twiddly bits on the mixer, with, admittedly, disappointing results. In his heyday, the pub would have been burnt to the ground by now.

The fully engaged audience of punters, kids, hopefuls and lunatics. Most of whom, sensibly, huddle on the far side of the bar, although, to be fair, the Captain reckons that is the “sweet spot” sound wise.

The singers (fewer this week) who tend to get in the way of an extended saxophone/flute/clarinet solo from time to time. Accidentally of course, but much to the relief of the considerable number of friends they bring with them. The soloists generally arrive early and on their own. You may draw your own conclusions.

The big wind up at the end. Although not, perhaps, as good as the previous two weeks: Mustang Sally robustly and comprehensively explored. Are we going to keep the all-in smorgasbord finale of recent weeks going? We should, at least until we either cock it up, forget to do it, or accidentally play Little Sunflower (****) instead.

Mustang Sally : L-R Col,Alan, Vlad, Singer, Kay, Piers, Annie, (Malcolm) Michael, Octo
  • * “Serious Jazz? Tits to that” … a quote from one of the 322 ads we have put in Melband. We are not allowed to say that any more. Apparently “serious jazz” offends some people.
  • ** Obscure but on point reference to Boris.
  • *** The Curate’s Egg, as featured in Punch Magazine, November 9, 1895 . “Parts of it were excellent”. But of course, you knew that…
  • **** “ accidentally play Little Sunflower” : fondly remembered as the longest and dullest tune in the repertoire, this once went for an appalling 11 minutes at the Leinster. Several audience members had woken up by the time it finished.

Awards Night. Don’t be silly, there isn’t one, but if there was…

Best Violin; Huich – great solos.

Best Guitar: Octo – a bit of shredding going on, but in a tasteful way. Neil, Vlad and the Queenslander all needed more volume at times..

Best Saxophonist: Go on, sulk, the rest of you – Will was easily the best this week. Alan, Jeff, Col all placed well, and Calamatta had a hot solo in there somewhere.

Best Pianist: Malcolm managed to keep the vol at a sensible level, chose his organ sounds sparingly and appropriately, subtly drove the others to greater heights on Mustang Sally. And packed up afterwards – what’s not to like?

Best Bass: Pete and Slawie were their usual excellent selves, but it was great to see Piers back – clean bass lines, absolutely rock solid tempo.

Best Singer: This one was easy: there is no such thing as a best singer, they are all good, and if you don’t want your eyes scratched out, you will keep it that way.

So… 24 musos rocked up, mucked around a bit, and walked back out into the rain well chuffed. Not the greatest Jam Session ever, but a solid afternoon’s work all round. Train wreck next week, please, we have to maintain our usual standard (often referred to as “abysmal”).

See you Sunday?

Will and the Captain
The Andrews Sisters, possibly

Next Jam Session will be on Sunday 18th August, starting at 4.00pm

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

You can park on St Kilda Road (Sunday, no restrictions). Public parking is available on Bath Street, just past the Hotel on Inkerman Street. Or catch a tram 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.

All of them Good?

Quite what makes a jam session work is an enduring mystery, but if there is a pattern to these things, it may well be emerging. Another crap day, weather wise, no advertising in Melband, very few hits on the Newsletter due to a cock up at least partly of my own making, and this week comes after a huge session the week before, all of which generally presages a drop in numbers, a lessening of musical quality, and quite possibly a visit from Hortense, of whom, more later…

The Ensembleclip_image002[6]

Long story short, 25 musos turned up, the crowd in the bar were just as enthusiastic, fairly thirsty, and a few new/old faces dropped by. We started with four bass players (Dave T, Dave NN, Slawie and Pete. Pretty good session as a result … well, at least nothing got broken and nobody died.

Highlights? Jeff turned up with a dodgy Chinese knock off flute, that sounded rather good. Laurie soloed memorably on All Blues, and Alan, who gets better every week, was his usual affable self. Singers included Aggie Smith on gardening leave, Jess trying out new material, including I Get A Kick Out of You, which isn’t exactly new, but you get the drift; Aimee struggling with young Malcolm on the piano (a reggae beat on Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Really?); Nurul rocked it on Sway and All Blues, and a trio of newcomers on guitar, piano and vocals, all good but from which I only managed to get one email address, which I cannot read.. ..followed by Janine (God Bless The Child) and Nicole (Summertime) before a big wind up with an ensemble singing of Hit The Road Jack, which, eventually, we did.

In discussion with the Captain, we estimated over 50 musicians and singers have performed at the Post. How wrong could we be – 83 have been listed in the newsletter since we started on April 19th. Apart from early days, (such as no singers on May 17), numbers have been running at or above 25 on most weeks.

And all of them good… Hortense, who often makes a discreet appearance when numbers are down, has hardly been at all.

See you next week?

 

Total

Oncers Came again
Piano 13 7 6
Sax 10 4 6
Guitar 10 5 5
Bass 7 2 5
Drums 12 4 8
Other 4 2 2
Singer 27 9 18

And all of them good… Hortense, who often makes a discreet appearance when numbers are down, has hardly been at all.

Steve on drums, hot guitarclip_image002

See you next week?
TW

Next Jam this Sunday 4.00pm at the Post Hotel

Next Jam is on Sunday at 3.30pm

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.