Moonlighting at The Maurocco

Ah, a meeting of like minded, or feeble minded, I’m not sure which, Melbourne moonlighters at the Maurocco Bar. A cold afternoon’s jaunt up the Calder. It was a packed house, (around 100 people there, maybe more) and some fine music played. The monthly Jam in Castlemaine seems to have settled to a great afternoon’s entertainment. Hard to believe that Mauro (landlord) resisted it for so long. Hard to believe the jam once sank to just six people in the original Comma bar.

Miss Smiff, Mr Hirsh, Ade, and Alan Richards all started moonlighting before I did. Greeted by Gwynn at the door, Hannah at the helm, and a wet afternoon in the Big C. Queuing for drinks, a fine collection of secondhand armchairs fully loaded, so a standing arvo and a chance to catch up with some Castlemaine stalwarts, Norm Gray on flugel, Don de Halls Gap and Christian on bass, Valiant and Maggie on keys, and the pick of them, (if you had to pick, which you didn’t) Howard on guitar.

I have been trying to find a suitable time to get up to Castlemaine for the jam session there – thanks to the Captain and Malcolm for arranging it – a fun afternoon and a credit to Hannah, Ken Turnbull, Gwynn et al for a fine session.

Hannah at the Mic                                                                          Sax and Norm on Trombone                                
Don on Bass

Last Week’s Jam Session, this week’s Jam Session:

Fashionably late, I staggered through the door of the Gold Street Gossip shop in time to hear Curtis, Colonel T, Captain Chaos, Fermin, Findlay, Steve Bray and/or Bill and the motley crew tweak some irretrievable version of a Monk tune (name withheld to protect the guilty) before settling down to listen to Lisette bring some calm and disorder to the proceedings. I then retired to the back bar for a bit of a gossip with POCKOTL

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There is a satisfyingly predictable trajectory to the jam session which sees the singers take over around 6pm and this session Continue reading →

Castlemaine Jazz Jam

It was a veritable cornucopia — or should it be hornucopia — of movin’ and groovin’ at the Castlemaine Jazz Jam last Sunday. The movin’ bit involved going up the street to a new venue: the marvellous Maurocco Bar across from the railway station. (That’s not a typo, you mistake-spotting readers of The Age. The owner’s name is Mauro.) The groovin’ bit involved 24 jam makers preserving the juice of jazz, with nothing to jar the senses.

About 40 jazz fans kept numerous couches and armchairs warm, and bar staff did their damnedest to cool things down with liberal libations. Individual seats were as tightly held as Kooyong during the Menzies years. We welcomed some new faces who were all experienced hands. Adding them to the mix with our stalwart brigade necessitated a hastily concocted spreadsheet that approached king size.

Demonstrating that Central Victoria gets its name from, well, being at the centre of Victoria, we had jamsters from Bendigo, Dingee (we don’t know where it is either), Castlemaine, Newstead, Maldon, Harcourt, Lancefield and Macedon. Melbourne was well represented by a delegation of five.

They all bopped some swing, swung some standards, innovated some bossa, jumped some blues and romanticised some ballads. To sum up, it was great.

We’ll do the same but different on Sunday 2 April at 2pm.

Ken Turnbull

Robbie Noakes took the photos…