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.

Sunday Jazz : a pleasant afternoon in St Kilda

The Captain writes…

Four regular jammers were not in attendance as they had gone up the Calder to perform at the Castlemaine monthly jam (see “Moonlighting” below). A couple of others may have been seen at the Ringwood Soiree. Despite this, the Post Jam went ahead at full steam with 16 musicians taking part.

Due to the absence of a regular pianist it was decided to rearrange the stage which was universally found to be acceptable. Then the music started. Malcolm H, Peter G and John C played the keys. Peter and David put in the bass notes and Sala and Maged caressed the skins and belted some brass.  Jeff H played soprano sax and clarinet (not at the same time). Laurie S and myself were on tenor with Alan West on alto and various percussion devices. Laurie, Jeff and Alan Alan did a great version of Chitlins Con Carne.

Marion Lustig appeared towards the end of the session and played some magical recorder. Her rendition of Louie Armstrong’s Melancholy Blues was a stand out on the afternoon/evening. With only 2 vocalists, Jane L and Kay Y with able to perform more than the normal number of tunes. Jane’s God Bless the Child was special and Kay, s up beat version of What a Wonderful World got the loudest applause of the session.

Footnote: Alan West has found a great way to get a lift home. He experienced an acute attack of vertigo at the end of last week’s session which resulted in an ambulance being called. He ended up getting a ride home via the Alfred Hospital. It was also noted by several males who were present when the ambulance arrived, that, if the two young female paramedics  were typical ambos then they would consider  trying Alan’s strategy themselves.. Seriously, all’s well that ends well. Thanks must go to Marion Lustig and Bette Nash for the care and attention they gave Alan.

Kay and Dave on bass                                         Pete (bass) and Jane                                           Alan, sitting down

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

Sir Roger . . .

Sir Roger De Coverley not even slightly deceased.

Bit of gossip doing the rounds to the effect that Sir Roger De Coverley had shuffled off the mortal coil. Not so. As soon as I heard the news I called Roger Clark, who knows De Coverley extremely well, and he assured me that everything was still in good working order. Well, he would say that wouldn’t he?

 

No more Pizza, Sunday Post instead

So the sun sets on the Royal Standard, Frank reverts to a quieter life, as the last strains of Be go Bopping out the window… Well, it wasn’t quite like that, and if the truth be known, lots of peeps hacking into the pizzas, whilst we had rather a spiffin’ time of it in the back room/echo chamber.

Although, it must be said, Captain C was still a bit crook, and didn’t play his saxololliphone at all – surely another first!

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Whatever, Jeff arced up for a while, then Will stepped in with the sweetest tone, and some smooth lines. The lad is getting seriously good…so the noise and drool brigade still acquitted themselves well.

So the sun sets on the Royal Standard, Frank reverts to a quieter life, as the last strains of Be go Bopping out the window… Well, it wasn’t quite like that, and if the truth be known, lots of peeps hacking into the pizzas, whilst we had rather a spiffin’ time of it in the back room/echo chamber.

Although, it must be said, Captain C was still a bit crook, and didn’t play his saxololliphone at all – surely another first!

Whatever, Jeff arced up for a while, then Will stepped in with the sweetest tone, and some smooth lines. The lad is getting seriously good…so the noise and drool brigade still acquitted themselves well.

As did Salah (welcome back!) on drums, Michael the Lefty, No Nick Name Dave on bass, Dave Taylor on double bass and Dan on the Fender. The makings of a pretty good rhythm section.

Which got better as the Perri warmed up. Can he do latin or what? Last seen swapping Calabrian anecdotes with Frank.

Fermin (guitar) comped beautifully, and must have forgotten not to solo, as has been his wont, because he soloed rather well.

Malcolm took over on keys for an extended session, Carol sang (sweet vocals, have we nearly got the pa reverb etc. right?) as did Jane, Debbie probably the pick of them.

Julian surprised us all with Sunny on guitar, and an extended session of the Finance Sub-Committee on future Festival matters. Stay tuned for more developments on that one.

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And so, we are off to the Post Hotel, for Sunday 21st, 4.00pm on the corner of Inkerman and St Kilda Road. Some damn fool booked it for Easter Sunday, and you will all be in Church. If you could all sneek out once the Vicar gets to the sermon and starts bangin’ on, we should get a good turn out.

See ya then!

 

As did Salah (welcome back!) on drums, Michael the Lefty, No Nick Name Dave on bass, Dave Taylor on double bass and Dan on the Fender. The makings of a pretty good rhythm section.

Which got better as the Perri warmed up. Can he do latin or what? Last seen swapping Calabrian anecdotes with Frank.

Fermin (guitar) comped beautifully, and must have forgotten not to solo, as has been his wont, because he soloed rather well.

Malcolm took over on keys for an extended session, Carol sang (sweet vocals, have we nearly got the pa reverb etc. right?) as did Jane, Debbie probably the pick of them.

Julian surprised us all with Sunny on guitar, and an extended session of the Finance Sub-Committee on future Festival matters. Stay tuned for more developments on that one.

And so, we are off to the Post Hotel, for Sunday 21st, 4.00pm on the corner of Inkerman and St Kilda Road. Some damn fool booked it for Easter Sunday, and you will all be in Church. If you could all sneek out once the Vicar gets to the sermon and starts bangin’ on, we should get a good turn out.

See ya then!
TW

Late Breaking News…. Oh Bugger!

The Junk is no more. We were advised yesterday that the Junktion Hotel had closed its doors, ceased trading, gone belly up, run out of beer, goodwill and enthusiasm, and is about as sanguine and sentient as a Norwegian Parrot on bypass. Meaning there wil be no jam session this Sunday 24th March

Will we try and find another venue? Yes, hopefully soon

Will we persist with Kew as a venue for a November Festival? Maybe – there are a couple of contacts with (very preliminary) interest.

Do you want to get involved? If you know of a suitable venue for a Jam session, either as a one -off stop gap measure or as a permanent venue, call

Ted 0431 968982

Col 0422568537

And following is the newsletter wot we wrote before the above…

Wangaratta cancelled for 2019

The 2019 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues has been cancelled. This follows the resignation of co-artistic director Adam Simmons and before that the departure of long term festival managers, Nolan Media. Doubtless the $100,000 bail out of last year’s festival by the local council, though not disclosed at the time, was an indication of what was to come.

read more here . . .

IN RECESS: The Wangaratta Jazz Festival won't be held in 2019 after a ratepayer contribution of $100,000 saved the event last year.

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: Well,that was a surprise….

I almost didn’t go. What the hell, rocked up anyway, as I had promised Mistress Smith that I would come for the last Featured Singer series of the year (see report below).

The jam sessions have been predictably unpredictable of late … this one featured some new faces (welcome Britta the bass), some returning faces (Jane, where ya been?), some startling improvers, (Dave No Nickname on bass), some returning Jammers (Kay Young de Darwin in fine form, great to see you again), rather more audience ordering ridiculously large meals and staying all afternoon… and some fine music making/mangling/take your pick.

Featured Singer (and wardrobe mistress)Mistress Annie Smith sang a fiendishly difficult set that put Gentleman John Curtis right in his comfort zone – standout was Take Five, which is the first time in living memory anyone has attempted a 5/4 tune (other than when the rest of us were playing in some other tempo…) Annie craftily avoided some of her more entertaining/less intellectual songs so we will have to ask her back to do another set…

Rhythm section of the week: Drummers win by a country mile: Bill Swannie, Salah and Alan Smith all good, Andre a late arrival but just as good too.

Soloists: Laurie played beautifully, and nailed it, Keith was his usual excellent self, and they both paired well with the Captain .

Singers included Jane with a top swing set, Brian Fly Me To The Moon, Stormy Monday, Angel Eyes and Kevinwas there but elected not to sing. Kay Young sang as well as ever, Ann Hayres arrived later, but hadn’t sung before I left, probably so I wouldn’t be able to take the mickey. She is always good.

It was entertaining stuff. The good Captain got so excited he forgot to call his customary five bar fours, or indeed create any chaos at all. So will anyone turn up next session?

Pre Christmas Bash: Sunday 16th December

This week… 16th December, with an earlier start time of 3.00pm. For those that want to, we suggest we stop for a meal at 6.00pm  or thereabouts. The food is good, and the portions are enormous.

Indications are, that despite the bigger turnout last week, even more people will be coming for the Bash. The skeleton staff at Bendigo Towers a rereasonably confident that the afternoon will prove to be a disaster,in the finest traditions of the Melbourne Jazz Jammers.

Look out for…

Jammers attempting to play jazz – that will never work, we all prefer the occasional train-wreck.  Audience members are advised to ignore this, talk loudly and preferably indulge in malicious gossip instead. We all have our strengths…

Complete bluddy strangers deciding to turn up for the first time and expecting to play most of the afternoon…. or complete bands doing the same (it has happened before…)  We will attempt to get everyone a spot. Dodgy Dave has been warned we might run a bit late.

Of course it is always possible that almost no-one will turn up at all, in which case we will have a marvellous time anyway…

The Bash has always been a chance for new, old, decrepit and lapsed jammers to get together and sneer at the current crop. As you love a bit of scurrilous gossip (who doesn’t?) this is a great opportunity to get on the bandwagon, meet old friends, possibly wish you hadn’t,and if so inclined, blow the tits off yer fave toon or three.

Be there!

Next Jam, this Sunday 16th December, 3.00pm start,

The Junktion Hotel, 99 High Street, South Kew – the Hotel is on the corner of Kew Junction. Public parking is available on Studley Park Road, or behind the Mercedes dealer/behind the High Street Shops off Fenton Street from High St, Kew.

Next week: a review of the Year that was. Reputations will be ruined, riots reviewed, repeat offenders identified, prizes awarded. 

Toodlepip!