Just in Time for Christmas: music suppliers:

Looking for that last minute present idea, or just got a saxophone with a busted reed?

Dropped that microphone once too often, or sound like a bullfrog singing through a bowl of soup?

Gone twang when ya bass should have gone boink?

South Melbourne is blessed with a fine array of music related shops – and we have picked three of them that Jammers have used in the past – they might be worth a visit. Mention the Jazz Jammers and let them know we will be asking for support come May 2nd and 3rd- Festival time.

The Music Place: 339 Clarendon Street, practically an institution, a specialist shop for brass and wind players, once owned by David Temby, passed through the capable hands of Brett Willis, and now has a young, enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff offering a range of services for saxophonisti, il trumpettore and other musos of that ilk or similar.

The Music Place are past sponsors of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival.

The shop has had a makeover, there is still a goodly display of a wide range of instruments, John Coltrane (actually it might just have been someone who thought they were John Coltrane) was trying out stuff last time I was there – and the staff seem to encourage that sort of thing…

Bass Centre: 173 Park Street. A short stroll from the Music Place, a specialist shop for bass players and their like. Get past the fairly modest exterior, and you will be visually assaulted by all things bass – axes hanging on the walls, boxes on the floor waiting for shipment – the place is fairly buzzing, and has been for 30 years. This one comes recommended by bass players in the know – and the staff modestly claim to be the best bass centre in Australia, although there used to be a shop near Fitzroy Crossing – it was shut on the day I went there. So was Fitzroy Crossing.

Whatever, South Melbourne is definitely the music centre of Melbourne, where The Bass Centre deals in both new and used equipment, and given its high turnover, constantly has quality stock on show.

Guy Palmer, Store Manager

They can be contacted by phone on 03 9696 6561, email at info@basscentre.com.au, live chat, or can talk to you face to face in the store (old school!)

https://www.basscentre.com.au/pages/about-us

Factory Sound: 75 – 85 York Street: where Jammers get a fair bit of their gear: this shop is bursting with a huge range of amps, mixers, speakers, mics, you name it, they got it. You get the same good service if you spend $100 or $100,000 – I know, because I have done both.

Tip: the in house range of Factory Sound leads and cables come with a life time guarantee, and are as good as, if not better than, commercial cables in fancy packaging. We use them at the jams…

Vale

Peter Ryan, Guitarist with Breakout

Peter first started coming to the Jam Sessions way back when, at the Royal Standard and the Leinster Arms. He was an occasional visitor rather than a regular. I did not know him outside the sphere of his musical activities. We recorded in 2011 with Julie Stewart and Brae Grimes at the ABC Studios, and we saw him play with Breakout in 2016 at the Castlemaine Jazz Festival. As ever, Peter put on a bit of a show.

He had a strut and a swagger when playing, which he would then ruin by grinning impishly to show he didn’t take himself too seriously – indeed, he had a dry and cynical sense of humour. The last time he played at a jam session it was obvious his time with Breakout, or his retirement from teaching, or both, had enabled him to develop his guitar playing to a considerable degree.

After a short illness, Peter died last Wednesday, with his family at his bedside. He will be missed by the Jammers. We rather liked him. I think most people did.

And what of the Jazz Festival – ?

A Brief history and a new venue

We started planning the Castlemaine Jazz Festival in February 2013. After a false start in Maldon, it saw the light of day in June 2014, after John Hannah had got on board. I only mention this because that now looks like lightning quick progress. We first proposed a Jazz Festival in Kew in 2018. The idea was that this would provide an opportunity for some jammers to get involved, and it would attract Melbourne based bands, including those who would find the cost of the various country town Festivals as prohibitive. A trip to Wangaratta or Castlemaine costs around $400 by the time you stop drinking, eating, carousing etc.

The Junction Hotel. Our first fiasco was the idea of using three performance rooms in the Junction, hosting 24 -28 bands over two days. Heaps of careful planning went into this, only we forgot to factor in the Junk going broke in April 2018. At which point we approached Studley Park Boathouse, (great venue, no time available) and then Kew Junction Business Association (funded by Boroondarah Council with a mission to promote the High Street business district).. All we asked of them was that they supply the venues from their membership. We held positive discussions with both Hellenic Republic and QPO on High Street, only to have both venues propose a venue hire fee in addition to the free music and up to 500 people a day we would put in there.

Their room hire fee of $100 per musician for the Festival ($18,000) was either ludicrous, excessively greedy, unrealistic or a really good idea if you owned a venue and weren’t a musician. If we had that sort of money, we could have booked out Paris Cat and Birds Basement simultaneously.

Back to the drawing board… two hours later, the Captain came up with an alternative:

The “Other” Newport Jazz Festival. In the other Newport which is a little cultural hot spot just before you get to Williamstown.

So… the plan is:

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

The Venues Use 5, maybe 6 venues including the Newport Library/.Community Centre, The Newport Bowls Club, the Newport RSL, and the Scout Hall (maybe)

The Bands: Book 40 – 50 bands who are prepared to volunteer their services in return for an equal share of any surplus made.

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

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

Stay tuned to find out!

Another fine mess..

Strolled into the Post Hotel, watering hole of the alternative gentry, and apparently of the Aldi clientele from up the road, and whoever lives in Elwood, plus a whole load of randoms from other salubrious suburbs with their wives, children, surfing companions, chauffeurs and familiars….and that was just the audience.

Rose, who did not sing, and doesn’t dance on the table

Where was I? Ah, yes, the Jam session, and would I kindly write a review, subtly naming everyone who turned up so they get to read their names hidden in the depths of this twaddle like a jewel in the compost heap of life; and come again, the following week.

Pockotl and Rod who neither sang nor danced on the table

So, we started (this is the review bit) with a ten minute hiatus whilst Captain Chaos searched high and low for a chart to Mercy Mercy Mercy, didn’t find it and made the unsuspecting Jess sing it anyway, even though she had only heard it for the first time on her I-Phone three minutes earlier, and had three or four other well rehearsed songs ready to roll.

 

Sir Roger de Coverley, not to be outdone, got up and played a lively little set of I can’t remember which, Jeff clarinetted to Jess’s medley of Ella Fitz songs, and the Captain, Laurie and Alan variously played on a variety of saxophones, and chinese floots, to a variety of toons. It was with some relief that we got to Laurie’s C minor blues in one piece. He likes that stuff and it shows. Followed by a fine cameo from Rob, who last played guitar at, I think, the Leinster in about 1455 -1485, shortly before, during or after the wars of the roses. Or not, as the case may be… He hasn’t lost his touch.

Sir Roger De Coverley, the indefatigable Anton, and The Debonair Mr Curtis

What else? Drums ably handled by Steve Bray and Michael Findlay, Anton cruised in, and proceeded to play for the rest of the session, the lone but classy bassist. Marion struggled with the mic, then got it right and recordered away. Trevor harped on for a while, The Curtis accompanied various singers beautifully, Brian and then Carol sang some trainwrecks with gusto, Malcolm turned up late, to hear Peter Garram on the keys – (note to the organisers, the Garram plays a mean blues) – Then Huich fiddled a bit, Susie sang Black Coffee, after which, Malcolm got up to accompany Annie the Smith, with trumpeter Guy joining in, eventually joined by Kay for another dip, this time on Mercy Mercy Mercy. For some strange reason, this was executed for the second time in the session at a funereal pace.

Trevor the Harp

What a splendid afternoon’s mess: thoroughly not to be taken too seriously. Of which, Jess topped the lot of them with her version of Adele’s version of Billy Joel’s version of the Bob Dylan ballad To Make You Feel My Love. Wow!

Jam Session? Another fine mess indeed. Ya wouldn’t be dead for quids! See you soon.

 

The Next Jam Session

Yes, we are doing it all again, at the Post Hotel, corner of Inkerman and St Kilda Road, on Sunday 1st August, 4.00 start. The Captain (but not the chaos) and Malcolm will be away, there is another fine Jam Session in Castlemaine the same day, so whoever turns up at the Post will get the run of the joint – more tunes, more trainwrecks, etc. etc.

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

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!

imagesCA01JRXW

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…