73rd Australian Jazz Convention: the last Hurrah

This is Australia’s longest running Jazz Festival, and comprises musicians and audience of equal enthusiasm, with a strong emphasis on Trad jazz, and a leavening of more contemporary bands. From 26th – 31st of December, there were a pleasing number of familiar faces from the Melbourne Jazz Jammers – Col, Steve Bray, Annie, Ponytail Pete, John Calamatta, Ashley Thompson, Brian Paulusz and Keith Hughes amongst them, and some alarmingly older musos, who all seemed to have fun.

Quite a few of the 241 listed musicians played in up to ten bands. Quite what this does to the standard of music is open to question, but the backbone of the Convention is musicians getting together, learning from each other, swapping yarns, and staying fit by running from one venue to another.

We managed to see Annie in action with Tim Nelson – Annie and the Latin Lovers. Intriguing selection of jazz standards, and middle European folk songs – in the cavernous George hotel back room – Annie with energy to burn, and an entertaining set. Marek Podstawek a standout .

Then back to see Barry Law pilot Indigo Jazz Band through a sweet set of standards, before the Katerina Myskova Quartet stepped up, but with singer Michelle Gigliotti as a replacement for La Myskova who had called in sick. Michelle hadn’t sung a full set for 22 years, neither Pete (bass) nor Bill (drums) had sighted any of her charts before we started, and both rose to the occasion, with Pete absolutely nailing Michelle’s selection of bluesy standards. Seemed to go down well.

Friday: back in Melbourne, in disgrace as we missed both of Col’s sets with Jaz Stutely in Cheap Frills. Saturday, another 5.30am start and printed/wrote out another ten charts for the lads. After catching a sweet set of standards from JAQ Plus, Janet Arndt singer, and Keith Hughes and Brian Paulusz amongst them, we played a second session (Michelle again). Cooler day, warmer audience, went well. Then listened to Shades of Blue – another fine set on the balcony, with Steve Bray on drums.

Next Year’s AJC.

This was the last hurrah for the (exhausted) committee. The Ballarat Jazz Club probably has the friendliest volunteers of any Festival, ably wrangled by Bobby Ballinger and others, – I caught up with the Ballinger lugging a step ladder around, which is the typical lot of any Committee member!

The AJC is , as I am advised, holding the next Convention in Albury,

All in all, a splendid Convention. Well done Ballarat!

https://www.2018jazzconvention.org.au/

Ballarat Jazz Club

What’s Afoot

Funny shaped bit on the end of your leg.. Otherwise, we are planning a meeting before the Jam Session to discuss plans for a future “mini-Festival” The early proposal is to use the Junk as a venue for 27 bands over a Saturday and Sunday. If you would be interested in volunteering or assisting, let the Captain know. More details to follow?

Wangaratta Jazz

Early reports indicate that the Wangaratta shenanigans went well, with performances at the Bulls Head featuring the sprightly Miss Smiff. As in previous years, the Sunday market was the peak event for the band of jammers who went up. This Sunday morning event should be a sideshow, but has always attracted a goodly crowd who are appreciative of the music.

Props to Huich (violin) at her first Wang bash – she impressed, as did another first timer, Andre, who dropped in for a fine stint on the drums.

Toodlepip!

TW

Halls Gap: The Chaos Files

A number of regular, part-time and past jammers attended the 3rd Halls Gap Jazz and Blues Festival last weekend. In favourable weather more than 100 bands assembled in the fantastic Grampians environment to perform before a good number of jazz devotees.

John Curtis, Annie Smith, Steve Bray and Doug Kuhn presented their highly entertaining Annie and the Bossa Boys. Jeff Harris was invited to play with a Blues Band (40 Thieves Blues Band) and wowed the audience with his performance. Mike Hirsh, Alan Richards, Keith Hughes, Tina Ayris,  Gillian Sealby,  David Lakeman and Brian Paulusz were also making great music over the weekend.

My personal high was to get to renew acquaintance and play with David Lole from Canberra who joined us two years ago when he spent a few months living in Melbourne.

CG

The Bali Fiasco (2) … to be averted

The Ade Ishs Trio will be jetting off to the Ubud Festival in Bali in August, as a reciprocal gesture representing the, umm Melbourne Jazz Jammers, as well as the Castlemaine Jammers and the Jazz Festival. The originally promised funding has fallen a little bit through, and there will be an opportunity for regular jammers, particularly those who saw the Astrid Sulaiman & Yuri Mahatma Jazz Quartet free session at the Junktion, to indulge in a little light fund raising to pay for Ade’s trio’s airfares and expenses in return.