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 at the Junk: Gossip, Jazz,

The Jam Session: We foregathered so early that the Junk wasn’t even open, convened a meeting on a nearby park bench… kicked around a few ideas for a proposed jazz party that will hopefully come to fruition some time in the New Year. Not saying which New Year as we haven’t got that far.

The set up was much aided by Debbie, directed by the Captain, a few cables plugged in by meself,  Fermin set up the guitars and amps, and Russell re-assembled the drum kit, although he subsequently averred it wasn’t up to (his) standards.

A pleasant and diverse afternoon of ballad mangling ensued, with contributions from Salah then Bill Swannie on drums, a welcome return from PT Pete on bass after his Uni exams, songs from Jane, Debbie amongst others, Neil and Fermin on guitars, the Captain opened the batting for the saxophone brigade, followed by the immaculate tones of Cardinal Calamatta, and we may have persuaded Julian (floot and abacus) to join the putative Committee. Hopefully he won’t be too busy to play floot. Huich on violin. Volker back on sax.

Singer du jour was Michelle Gigliotti, in a tight set, accompanied by Kip Dale on electric bass, Bill on drums, and meself tickling the ivories. She sang a second set with Malcolm struggling with some of my dodgiest charts – my excuse is that I never used charts on any gig with Michelle anyway… and we knocked out 80 or so in years past.

Pony Tail Pete back on bass

Rod and Bette de Singapore dropped in, as you do, POCKOTL was there, and there were a pleasing number of locals in the audience. More musos than last week, and more fun too…

Featured Singers this Sunday 25th November

This next one is going to be a bit special, as Debbie and Ashley de Wang will be singing some duets – swing tunes in the main. I have heard some of their material and this should prove a real crowd pleaser

Next jam, this Sunday 25th November, 4.00pm start,

TheJunktion Hotel, 99 High Street, South Kew – the Hotel is on thecorner of Kew Junction. Public parking is available on Studley ParkRoad, or behind the Mercedes dealer/behind the High Street Shops offFenton Street from High St, Kew.

Castlemaine Jazz Festival

https://www.castlemainejazzfestival.com.au/

The website has, at last, plenty of information on the bands playing and the venues. It all happens this weekend, and whether you are thinking of going for the full four days, or just dipping in to see the highlights, including Nubya Garcia, who has already sold out her MIJF dates (the Age, Tuesday 5th June), it is about time to saddle up the nag and head North. Continue reading →

From The Leinster

Dateline Collingwood: 4.3.18

Last Sunday the Jazz Jam at the Leinster arms Hotel reached a new nadir, a point where the bottom of the barrel had been scraped so much that the bottom was gone and the tunnel to China is now complete. No one is to blame but not much can be said about it other thank goodness it is over. The sound of a cat being strangled somehow has much more appeal now. Continue reading →

AGM for Castlemaine Jazz Festival

This is coming up in a week’s time: Saturday 2nd September at 11am in the Chewton Community & Senior Citizens’ Centre, Main Road Chewton

If you are a member of the Association, you should have received a proxy form to fill in. The good Captain will be attending, naturally, and the Melbourne Jammers’ interests will be best served by giving him your proxy . If you cannot attend, please fill in the form and return it to him

Castlemaine this weekend

It must be with a sense of relief that the Committee can finally sit back, relax and then panic all weekend at long last. The Fourth Annual Jazz Festival de Castlemaine kicks off on Friday evening, and keeps going all weekend. Eighty or Ninety bands, eight venues (or is it nine?), Vocals Masterclasses, a jazz parade, a supper club – there is more than enough to keep the most jaded jazzophile occupied.

And if you run out of ideas, I suggest you indulge in some vigorous warm-up calisthenics as the Big C is going to be cold as a witches t*t.

There will be bands from Queensland (stomperoo) and from Tasmania (Nadira F) and just about everywhere in between.

You can purchase a ticket (cash or card) on the day from the Ray Bradfield Room (it should be well signed), and there is a range of ticket choices: all day, evening, all weekend etc. etc. Children under 12 get in free, (children under 3 can get in for $250)

Hope to see you there!

Festival for beginners: start here…

Meanwhile, back at the big C, preparations proceed apace for the Fourth Annual Castlemaine Jazz Festival, President Carpenter dodging the bullets; and indeed for the 49th edition of the Castlemaine Jam Session, Judge Turnbull presiding. It all goes off like a frog in a sock over the first (jam) and second (jazz) weekend in June.

This year’s Festival takes another lurch to the left, with new venues (Anglican Church, Theatre Royal and Maurocco Bar), big band karaoke, and a couple of master classes for aspiring singers with featured chanteuse Hetty Kate, followed by an evening of dancing at the supper club. Rumour has it that several tickets have been sold, and around 350 musicians will be descending on the ‘burg all weekend to make up the numbers.

Should be fun…