Jam Session 1.01: start here…

Winter already. Time to burn the furniture, and race to the back bar of the Ludicrous Arms. Some may claim to have been lost, others would have walked into the Leinster under their own steam. Whatever, another pleasantly diversionary jam session was in prospect, with about six saxophones to one of anything else.

As it should be… Yet again, the assembled incognoscenti failed to recognise the full Garrett protocol, which, as an opening gambit, leaves little to be desired, and even less to speculate upon. The good Captain, dispensing with such dreary conventions as following the form, conducted a lively rampage through Morning, or at least parts of it, before L Savage tackled Yesterdays, beating it also to a satisfying pulp. Noel confounded the Captain by playing well in tune; and Paul, Gentleman JC and the troops threatened real music for a while, before descending to the level to which the rest of us aspire.

Several peeps, Chaos one of them, remarked on the lack of competent singers. Others remarked upon the lack of competent anything, and were it not for the fact that we were all having a good time, one might have been tempted to call the whole enterprise something of a schemozzle.

I must own up to staying until less than stumps, pleading exhaustion and a surfeit of pills. A fun afternoon, nothing got broken and nobody died.

And the band played on – ’til well past the hour.
TW

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…

Meanwhile, back at the Royal Standard Hotel…

Miss Joys will be singing this Friday, with Kip Dale on bass, Michelle Morrison on drums and meself on drugs. As we haven’t played together for quite a while (Ms Njambi keeps jetting off for lush gigs in Bali or something) , this should prove an interesting evening, as a pre cursor to the Festival.

Toodlepip!

Joys Njambi, Royal Standard Hotel, 333 William Street, Friday 26th May, from 7.00pm.

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Open Mic at Basco Brunswick Fridays

Open Mic with the Melbourne Music Performers returns to Brunswick on Friday 19 May and then monthly thereafter. This is in addition to our monthly events in Eltham.

We have a big programme with several open mic spots, open jams and an invited artist.
The Open Mic spots are for vocalists or instrumentalists: you can choose to be backed by some or all of the house band (please bring your charts) or back yourself. Open Mic spots are available for booking from 7:30pm.
Or, join in one of the jams – we publish the list of jam songs and charts ahead of time so that you can practise before you arrive. And, if you’ve never played in a jam before, we’ll help to make it an enjoyable experience for you.
Or, come along and join in the fun as the audience – it’s a very friendly, party atmosphere and there’s usually dancing. We have many regular audience members.
Friday, May 19, 2017, 7:30pm to 11:45pm
Basco Brunswick
307 Sydney Rd
Brunswick
More info:
Kevin Blazé & Ann Craig

The Jam Sessions: What to expect…

Quite why anyone in their right mind would want to attend a jam session remains a mystery. One day someone sensible will turn up and all will be revealed. No Hortense, that is not what I meant at all…

So supposing you read the ad in Melband, or google “Melbourne jam session”, or take the advice of someone who really doesn’t like you, or get lost on your way to the Municipal Bottle dump in the hope of a windfall, just what could you expect when you stumble through the green door?

Well, musical tragedies, the most appalling racket, and disharmony for a start. And that is just the saxophones warming up in the back room. Despite all this furtive practising, they still manage to come out and play the head approximately three poofteenths of a semitone flat, before launching into a solo which sounds like it is based on the chords for Epistrophy in 5/4 time, but probably isn’t, before playing over the singer, presuming to play the head one last time and then repeating it to make sure no one else gets a go.

But why just bag the saxaphones when there are richer pickings in the Back Bar?

Drummers... We all like the extended drum solos in between every number, and the slap and rattle jockies rarely let us down. The appalling racket ensures that no one can hear what song, key or tempo the singer or soloist might be calling for, and that gives us at least three excuses for getting it wrong.

Bass players: there are two types of bass player who come to the jam: Taariq in his bebop mode, and everyone else. ‘Nuff said.

Guitarists. Few people know that the guitar is a direct descendant of the mid fourteenth century left handed lute. This is because it isn’t true. Or is it? Whatever, we can only be amazed at how the guitarist can play a melodic line, comp a million chords and put in the bass line all at once, without ever interfering with the tempo and rhythm being set by the bass and drums.

Singers: these fall into three categories: singers who are so inexperienced that they know no better, singers who are so experienced that they should know better, and singers who used to know better, but have forgotten. The Divine Miss Smith falls into all three categories.

Captain Chaos: He maintains he carefully orchestrates the musician changes so that everyone gets a fair turn; and he never gets the least bit irritated when anyone just presumes they can get up and barge in because they feel like it. Or wants to play just one more tune, or doesn’t want to get up because they are waiting for a more accomplished line-up.

The Pianists: Anyone who has read this far will be wondering about the pianists. Most of them are good looking, modest, talented to a fault, and generously hold the whole thing together. The other one is still malingering in Hospital, lazy sod…

Freda Trout is writing the newsletter this week. Gawd help us.
TW

The Jam Sessions: what we actually got…

Last day of the month of April saw the appearance of seven drummers at the Sunday jam. For a while there was only Sam on keys, Fermin on Guitar and a rotation of drummers: newcomer Russell followed by Michael, Dan and a very smart younger slap and rattle artiste whose name eludes us.

Sam tickled the low keys to play a cool bass line until Taariq arrived to take on bass duties. Noel (tenor and flute) Luis (Soprano) and I added the heads on Saxophones and Kevin warbled some words.

And then… disaster looms!

Sam and Fermin were scheduled to leave at 5.30 so it looked as if the only rhythm would be provided by drums and guitar for the rest of the night.

Disaster averted. ‘Twas a Close Run Thing!

Just as they were about to leave in strolled Peter Garam (keys and vocals), Kay (keys) and Peter Ryan (guitar). They were soon followed by Ivan (Bass) Omar(bass) Bill (drums) Michelle (drums) Annie (vocals), Peter Cole (Tenor), Laurie (yet another Tenor) and another newcomer on melodica, who could have been a distant relative of the young drummer, so we didn’t get his name either.. Glen also had a stint on the Drums.

Numbers varied from an “unusual” version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, through a very cool Black Coffee to a very loud Tenor Madness.

By the knackered end of it, a pretty good session all round.

Not your usual correspondent
CCTW

Katerina Myskova and Her Quartet

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Katerina is back for her second Castlemaine Jazz Festival. Originally from Prague, she is now based in Melbourne, and, with her regular quartet, will be presenting her favourite latin and swing standards.

Katerina Myskova Jazz Vocalist
Ivan Sultanoff Double Bass
Ted Woollan Piano
Ben Stewart Guitar
Chelsea Allen Drums

http://www.katerinamyskova.com/music

Joys Njambi Quartet

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Jazz, soul, and blues, delivered by a consummate performer. Joys is a Melbourne based singer, with a passion and background in Gospel/motown and Soul music, now exploring the jazz genres, with her regular quartet.

Joys Njambi Vocals
Michelle Morrison Drums
Ted Woollan piano
Kip Dale bass
Ben Stewart Guitar

http://www.joyssoulmusic.com/