Sunday at the Leinster

The jam session started with Mihoko on bass, John on keys, Noel on tenor and flute, Lee on trumpet and Don on drums and keys. Stayed like that for a while until we were joined by Chiko (guitar) and Charlton (bass guitar), Alex (drums), Debbie (vocals), Bob, John and Gerald (keys). Later still, half of Black Pearl (Chrisie and Bruce) arrived to put in a final warm up before their Dizzys gig on Tuesday. Newcomers, Elise and Emma, vocalised a number each and will hopefully return to continue their development into to the world of jazz. All in all, quite an enjoyable 4 hours spent on yet another cold and wet Sunday afternoon.

Not your usual correspondent

25 Jammers New and Old

The last Session of the Year was the longest I can remember, with over 25 Jammers new and old wandering in throughout the day and rocking the joint for a mere eight hours.

Glen (Il Duce to those in the know) went all out with a great set-up (he even put in foldbacks fergawdsake), opened up the Atrium and the Beer Garden to the street, and got blessed with a really fine day (the Gods must be tone deaf)   After a fine light luncheon (nobody died) around 25 musicians swapped and chopped all day long, ably mustered by Captain Chaos hisself, who did, it must be said, look a little stuffed by the end.

The singers – Anne Smith, Anne Hayres, Sonia Davoine, Melinda Traves and Sevil Sabah , Marita and Lehma, amongst others, really turned it on. Doug Haircut Kuhn drove that stick bass all day long, Matthias, The Hirsh,  Sebastien, and others rattled the skins, The Captain, Jason, Keef, Peter, Dennis, Kepler, Marion, and I can’t remember who else soloed, Ben and Ray Hood (the original Lounge Lizard) on guitars, Blonde Bob, Gentleman John Curtis and meself, amongst others, tickled the plastics, and there too was the invisible trombonist, Jack Morris.

A great end to a fine year of Jam Sessions – there were four people there who, to the best of my knowledge, have been going to the Jams for over 23 years. And still can’t get it right. Makes you wonder..

We will be back on 18th January.

Hortense and Madge from Altona send their regards.

Toodle Pip!

The Leinster Bar… well, we stuffed that up didn’t we?

After last week’s gallimaufrey of bass players, this week it was the piano players turn:

Ade Ish, Larry from Townsville, Rory Clark, Sam Izzo, Gentleman John Curtis (welcome back, were ya been!), the Venerable Bob and meself all got a short turn eventually. The Ageing Roue played an inordinate amount of might fine sax, and the Captain played a subordinate amount of mighty fine sax, as did Noel. Ben and Chic provided some neat guitar work, hardly anyone sang (well, Kevin smoothed things out for a while), young tyros Tom and Mike played drums and trombone,  Doug Haircut Kuhn nearly got trampled in the rush, Sebastien rattled between good and not so, and Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse  provided a relieving role on bass.

So, why did we stuff it up? Such was the seemingly endless procession of hot jazz that a few of the less experienced jammers missed out or left early – with that much talent in the room, getting up to play after them would be an unnerving experience.

The essence of the jams is to get everyone involved as much as possible, even if this does mean that the standard of music becomes a bit, err, variable. So if you missed out, please come back and if Coltrane walks in and takes over, we will toss him out in your favour, on the grounds that (a) he needs to join in not take over, (b) he probably won’t come back next week as he is too busy reissuing dodgy compilation CD’s,  (c) he is dead and (d) we would rather you played anyway. Or any way, as long as it is fun.

Or not as the case may be…

Props to Peter Cole for getting this, waiting for his opportunity,  and blowing up a storm, to Sam Izzo who got the briefest of sessions and still got drowned out by the soloists,  and most particularly to Colonel T for his patience before finally getting up on bass and swinging. Unheard of, call a doctor. Or a vet. Or a mechanic. I give up, what does he run on?

We will try to do better next time –

TW

The Sunday Arvo Jam Session: Getting to first Bass

Spiffin’ little jam session, The Captain on the poop deck, and several familiar hands swingin, from the yard arms – Ben, Keef, Rear Admirable Curtis, and others.. Celeste and her sister leading the massed choir of tonsil artistes, Sam Izzo, Elliott and Ruiz turned up, Ali did his saxophone thing, Bob and meself having the occasional foray on keys, Uncle Kevin and Ann the floot turning up later, as they are won’t to do, Danilo, Dean, James and Sebastian on drums.

And then there was Sebastian mark 2, blues piano player – hope he comes again, sang and played a great little set: and a neat little stint from John Martin, purveyor of fine Wertheims to the landed gentry, on drums.

Marg (Princess of Cool, Keeper of the List) turned up and turned 193, or 47 or something in between.

David Ruiz complained bitterly that he had not had a mention in the previous newsletter. We all know what that means…

This week, he was at his finest on trumpet. We have never heard him play better, and I can honestly say he didn’t play a bum note all afternoon. We asked several members of the audience if they had ever heard a trumpet played quite like David does before – they all said no, although one subsequently suggested a label on the trumpet marked “trumpet” could help clear up a deal of uncertainty.

Or not, as the case may be…. actually he sang rather well, having left the trumpet at home.
Trumpet imagesCAZADD2S

Getting to first Bass? We didn’t. Not one of the lugubrious society of Basso Profundi, all afternoon. Society is to blame.

TW

Oh, the Haggis, the Haggis. (1)..

Hamish McScrooge (2) has only recently taken up residence in Altona West.  Hamish now runs a haggis shop that simmers beneath the glowering towers of the Altona West refineries, not a stone’s throw from Refinery Terrace. Hamish knows this is not a stone’s thow, as the basaltic shrapnel with which Marge habitually farewells departing merchant seamen occasionally falls short and lands in his haggis pot instead.. That such detritus makes little difference to the culinary qualities of his haggis speaks volumes for the limited dollop of gristle, a pinch of bones and  a light dusting of old barley that constitutes his version of  this Scottish delicacy.  And when I say speaks volumes, it is just as well, for others have been rendered speechless by its mercifully unique flavour. Which brings me, neatly you will agree, to the Sunday Arvo Jam session. 

The key ingredients of a jam session have traditionally been limited competence, with a pinch  of enthusiasm, and a light dusting of musicianship to hold it all together. Sort of.  At last Sunday’s egregious (3) jam each and every combination turned out some great music, and there were, truly, no duds amongst them. So props to Adam on bass, Chelly, Kay and Deb singing, Keef, Lee and another trumpeter whose name I do not remember, Ben on guitar, Bob at the piano, Louis the fly, Tom, Jack and all the others too humorous to mention. And to Captain Chaos for another afternoon of misplaced musical direction, which nearly half of the participants had the good sense to ignore., whilst the rest  were just confused. No matter, it all turned out fine…. 

Would that Hamish McScrooge’s haggis was as good.
TW

 

What’s On at the Grand?

Last Friday, Carol Whitfield’s considerable army of friends turned out to hear her sing, and a fine night was had by all. Brian (bass) survived his Grand Hotel debut, Tom on bass and Keef on sax – with a sit-in from Ray “Lounge” Hood to boot. A busy night. Saturday and the Curtis Crew provided (I am told) some fine backing for the ever smooth Miss Kay. The evening may have ended with the entire band tap dancing on the piano lid (4)..  

This Friday is European Jazz night, with Vincenzo and Danilo leading the Mafia Band, and Koln’s finest export, singer Juliane Pasternak will be trying to keep everything in order. Should be a great night. 

On Saturday, Ashley (Wangaratta’s finest export) will be singing, with Kay Young on backing vocals, Simon Atkinson (drums) Bruce Packard (bass) and meself on the piano (or under it if they try the tap dancing stunt again).    

Obscure References:
(1)  A misquote from Apocalypse Now, itself a misquote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which was probably lifted from Shakespeare’s King Lear anyway.

(2)  Hamish McScrooge: Hamish, you may recall, is the founder of the West Lothian Blues Society, which only held one meeting where they all got roaring drunk, due to a misspelling on the invite.

(3)  Egregious: look it up. I do not mean to imply that the Jammers are a flock of sheep., although you do wonder sometimes…

(4)  This might not be true..
TW

Blimey, I nearly missed it.

It has been dark and cold in Refinery Terrace, Altona West, of late. Madge has, it would seem, taken to roaming the streets of Nether Colliwobble, with an eye for the main chance. It has been a while, and we all know what that means… Enough to strike fear into the souls of the most artery-hardened denizens of that industrial wasteland, who have, in terror quite possibly, taken to the Gold Street Gossip shop in increasing numbers of late, prepared to withstand the aural assaults of the Sunday Arvo jam in preference to the blood curdling screams of a slow runner, caught out late with Madge about.

They have started liking the jazz in the front bar. Good grief!

Now, where was I, ah yes, the jam session. Nothing out of the ordinary really, just the biggest line-up yet (31 musos, and I refuse to name the guilty) and an ever higher standard of musicianship. Poor old Captain Chaos looked, well, stuffed by the end of it, and so he should be – cattle prodding that line-up is hard work. Mr T no better, having played bass without a break for nearly 4 hours by the time I left.

Who done what…

So, a few mentions, just because. Chelly got up and nailed it convincingly, as did Lisbeth – the cruise ship contingent (clari and trom) blew us all away, Bob played Satin Doll as only Bob can, with Melinda trying to keep up, props to Bruce C from Sydney for turning up after his night at the Grand, and a welcome to Adrian from the Elwood RSL Blues jam, sadly no more (the jam, not Adrian).  Six drummers, six saxes, five singers and everyone you could think of turned up except….  

The Invisible Man:

I dare not mention Jack of course, who is never there, not even slightly, or so he tells me. I would not care to argue the point with a man wielding 14’6” of brass piping. 

Train Wrecks

Yup, mangled a few, for old time’s sake.
TW

I don’t like it Carruthers, it’s too quiet . . .

Well not at the Leinster this Sunday, watering hole of the loose footed, medicated, confused and/or indigent, where 21 musos and singers fair lifted the roof from 4.00pm ’til gawd knows when. The Captain was in absentia, but we all agreed that, given the chaos that enlivened proceedings throughout, he was at least there in spirit… The place was fairly heaving from the start…

POCKOTL “We’ve created a monster, and now there isn’t a seat to park your arse”. I promised not to repeat that, so I will only write it once…

The afternoon started with Frank working up a sweat trying to keep up with Xavier, sublime on piano, Bruce Constable on drums, Ken from Maldon on guitar and Jack the lad on the big T, playing some easy blues, and then  mellowed out with Debbie, accompanied by Bob, both  in fine form,  followed by Michelle and then Melinda on tonsil duties, and both of them bopping up a storm. Next up were all three of the the Xavier junior division, on piano, (classy), guitar (very classy) and, good grief, flute (first flute we have had in a while). Classier still.

Ali and Peter provided saxaphone duties, and Avi took over from the decidedly defatigable Frank, who only played for about two hours before sinking exhausted into a bowl of chips out the back (or something like that).  Sam (I think) managed to sneek past the radar but turned out to be a pretty damn competent bass player, even if we threw him a Country and Western tune for starters. He did look a little confused… Bruce and Danilo traded duties on drums, with Fred demanding more latin from time to time. Danilo announced he is leaving for Brazil on Thursday, and will be back next Tuesday. I am not sure what you can do in Brazil in ten minutes… Glen took over and absolutely nailed the bossa. All good in the splat blat and rattle department.

So: an afternoon of firsts:

First time we have played without charts, because I forgot to bring any, and so did Frank. We survived on whatever we could cadge from the memory and/or the singers.

First time we have had jammers from Shepparton, Bendigo and Maldon. Seems some of them picked up the Melband ads (http://www.ausband.com.au), and some picked up the Melbourne Jazz jammers website (http://melbournejazzjammers.com)

First time we have had people queuing at the door to get in.

Biggest audience, by quite a margin, since the Ramage days.

First time, the public bar has clapped. Good grief!

By my reckoning (dodgy, admittedly) the highest standard of music, consistently, across the whole session, since the Leinster started to go downhill (I think we have been there about 2 years)
So, what next? Well, obviously, next week should be a total debacle, always assuming anyone turns up, and if you have booked root canal dentistry, tickets for the Warrandyte Pot Tossers Annual Dinner Dance and Swap Meet, or perhaps a colonoscopy., that would clearly be more entertaining. Anyone with a modicum of common sense is strongly advised to not turn up. Although, now I think of it, that isn’t going to cut out too many jammers at all.
Ya wouldn’t be dead for quids

Ted

Gossip From Around the Traps:

PA system: Uncle Glen has a new one, and it works mighty fine except when Uncle Glen is making adjustments, which is, on a good day, only about 97% of the time… Just kidding, but it really has made a difference to the sound quality and clarity in the room. Now we can all  hear who is out of tune….

Drum Stuff: Suddenly there is a whole new bunch of bashers and brushers coming along – mainly Tom, Danilo, James, and Fred (percussion) For months all we have had has been the irrepressible Al Papa Jazz, who may not come from a different era, but often comes from a different time… But I digress: we have even had drum and bass extended choruses these last few weeks. Tom and Danilo have both played sessions at the Grand Hotel. It is entirely thanks to the drummers that we no longer have to listen to the kind of rubbish that the rest of us come up with – they have thoughtfully drowned it out…

Saxophonic delights: Captain Chaos goes from strength to strength these days, generally without buying a ticket.  His predilection for changed tempos and plain awkward toons led to a somewhat disjointed start to the Sunday arvo session. Things gradually improved, Frank and Mr T swapping guitar and bass duties, Sir Roger de Coverley (ageing roue from Richmond, and noted sot if you count lemonade) only prepared to play if I promised not to say anything about his close relative R Clark, which I wont of course. Anyway, the rest of us resisted the urge to play Four in 5/4 time, and a good time was had by all.

Pianissimo: We’ll include Shawn in this one, although he also mellodicated on occasion, whilst  Noriyo, Bob and meself all surreptitiously turned up the volume and/or rolled our eyes at the indiscretions of the front line…

Singers: it’s not just a sowing machine: Such of the drumbashers as were present (James and Fred) then combined for a lively chorus of Nature Boy in a key that only a mother could love, and singer Kay, back from two weeks of ******** in the top end wrapped her tonsils around several numbers, to the general delight of the crowd who had by then variously fallen asleep, run out of gossip and resorted to making it up, got confused and left, or were lying prostrate amongst the instrument cases sniffing wine off the carpets… or not as the case may be.

Ain’t life Grand! Well it is on Fridays and Saturdays. Singers Kay  Forever and Ann Smiff have crooned smooth sessions at the Grand Hotel recently , and last week was the turn of Miss Julie Stewart with a slightly funkier bluesier set. Upcoming sessions will feature Kay/Noriyo (Friday)and Amy Jaulin (Saturday) Quite who gets up after that is yet to be determined… but if anyone is prepared to ply Uncle Colin or Miss Kay with honeyed words and cases of fine liquor, I am sure they can be included on the list….

Such fun really – see yez at a jam session soon?
TW