Moonlighting at The Maurocco

Ah, a meeting of like minded, or feeble minded, I’m not sure which, Melbourne moonlighters at the Maurocco Bar. A cold afternoon’s jaunt up the Calder. It was a packed house, (around 100 people there, maybe more) and some fine music played. The monthly Jam in Castlemaine seems to have settled to a great afternoon’s entertainment. Hard to believe that Mauro (landlord) resisted it for so long. Hard to believe the jam once sank to just six people in the original Comma bar.

Miss Smiff, Mr Hirsh, Ade, and Alan Richards all started moonlighting before I did. Greeted by Gwynn at the door, Hannah at the helm, and a wet afternoon in the Big C. Queuing for drinks, a fine collection of secondhand armchairs fully loaded, so a standing arvo and a chance to catch up with some Castlemaine stalwarts, Norm Gray on flugel, Don de Halls Gap and Christian on bass, Valiant and Maggie on keys, and the pick of them, (if you had to pick, which you didn’t) Howard on guitar.

I have been trying to find a suitable time to get up to Castlemaine for the jam session there – thanks to the Captain and Malcolm for arranging it – a fun afternoon and a credit to Hannah, Ken Turnbull, Gwynn et al for a fine session.

Hannah at the Mic                                                                          Sax and Norm on Trombone                                
Don on Bass

Castlemaine done and dusted

The Fourth Annual Castlemaine Jazz Bash went off without a hitch. Several people commented on the generally higher standard of music this year, and at least two of us thought that the Criterion Hotel was the pick of the venues. Certainly heard some good music there.

This year’s Committee had its moments, and by the time the Festival opened there were only four or five of the original 12 members still standing. In the circumstances, a fine effort.

It was great to see the quirky Run Rabbit Run back and packed, the Church hosted some fine music, and the Old Castlemaine Gaol was pumping all weekend. I must confess I ran out of time and didn’t get to Faulder Watson or the Cumberland; and the policy of consolidating the performance spaces rather than using more outlying venues seems to have been well received.

Hetty Kate’s master classes were well attended and the Dinner Dance on Sunday night sold out. Phew!

And the bands? Loved the Jazzsisters, Tim Nelson Band got better and better, Nadira Farid was a smash, Stomperoo was fun, and on a personal note, it was gratifying to see Katerina Myskova and Joys Njambi both play to full houses.

Lots of Jammers played, or volunteered or both. A fun weekend.

Castlemaine Jazz Jam

It was a veritable cornucopia — or should it be hornucopia — of movin’ and groovin’ at the Castlemaine Jazz Jam last Sunday. The movin’ bit involved going up the street to a new venue: the marvellous Maurocco Bar across from the railway station. (That’s not a typo, you mistake-spotting readers of The Age. The owner’s name is Mauro.) The groovin’ bit involved 24 jam makers preserving the juice of jazz, with nothing to jar the senses.

About 40 jazz fans kept numerous couches and armchairs warm, and bar staff did their damnedest to cool things down with liberal libations. Individual seats were as tightly held as Kooyong during the Menzies years. We welcomed some new faces who were all experienced hands. Adding them to the mix with our stalwart brigade necessitated a hastily concocted spreadsheet that approached king size.

Demonstrating that Central Victoria gets its name from, well, being at the centre of Victoria, we had jamsters from Bendigo, Dingee (we don’t know where it is either), Castlemaine, Newstead, Maldon, Harcourt, Lancefield and Macedon. Melbourne was well represented by a delegation of five.

They all bopped some swing, swung some standards, innovated some bossa, jumped some blues and romanticised some ballads. To sum up, it was great.

We’ll do the same but different on Sunday 2 April at 2pm.

Ken Turnbull

Robbie Noakes took the photos…

Castlemaine Jazz Festival 2017

June 9th – June 12th 2017

Bands: By the time you read this, Band registrations will have closed, although I dare say you can plead your case with Captain Chaos, who is wrangling the musos.

There will be around 60 bands registered – which means that the musician reimbursement should be better than last year, provided all sixty bands persuade all their relatives to buy tickets.

Venues: The Committee has confirmed 7 venues, with a much greater concentration about the middle of town – should increase the “buzz” around the place. The Criterion is back after two years, the Anglican Church and the Theatre Royal are new, and the Cumberland, Gaol and Faulder Watson Hall are continuing. I heard a dynamic set from Ruby Rogers at the FWH last year and loved it. The Gaol and Mess Hall would be my favourite two venues even if it is a bit of a hike, and both Amy Jaulin and Sevil Sabah sang really good sets at the Cri in year 1, so fond memories of that one too.

And there is word of a dinner dance on Sunday night for the locals.

As ever, the Committee is finding organising a Festival no easy task, and a few boxes still need to be ticked, but things are shaping up for an exciting weekend.

Musicians: Melbourne representative and Musician Co-ordinator Captain Chaos can answer any queries you may have on 0422 568 537. Col Garrett has the same number, so he may answer the phone…

Castlemaine Jazz Jam

Yep, definitely moving to the Maurocco Bar (opposite the Train Station) this Sunday 5th March for the 46th Castlemaine Jam Session.

And a new start time of 2.00pm. The first session should be a beauty. So if you feel like a toot up the Calder, get ya skates on and join the locals. Or catch the train, get trashy all arvo and don’t worry about PC Plod and his party balloons on the way back.



Sarah’s Chunky

Home-made marmalade is nice, but a
community-made jazz jam is even nicer.

Join us for the final Castlemaine Jazz Jam of 2016
It all happens this Sunday 4 December at 3.30pm 
in the Cumberland Hotel, Barker Street
All welcome to sing, play or relax and listen in a friendly atmosphere
Performers please bring chord charts
And there could be a couple of spot prizes involving home-made marmalade!!