The Gold Street Gossip Shop Goes Off.. again

After a couple of quiet weeks in the world famous (well, Gold Street anyway) Lizard Lounge, everyone and his dog decided to turn up last Sunday. 25 musicians makes this the second largest session we have had, all of them young, talented and good looking, with the possible exception of meself, the Captain, Noel, Celeste, Chelly, the Divine Miss Smith, Sonya, Mike, Kepler, Spike, Sebastien, Bishop Bennett, Doug, Bob, Ben, the other Ben, (but I forget which was which) Gentleman John Curtis, Ian, Jeremy Le Frog, Keef in a hat, Glen (Il Duce to those in the know), Ian, Mr T, George, Frank and Andrew Lye.

Special mention to those last two – Frank came to his first jam in about 23 years and despite being initially startled by the standard of musicianship, played with elegance and panache, like he had never been away. Andrew may be remembered as a stalwart of the Grand Hotel sessions, and one of the best to play with, since relocated to Brisvegas, but in town for a week or so: one of the three best things to come out of Queensland, the others being a 737 and the Pacific Highway southbound.

All in front of a good crowd of listeners, not all of whom were moved to the point of removing their hearing aids, and possibly including Hortense. If she was not there, which regular readers will know can be the case from time to time, I expect she was wistfully hanging about the Altona West Municipal Baths trying to catch the eye of a passing mercantile marine sailor whilst they were still dirty…

Al Papa Jazz

As we know Al Papa Jazz, aka Alan White, passed away last Thursday. He has not been forgotten as the large crowd assembled at the Fawkner Memorial Park in Sydney Road attested. He missed his birthday by a few days but his family ensured that all and sundry could farewell him in an appropriate manner. This was duly continued at the Leinster Arms where the taps ran free and surely Alan would have enjoyed himself immensely had he been there. I am told he would have especially enjoyed the free beer!

Once again Alan, this is for you, . . . and the girls Julie and Annie sang Summertime ably supported by Mike (drums), Kevin (guitar), Frank (bass) and John (piano).

We will miss you.

The Melbourne Jazz Jammers

Another fine Leinster Session, and some new faces in the mix….

(from 1st May)
Strolled into the Lizard Lounge on Sunday, about 15 minutes late,  to find the jam session in, well not quite full swing, but definitely on its familiar trajectory from the sublime to the ridiculous, stopping most stations in between. 18 musos and singers combined to make a busy afternoon of ballad mangling, blues bashing and bossa bungling, interspersed as ever, by Captain Chaos’ careful orchestration of … well, mayhem really.

Soloists: Props to the aforesaid CC, who had survived two nights at the Grand Hotel playing songs he really didn’t know to packed houses, and still had energy to burn at the Lunatic Soup Lounge. Frank played guitar all afternoon, there being three other bassists in the house. Stan Van something or other came to his first jam in about three decades, and has lost none of his touch, followed by Andrew and then Avi.   Bob,  then  Gentleman John Curtis (piano) provided the cerebral moments, Ali stepped up a notch or three on the silver sax, and Fred’s bongoes have clearly been very naughty, ’cause they got a right old smacking all afternoon. Peter Cole put in the briefest of appearances (did you play? I must have blinked an d missed it…). Dean and Il Duce Glen traded sticks and brushes. And the sublime Louis mellodicated like he had never been away.. great to see that beaming face again.

Singers:  newcomer Juliane (singer from Koln) was persuaded to a lively performance even though she had just come to check it all out. Hopefully, she will try it again. Anne Hayres, recently out of surgery got up and proved you can’t keep a good one down. Quite how she managed this with a metal brace in her mouth the size of a Torana LX gearbox, but not as neat a fit, is a mystery. That should have been triumph enough for one arvo, but then (gasp!) Lisbeth stepped up to the plate for The Old Country, followed by When Sunny Gets Blue, both of which she absolutely nailed. Great to see her singing again. Even Ali crooned a couple of numbers in there somewhere.

The afternoon wore on: Blast from the past Marion sauntered into the bar, and took over on piano – again she seems to have stepped up a notch. By the time I left, Richard was itching to kick it along, and he could still be there, pounding the smouldering remnants of an ageing stage piano.

An appreciative audience, and a standard of music that, at times was really quite something. We are working on that, and should have it back to normal by next week.

Where I shall hope to see you?

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 (, and some picked up the Melbourne Jazz jammers website (

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


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?

Bashing at the Lunatic Soup Lounge

Another big turn out for the Sunday bash at the Lunatic Soup Lounge. It is truly a revolving door of talent, and I sometimes wonder, as do many of us, where all these people come from -a brief  rundown could be helpful.. . Due to a lack of investigative reporting skills, however,  the following facts were gleaned exclusively from the mobile phone records of a hairdresser in Refinery Waters, Altona West, and neither I nor Madge are responsible for them, never knew about them, didn’t read the e-mails, and this is the humblest day of my life, etc. etc.

 Sunday Arvo’s Jammers:  a potted Who’s Who.

 Frank is the bass player. Has a habit of chopping off his own fingers, and has been known to play in the key of H.. Strangely, neither trait affects his playing much….

Captain Chaos (saxophone): proudly boasts a rat cunning index of about 11, due to his habit of always finding a tune he knows, and occasionally handing out charts in the wrong key. Has never dropped a bar or missed a beat in his life, and we’ve got Col’s word for that.

Danielo the drummer: works for Fiat, so we know he is not an auto-electrican.

Tom the drummer, Not to be confused with the other Tom the drummer, as he is confused enough already.

Keef: (Saxophone) Recently shaved off the facial fungus, and is now unrecognisable.Not that he was ever that recognisable anyway. To be known as Kojak in future…

Rob “Inky fingers” McCue, esteemed editor and occasional pianist of the scottish persuasion. Got roaring drunk on Hogmanay and has never been the same  since. And we’re talking about 1973…

Don: (guitar) moonlights as lead guitarist in a hip hop calypso outfit. Never hangs out with less than three band groupies. Or not, who knows. He has never denied it, mainly because I have never asked him. So it could be true. Might own a salami factory.

Kay: Singer. Spent years in the Northern Territory trying to turn handbags into crocodiles, then saw the light and has been warbling by numbers ever since.

Trevor: blues harp, hat and a wide, wide  grin.. They say you can’t really dig the blues until you have experienced real hardship in your life. After listening to Trevor, we can all dig it that little bit more.. just kiddin’ Trev…

Julie; singer. ripped through Route 66, and a couple of  dubious ripostes. And I will stop right there… 

Noriyo: piano player.  Turns out arrigato is not a pasta salad after all. My mistake.

Bob: another bluddy piano player. Has never been featured on A Current Affair.  Yet.

Fred: bongoes. Fred is 22, but has done a  helluva lot of naughty things with his bongos. Or he is not 22 and the bongoes are blameless. You decide.

Ali (saxophone) Came from Indonesia, or the Phillippines or somewhere else. No boats were involved.

James: the drummer: Like many drummers, James is an intellectual, with a serious approach to his craft, and a real dedication to technical excellence. Then he starts hitting things. .

Last but not leased: Louis the Fly: Mellodica. Which he sucks and blows in about equal proportions. Very popular with the ladies.

 A stellar lineup, which made for a fine afternoon’s entertainment.

See yez at the next jam…TW