Well, That Was Kind of Comfortable

Audience confused, of course, but the regular jammers set down for a regular jam, playing around with some fairly standard songs, with predictable results. Like a pair of old slippers, it was all decidedly comfortable – saxophonists (there were three) leading the charge in a born to rule kind of way, pianists (two remarkably good ones dropped in on the regulars (Curtis, the Don, and meself), and Findlay whacking away at the drums to the point of exhaustion, whereupon Il Duce took pity and spelled him for a bit. Matt Berg took over later on, played beautifully.

As has been the case in recent weeks, Bass players were a bit thin on the ground, with Ponytail Pete and Colonel T shouldering the load. Fermin, Brian and later on Chico all slotted in some nice guitar work.

It is afternoons like this that give you time for a yarn with a few old friends, the occasional social lubricant, and some light banter with a slightly manic Colonel T of the Fourth Punjab Light Horse (retd), who took it upon himself to direct proceedings from time to time. The results were predictable, although perhaps the rendition of Black Nile was a bit special, as it was spectacularly shredded, demolished and stomped into the carpet. Musicians who were there will know what I mean, and the funeral will be announced once the pieces have been gathered up and bagged.

The late Miss Smith turned up at her usual hour, and lifted the mood considerably – still basking in plaudits from her Friday night session. And Ponytail Pete got booked for his first session at the Royal Standard Hotel this week, so at least some of us are progressing well.

Kind, comfortable, what more could you want. Don’t answer that Hortense…

Melbourne Jazz Jammers – a bunch of musos getting together to play random toons. Sometimes we all play the same tune at the same time. Doesn’t make much difference.

Second opinions will be sought at The Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood, Sunday 4th March 2017, at 4.00pm.

All Bashed Up…

A spiffin’ little light luncheon followed by no less than 40 musicians getting in on the act – making this the busiest jam session since the mid 19th century Balkan Wars, or possibly even before that., I wouldn’t know.

How sensible of Il Duce to arrange some nice weather so we could sit outside, gossip over an occasional social lubricant, and completely ignore the annual Bash going on inside. And there was plenty to ignore – 40 musicians got in on the act,

Due to the usual misunderstanding, about 39 of them appeared to be behaving quite inappropriately by playing music that could be misconstrued as jazz, if you weren’t paying attention and had more pressing matters on your mind. Splendid!

Highlights included Annie Smith handing out silly hats, wearing one herself and behaving decorously, as she always does…

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and the Captain in fine form – he managed to ring the changes so smoothly all afternoon. And the rest of us just had fun. Hopefully…

It is hard to sum up the Bash – certainly the biggest so far, and musically one of the best yet – but the music isn’t only what it is all about. Perhaps it is worth considering that there were at least seven people there who attended the original Dizzy’s Friday night sessions 22 years ago – The Princess of Cool and Keeper of the List, Rod, Bette the stateless one, Mike H the world’s quietest drummer, Gentleman John C, Col T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse (retd) and meself.

The First Jam Session of 2017

We are planning to start up again on January 15th 2017…. by tradition, nobody turns up for the first session, so about five of us get together and have a ball. Feel free to rock up and ruin it for us…. or make it even better.


Jam Session goes off at the Colliwobble Chop House and Basement di Bossa

It is always best not to think, but if you did, you might wonder why we can never assume that many people, some of them musicians, some delusional, most both, and the rest in search of social lubricant and light but essentially malicious gossip, will turn up on any given Sunday.

The Vicar’s sermon must have run to a few extra pages at Matins, because we started with very few in the Gossip Shop, and it stayed that way for quite a while. Then, as can happen, they started pouring through the door, all deserving of extra playing time and getting it – until we could, as is now habitual, entice Glen (Il Duce to those in the know) from behind the bar to tell us to turn it down. In anglo saxon.

So . . . Continue reading →

Jam Session: A reflection on the state of play

A surprisingly louche little jam session this one. I say surprisingly because I have no idea what louche means.

It was good to catch up with Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse, back from the mountains of Spain, and to listen to the delicate strains of the Lunatic Soup Lounge Pit Orchestra and Choral Ensemble as they wafted their way through a variety of mid twentieth century disasters, rendered barely unrecognisable by the occasional foray into the sequence of notes that their composers had intended.

Captain Chaos marshalled the troops, sent them up several wrong turns and came out smiling. Grant (saxaphobe) rather wiped the floor. The Divine Miss Smith was in fine form (Grade 4, where she spent the best three years of her life). A succession of rock drummers, Il Duce, Bruce and Spike took turns in subverting the paradigm, Chrissy Manetta sang, the Keef was there, Sam Izzo, Gentleman John Curtis and Don played piano, Ben Stewart guitared I think, Doug Haircut Kuhn carried the bass a la stick for much of the arvo, and a whole bunch of others joined in from time to time.

All in front of an audience that was the most part, sensibly sticking to the chips, and alternately lightly bemused and lightly medicated.

See ya next week?

No Jam session at the Gold Street Gossip Shop and Tea rooms

All quiet on the western front…

…On account of we will all be going to Castlemaine Jazz Festival (Mark 2) this weekend.

Had a call from Glen (Il Duce to those in the know) this week. Apparently the Leinster Arms is not closing down, and he has to keep working until the fines are paid off. Which could take years, hopefully.


Some other things you may not have heard about Glen

He does not own shares in a hairbrush manufacturing company. We can’t imagine why.

Drummer extraordinary… Glen maintains he has played drums with some of the finest rock and roll groups in the country in his youth. Which we are inclined to doubt, as

(a) He doesn’t own a karaoke machine

(b) In his youth? Was rock and roll invented then?

Glen’s first session with the Jazz Jammers was on an electronic drum kit. He may have forgotten this, but we have not.

The Leinster Arms has won a lot of Awards, as one of Melbourne’s finest watering holes. But not since 2010

The Jammers started the Jam sessions at the Leinster Arms in 2010

If you do turn up at the Leinster Arms in a fit of absent mindedness (and let’s face it, that covers most of us), there may be live music this Sunday.

It’s Not Cricket…by George

Wangaratta Wanderers were playing an away game this week, so,    in the notable absence of the Curtis and the Captain amongst others,  plenty of not very much in prospect for the Sunday Arvo Lunatic Soup Kitchen gathering of the B Team. Which, as it has in the past, resulted in rather a lot of  musicians and singers turning up.  Late.  It was left to young Roger Clark to take up the cudgels and beat a coupla fine toons to a pulp. At which he is somewhat adroit. A moderately chaotic afternoon of ballad mangling ensued, with Glen (Il Duce to those in the know)
Il Duce
and Sebastien alternately belting the crap out of the drums, Bob and meself on piano, Ben the Crook on guitar followed by Cardinal Kevin, Ann Craig doing her floot thing as good as ever, Paul, Peter, Ali, and the aforementioned Clark on sax, Ivan on double bass, Chelly, Celeste    and the Debster in fine form on tonsils, two blow ins getting up to dance, Thomas the tap, Elliott and Cardinal Pell whooping it up  later on, and even the Captain wandering in for a late start following his early dismissal from Wang .

Debut performances: Only one of the two Georges who fronted to play bass was from Iceland. Both were, although initially hesitant, pretty damn good.

Train Wrecks: Peter was simply magnificent – and wins this week’s One Sheet Missing Award. Various solosist essayed the second sheet ex tempore, and in some cases pretty much nailed it. The one    sheet missing manoeuvre is a classy piece of play, and right up    there with the one sheet upside down opening gambit, almost as good    as the three sheets in one key, two sheets in another trick. Although all three have been tried many times in the past, one never tires of the sheer musical chaos that each can bring, nor ceases to  wonder at the total inability of the great unwashed to discern an    difference in the performance. Or is that a reflection on the general standard of play?

Play of the Day: Give him the right number, and Sebastien  can play a pretty mean set of drums. Nice one.

All in all, a satisfyingly diverse afternoon of music, which means that probably no-one at all will turn up next week, and the Captain will be able to sit quietly in the bar, appreciating the silence, contemplating the meaning of life, and ruminating over a cooling draught or two.

Or not, as the case may be.

See ya there?

The Sunday Arvo Jam Session:

Uncle Glens’ Gossip Shop was in fine form last week – only Il Duce had re-arranged the set up, to keep the doorway clear. Apart from the singers voice emanating from speakers nowhere near the singer, and the band being cunningly arranged so that they couldn’t communicate, it was a bit of a debacle as furniture moving goes… although it didn’t stop around 20 musos (and Thomas the Tap) having a ball. We somehow ended up playing until 8.00pm. Almost breakfast time for some of us.

Hortense, if she was there, was in a different spot, and would have decided to turn up on a whim . Madge from Altona rarely does that these days, as every time she has done it in the past, the wheels have fallen off the whim. They just don’t make ’em like they used to.