Castlemaine this weekend

It must be with a sense of relief that the Committee can finally sit back, relax and then panic all weekend at long last. The Fourth Annual Jazz Festival de Castlemaine kicks off on Friday evening, and keeps going all weekend. Eighty or Ninety bands, eight venues (or is it nine?), Vocals Masterclasses, a jazz parade, a supper club – there is more than enough to keep the most jaded jazzophile occupied.

And if you run out of ideas, I suggest you indulge in some vigorous warm-up calisthenics as the Big C is going to be cold as a witches t*t.

There will be bands from Queensland (stomperoo) and from Tasmania (Nadira F) and just about everywhere in between.

You can purchase a ticket (cash or card) on the day from the Ray Bradfield Room (it should be well signed), and there is a range of ticket choices: all day, evening, all weekend etc. etc. Children under 12 get in free, (children under 3 can get in for $250)

Hope to see you there!

The Leinster Jam: One last Hit Out

Wandered into the Gold Street Gossip Shop, to find very little going on. After a suitable period of sitting around the Lunatic Lounge doing nothing, we got up and got started. Many thanks to guitarist Ben for calling Wave, and expecting the piano to play the head, comp the rhythm and throw in the bass line for good measure.

At least things could only get better. They didn’t, and we lurched, staggered, dribbled and fell over any number of jazz standards – 22 desperates in search of the lost chord.

A coupla highlights: Vlad (guitar and purple hat) got a spot at the Royal Standard this week – with Joys’ Castlemaine band; and Banjo Joe, played some neat banjo finger pickin’ style, and then sang in an outrageous falsetto – apart from my just enjoying it, there was the additional amusement of seeing some of the more traditional folks choking on their beer. More please!

Phil contributed a lively set on keys – Dinah, Lulu’s Back in Town, and I think Bill Evans’ Waltz for Debby. for reasons that had escaped me by the time they finished. The six saxes were noisy in a good natured way, and the drummmers were, as ever, immaculately well behaved.

This week’s Jam will be run by pianist and singer Peter Garam. As ever when the more pretentious musos are away, the B team will step up and have a ball.

If you can’t make Castlemaine, the Leinster is a pretty good substitute.

Toodlepip!
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

Last Sunday at the Arms

With winter approaching, 22 musicians sought out the warm environment of the Leinster Arms last Sunday to escape the oncoming chill and to make music.

The melting pot of musicians included Laurie, Tony, Colin, Keith and Peter on Saxophones. (It is written that too much sax is never enough.) Marion added a much needed different lead sound on jazz recorders and Keith chimed in at times on the clarinet. Vocals were provided by Annie, Kay, Kevin and Brian. Ivan and Peter took over the bass from Tariq who continued on guitar with Fermin and Lewis. Sam played some tasty keys in the early part of the jam and was followed by more tasty keys from John and Peter G. Rhythm was provided by Michael, Glen, Andre and Andrew. Three listeners threatened  to come back with their instruments next time. They must have thought we were having fun.

Tony was on a quick visit from Thailand, Kay Young finished up her visit from Darwin and Andrew Howard just happened to drop in from Canberra.

Highlight was a set conducted by Tony and Paul (The Chicken, Chitlins Con Carne and Body and Soul) ably backed by John, Andre and Ivan and one of the guitarists. It was also the lowlight because it was just a tad too loud.

Our thoughts go out to Ted who is in hospital with some mysterious affliction.

Please note      No Jam Next Sunday

Not your usual Correspondent
CC

Jamming at the L: A Touch of Class, or something

Upon reflection, probably something. Another fine arvo of cocking up all the good bits, and enjoying the dross. This was a remarkably busy session – mainly because we had five bass players ( Colonel T, Ivan, Matthew, Chris and Pony Tail Pete) and only three saxophones .(Captain Chaos, Luis, and Peter Cole). Continue reading

It’s that time of Year.. The Gossip Shoppe goes Autumnal

Autumn, it would seem, is somewhat late this year, but upon us nevertheless. As I ambled through the doors of the Gold Street Gossip Shoppe at the unusual hour of 4 o’clock last Sunday, there was the palest glow of feeble sunshine, the first chill breeze of the season, and stuff all going on inside.

A quiet session seemed in prospect, starting with pianist/drummer Gentleman John Curtis as gentlemanly as ever, and the McCue de Bendigo getting better and better on the ivories. It took a while for the joint to fill, but fill it did, and by the time 24 musicians had turned up, tuned up and joined in, it would be fair to say that this was one of the busier sessions. And not a little musical from time to time, although the habit of playing real jazz on a Sunday afternoon sets a dangerous precedent and is to be discouraged…

There were plenty of good moments in between the occasional debacle. Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse (retd) absent mindedly played bass rather well. Fortunately such an experienced old hand will not let that put him off his game, and he will surely be back to stomping on the ground so hard the floor shakes in no time. No time being the operative phrase. Anyhoo, he got things moving along rather nicely. Possibly because there was also a very good bass player, Matthew Birtchnell, who started rather hesitantly, and by the time Katerina got up and ripped the joint apart with Summertime and All of Me, was absolutely flying. More please.

Lewis, the guitarist for whom 1000 notes is never enough, was back, and in great form, Ben “Twang” Stewart produced some fine solos, and Luis (soprano saxophone) played some ace bossa.

Brian, Kev, Vlad and Kay all sang: Brian’s Ab chart for That Old Black Magic a ripper, Kay as entertaining as ever, Kev making it look easy, and the rhythm section playing Killing Me Softly in totally the wrong key for Vlad.

Michelle, Bill and Andre drummed, Julian flooted and presiding over it all was a benevolent Captain Sensible. Who, in a spirit of consistency, decided not to call fours, and therefore failed to produce his customary 5 bar magic. Stolen Moments was fun, although pianist Kay stole the show on that one.

So… a really enjoyable afternoon of ballad mangling, and by the time Landlord Glen produced the party pies, I think everyone was well mellowed.

Autumn is a good time of year…

And we will do it all again, especially the debacle bits … at The Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood, Sunday 2nd April 2017, at 4.00pm.
TW

Captain Sensible Sharpens the Quill…

With several regulars at the Inverloch Jazz Festival it was a slow to start to the day. Geoff was first up on the keyboard followed by Noel who was road testing his new ear plugs. Taariq left the bass to take over the keys for quite a while and did a great job until Don and Kay arrived to continue his good work. This allowed him to Continue reading

Getting Your Wordsworth on…

I wandered, lonely as a cloud (if clouds can actually feel lonely, which I would doubt), into the darkened inner recesses of the ancient and mouldering pile otherwise known as the Gold Street Gossip Shop and Bicycle Repair Emporium, and spotted, not a crowd or host of golden daffodils as such, but a coupla dills hanging about getting ready to mash up a few standards. As you do on a Sunday arvo when you have plenty better to do, but not much inclination to do it…

There followed a remarkably pleasant afternoon with nineteen musos swapping licks, hardly a trainwreck in sight, and a few highlights to be mentioned…

Newcomer Luis played some damn good soprano saxophone, which is the first time in living memory that anyone has made that instrument sound good (it normally makes the bagpipes sound good instead). Hope he will be back. Buen trabajo!

Ponytail Pete played even better than he did on Friday night (report below). Chico and Fermin swapped guitar stints.

Colonel T forgot to hammer any numbers into the ground, and in between whiles kept us amused (“there is a 1 in 88 chance of that piano player hitting the right note…”)

Kay the pick of the piano players, although the Fraser was just as good. Peter, Richard and meself made up the numbers. And the percussion crowd (Michael, Bill and Matt) generally hit things to good effect, before newcomer Andre got up and gave a bit of a drum class of his own.

Keef played some nice stuff – even forgot to play over the singers (Kev, Brian and the irrepressible Debster) for a while.

Eventually, we ran out of time to fit everyone in for a second bite at the cherry … over all of which Captain Sensible presided with his usual equanimity.

You are cordially invited to take part in the next friendly debacle … at The Leinster Arms, Gold Street Collingwood, Sunday 12th March 2017, at 4.00pm.

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…