Jam Session: Brilliant solos, flawless performances

But that was somewhere else. The chill days of winter are upon us, and the same log in the Leinster fireplace as last year is burning cheerfully. Given the gloomy old day, the Chopper Read Ballroom took a while to warm up. Curtis, Happysnaps Findlay, Noel, the Captain, Neil the G and meself opened the batting and it went downhill from there. Continue reading

Jam Session: All Chips and nonsense

Spiffin ‘litttle Jam Session last Sunday. New toons, old favourites, and a birthday party to follow. Madge from Altona, doyenne of the wind-blown west, may have been there; and her good friend Hortense was back, with a vengeance, a handbag and a lifetime of regret, in the nether regions of the back bar, or not as the case may be. The Birthday party? After a busy jam, Kay rashly had the birthday at 7.00pm whereupon they all retired to the Atrium for exaggerated compliments and a frisson of jazz. Continue reading

What’s on, Friday

The Royal Standard Hotel: Possibly the best session we have had to date. And that is from October 2016 if anyone is interested. Susy sang better and better, the Captain insisted on playing Bernie’s Tune, and Neil (guitar) seemed to enjoy having a solid rhythm section. Not a huge turnout but an appreciative crowd.

Donna and Steve Bray are featured this week, with Ivan, meself and the Captain dodging the brickbats. All rehearsals have been error free so far, so I am looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.

Donna sings, Steve drums, with the Captain Chaos Quartet, The Royal Standard Hotel, 333 William St, 7.00pm to 9.30pm, Friday 14th July 2017

Jam Session goes well

But we are working on it. This was a medium to heavy session, with a large group of musicians from WA, none of whom got up and played. Possibly didn’t realise we were playing music.

Jeff, sax, gets better and better, Will is starting to sound a lot more fluent, and the rest of us (Peter G, Cathy, Kay and meself on piano, Michael F on drums, Ponytail Pete running hot for a while, Ivan doing abnormal things to an otherwise innocent latin rhythm, Taariq on everything else and Neil (guitar) the pick of them. There were six saxophones there, all put in the shade by Murray’s miniature trumpet. Nice one.

Personal highlight of the arvo was a very nervous Manal getting up and singing with a band for the first time – props to Kevin for guiding her through it, and hopefully she will be back for more.

See ya Sunday?
TW

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

On Council Largesse, and why employing musicians is a bad idea…

One of the special joys of inner city living is lying in bed listening to the rumble and clatter of the garbos at about 6 o’clock in the morning.

The other one is getting the rates notice. It is about at this point that you realise you are not just lying in bed listening to the rumble and clatter of the garbos at about 6 o’clock in the morning – you are also paying for it.

And you may console yourself, humble jazz musician, with the thought that at least Councils are major employers of musicians – Stonnington, Yarra, COPP and others all have programmes of jazz, generally free.

We recently carried out a Feasibility Study for an all-day Jazz event in Melbourne. Great site, good location, lots of pluses. We did a survey of live music prices, and similar offerings elsewhere. We looked at higher priced bands as well as a volunteer/low cost model. Whichever way we cooked the books, the proposal would not, could not, stack up.

And the reason? All those “free” concerts, jazz in the park etc. etc., mean that no commercial operator will go near a jazz festival – unless there is a substantial grant of public money. And so we have the edifying spectacle of professional musicians bemoaning the lack of opportunity, whilst complaining about their lack of earnings, and trousering the Council pay that ensures there can be no other commercial opportunities.

Council largesse could kill the music scene.
TW

Sevil Sabah & The Webb St. Band

Sevil returns to Castlemaine. She has been one of the outstanding singers of the previous Festivals, and this year brings a new band, covering the songs of Bill Withers, Erika Baydu Jill Scott and others, maybe a couple of Jazz standards.

Soul and Jazz – a great combination.

Sevil Sabah Vocals
Joel Lukes Bass
Tom Doublier Drums
Billy Mathieson Keys

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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

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

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…

http://2017.castlemainejazzfestival.com.au/

Hush!

In light of the buzz around the joint the previous week, it was only reasonable to expect things to be a little quieter – and in that expectation, those of us who wandered into the Gold Street sheltered workshop at 4pm on the dot were not disappointed.

The afternoon would evidently start with three pianists and a saxophone… Izzo, Curtis, and meself, debating as to who should stuff the first stanza by playing drums. We opted for Curtis – Continue reading