The Jammers’ Bit

Is the standard of jazz getting better…

One has to wonder.. usual start at 4.10pm sharp, which gave the Captain an extra nine minutes to fiddle with the foldback, and Toby time to connect newcomer Salvatore‘s violin rig to the PA system. The foldbacks worked at their best for about 3 minutes, then went steadily downhill with adjustment. Sal’s violin setup, on the other hand, worked remarkably well, particularly when Sal was connected to the other end of it.

So… no bass player for a while, but a lively start to the session, and a rummage through the Debster‘s bag of tricks before Peter Garram got up with Miss Kay, Carol sang her usual immaculate set, and Ivan turned up to supply the missing bass lines.

Laurie put up some clean toned sax, Roger had a dip on guitar, Alan saxed and Jane sang.

As the arvo wore on the pub filled up with the usual assortment of jammers, startlingly single women reading E-books by the window, families with mothers escaping the humdrum , precocious kids, locals, interstate tourists on a last drink before the airport, and the usual motley crew of ruffians, ratbags and the St Kilda glitterati. So polycultural a crew in fact that we hardly need pay attention to the jam.

But we did, and a splendidly raucous racket it was, Okto on his axe, saxophones wailing about far too loud, and the Captain having such a good time, he managed to revive Little Sunflower and we didn’t mind a bit. Probably helped that Malcolm, in an avuncular mood, was on top of it Play barely settled until well after 7.30, when the usual few jammers ordered meals and sympathy at the bar. As ever, Gilbert saw us out, and the Perri bossed the remnant crew about until sticks. He told us he was a professional, in case we forgot. We didn’t.

Which brings me back to where we started. Is the standard of jazz getting better? It seems to be at one of its periodical high points, from which no doubt it will soon relapse, but what the hell, we had fun, again, didn’t we?

See ya this Sunday?

The Jammers Bit

31 seems to be the new normal

Not that we would ever accuse anyone at a Jam Session of being normal, but for the second week in a row, there were 31 musicians at the Caelidh, all keen for a bit of a fling, and, by the end of the evening, all had been, hopefully, been accommodated. Well done Captain Chaos, although it was a close run thing… 12 singers was the feature of the arvo. Each sang three songs, suitably elongated to accommodate various soloists.

John Bell and Rose

Pick of the singers this week was a fine set from Jane, from Yuko, Kerry and Aimee, sweet afters from Rose, welcome back, patience from Kay, with the cheese and biscuits course supplied by Gilbert, and Susanna who you may remember from Leinster Arms days – or not as the case may be. Carol put up a confident set, and Tye surprised some of us (mainly me) by putting in a fine version of My Way. More to come from the lad…

Of the soloists, Alan, Jeff and Laurie saxed things up, and John Bell continues to glow brighter on trumpet by the week.

Laurie looking worried, Ivan and Malcolm

I am sure I have forgotten to mention somebody other than the drummers, and bass players, all of whom I have managed to ignore entirely because you can from time to time. Oh alright, here’s a pic of Chantelle with Pete on Bass, Malcolm on keys.

Chantelle on drums – welcome back!

We finished rather late due to having to fit in over 30 musicians – again. Pizza on the way home. It really is the new normal.

The Third Jam Session of 2020

Will be this Sunday, 2nd February at 4.00pm. At The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street. Lots to look forward to – John Curtis will be on keyboards starting shortly after breakfast and finishing in the middle of the night. I have been invited to the Castlemaine Jam, forward to which I am rather looking.

Plenty of parking around the Hotel (Bath Street is the go – it is off Inkerman behind the Post). Come to think of it, everything is off Inkerman, other than Inkerman itself. Or just waddle in with ya weapon of choice, get yer name on the list and whoops you’re in..

Enthusiasm essential, charts a bonus, performance anxiety optional, and competence to be well concealed as a kindness to others…

Update: The Newport Jazz Festival May 2nd and May 3rd, 2020

The Captain keeps posting more bands to the website wranglers – and we are now full of big bands which is a great headache to have.

The Two bands per musician malarkey: As a small Festival, we decided at the outset that we would limit all musicians to a maximum of two bands. This has a significant benefit for the playing programme as there are a lot less “clashes” to avoid. If you are still looking for a band to play with, why not give Col a call – the number is on the Contact tab of the website.

The Committee: Met this week, we now over 40 bands registered – and the Committee has been discussing ways of shooting the laggards should we be over subscribed.

Facebook/Whats App/Twitter: someone tell me how we do this. Please. Still waiting

Promo Cards: seemed like a few of you liked the idea of double sided cards. Going fast.We will get some more soon.

The Website Jess has given a much needed spruce up to the website with updated information and photos of at least some of the bands. We have also sorted out the Paypal situation though the handy expedient of disabling the option. Some payments have gone through on Paypal, and some will have been refunded.

Check out the website (updated) , like it on your Facebook page

Sunday Jazz at The Junktion Hotel: Well,that was a surprise….

I almost didn’t go. What the hell, rocked up anyway, as I had promised Mistress Smith that I would come for the last Featured Singer series of the year (see report below).

The jam sessions have been predictably unpredictable of late … this one featured some new faces (welcome Britta the bass), some returning faces (Jane, where ya been?), some startling improvers, (Dave No Nickname on bass), some returning Jammers (Kay Young de Darwin in fine form, great to see you again), rather more audience ordering ridiculously large meals and staying all afternoon… and some fine music making/mangling/take your pick.

Featured Singer (and wardrobe mistress)Mistress Annie Smith sang a fiendishly difficult set that put Gentleman John Curtis right in his comfort zone – standout was Take Five, which is the first time in living memory anyone has attempted a 5/4 tune (other than when the rest of us were playing in some other tempo…) Annie craftily avoided some of her more entertaining/less intellectual songs so we will have to ask her back to do another set…

Rhythm section of the week: Drummers win by a country mile: Bill Swannie, Salah and Alan Smith all good, Andre a late arrival but just as good too.

Soloists: Laurie played beautifully, and nailed it, Keith was his usual excellent self, and they both paired well with the Captain .

Singers included Jane with a top swing set, Brian Fly Me To The Moon, Stormy Monday, Angel Eyes and Kevinwas there but elected not to sing. Kay Young sang as well as ever, Ann Hayres arrived later, but hadn’t sung before I left, probably so I wouldn’t be able to take the mickey. She is always good.

It was entertaining stuff. The good Captain got so excited he forgot to call his customary five bar fours, or indeed create any chaos at all. So will anyone turn up next session?

Pre Christmas Bash: Sunday 16th December

This week… 16th December, with an earlier start time of 3.00pm. For those that want to, we suggest we stop for a meal at 6.00pm  or thereabouts. The food is good, and the portions are enormous.

Indications are, that despite the bigger turnout last week, even more people will be coming for the Bash. The skeleton staff at Bendigo Towers a rereasonably confident that the afternoon will prove to be a disaster,in the finest traditions of the Melbourne Jazz Jammers.

Look out for…

Jammers attempting to play jazz – that will never work, we all prefer the occasional train-wreck.  Audience members are advised to ignore this, talk loudly and preferably indulge in malicious gossip instead. We all have our strengths…

Complete bluddy strangers deciding to turn up for the first time and expecting to play most of the afternoon…. or complete bands doing the same (it has happened before…)  We will attempt to get everyone a spot. Dodgy Dave has been warned we might run a bit late.

Of course it is always possible that almost no-one will turn up at all, in which case we will have a marvellous time anyway…

The Bash has always been a chance for new, old, decrepit and lapsed jammers to get together and sneer at the current crop. As you love a bit of scurrilous gossip (who doesn’t?) this is a great opportunity to get on the bandwagon, meet old friends, possibly wish you hadn’t,and if so inclined, blow the tits off yer fave toon or three.

Be there!

Next Jam, this Sunday 16th December, 3.00pm start,

The Junktion Hotel, 99 High Street, South Kew – the Hotel is on the corner of Kew Junction. Public parking is available on Studley Park Road, or behind the Mercedes dealer/behind the High Street Shops off Fenton Street from High St, Kew.

Next week: a review of the Year that was. Reputations will be ruined, riots reviewed, repeat offenders identified, prizes awarded.