Yippee! The Jam Session Update

The sheer bloody relief of having a sound system that works, and works well – after weeks of struggling to find enough positives in the sessions to outweigh the negatives… I got to the Post at around 3.45, having already been there in the morning for the sound set up. Well, it was a niceish sort of day, not much else to do, might as well drop in for the usual social lubricant, bit of a chat, that sort of thing…

The Captain looked somewhat ill at ease – turns out this was because he didn’t need to change a thing and already had 10 bucks on the outcome.

Started quiet as usual – couple of drummers (Alan Richards and Michael Findlay, Hussein and John Perri) and not too many bass players. That didn’t last long – we had Lisette for the opening stanza, Jess and Jane up for some vocals – and the whole damn shebang… at last… started to sound pretty good.

John Perri and Ivan

Photo by Michael Findlay

The regulars fronted – Jane, Yuko, Annie, Gilbert, on the tonsils, Alan , Laurie and Jeff joining Capt. Chaos on the saxophollicles (although Jeff switched to floot and played up a beauty), Fermin and Yemow on guitar, and relative newcomer John Bell on trumpet/flugelhorn.

Highlights of the day included:

  • Having a good time
  • Lisette Payet on keyboard
  • Great singing from seven different singers – I think Yuko shaded Susie for most improved, but they were all good.
  • John Bell (trumpet) starting to hit his straps.
  • A saxophone section kept busy all afternoon
  • The pub jumping, with a lot of family groups enjoying the music, and a packed sunny courtyard
  • Having more of a good time
  • Devon too busy in the kitchen to get out and sing
  • The bar staff clearly enjoying the music
  • Vlad winning a prize for most colourful jacket

25 musos on the day, all good – ya wouldn’t be dead fer quids!

Vlad and the famous coat…
John the trumpet, Jeff and Yuko

It’s getting rather busy…

…And we are rapidly approaching a point where we will run the risk of being over-subscribed. This last week, we had 4 pianists, 4 saxophonists, 6 drummers, 4 bass players, 2 guitarists, and 9 singers – a total of 29 musos for the Captain to fit in. We barely managed, so if you are one of the lucky ones who got to play more than three times, make sure that everyone else gets a go before you get up again.

Egregiously uncharacteristic appearances:

Trevor Prasad,(keyboard) for one. He contented himself with the thought that the piano was inaudible, but what we could hear of it was pretty much on the money.

Fermin: great solos again, otherwise contributed to the muddy sound with gusto.

Chantelle: newcomer, sang some standards, powerful voice and tuneful.

Bill Swannie: (drums) first time at the Post, Bill has played a number of gigs with Katerina in the past and remains as smooth as. And it is his Birthday.

John Perri: maintains he has barely touched the drums for months, but is a dream to play with. Possibly the only drummer to suggest 12/8 time and mean it.

Jane and Jeff

Jane: sang early: and entertained. Stayed late and should have sung again. Jeff Harris in the background.

Summary: The Captain resorted to putting up six or seven musos at a time as a means of getting everyone in. The Captain Chaos Knackeredom Index was up several points by the time we finished and packed up. This was a busy session, and ran well late. There was lots of good stuff going on. Word from the audience was generally highly complementary. Hortense and Madge from Altona were both speechless, but only because they were not there. Again!

See Ya Sunday?

Marketing 1.01

Did you notice the Sandwich Board outside, and the update on the Post Hotel website? Have you seen the ads on Melband? Have you given one of the MJJ cards to your best friend, vague acquaintance or complete bluddy stranger? Have you tried googling Melbourne+ Jazz+ Jam Session, and marvelled at how high up the first page we come?

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 6th October, 4.00pm start. Should be fun – get there early and help move the PA around (again!); order something exotic off the menu, get your instrument out and start playing it loudly whilst we are doing a soundcheck – God, we love that!

 Jam Session at the Maurocco Bar, Castlemaine.

This Sunday 6th October, usual time, the Bar is right opposite the Railway Station. Vice versa is also true. John Hannah reports that Mauro has invested in a new sound system. Nick it and bring it back…

Serious Jazz? Tits to that! (*)

Jam sessions in Melbourne come and go – we have lost count of how many have blossomed, flourished, faded and carked it. There should be a hotly contested prize for the serious session with the shortest life span… not that the Post would be hoisting the trophy, for at least two reasons.

The most likely explanation of the longevity of the Jam Sessions is that we have not yet got it right, do not know how to get it right, and have very little clue as to how to get it wrong, but keep trying.. Creative incompetence, BoJo (**) style, perhaps?

This week’s jam at St Kilda’s Post and Part Time Furniture Store (have you seen upstairs?) was, it could be said, on a downward trajectory – smaller than previous weeks, and musically a bit loose.

So… what, as the Curate (***) said, were the parts of it that were excellent?

The sound: just about as good as it gets. Captain Chaos has taking to adjusting the twiddly bits on the mixer, with, admittedly, disappointing results. In his heyday, the pub would have been burnt to the ground by now.

The fully engaged audience of punters, kids, hopefuls and lunatics. Most of whom, sensibly, huddle on the far side of the bar, although, to be fair, the Captain reckons that is the “sweet spot” sound wise.

The singers (fewer this week) who tend to get in the way of an extended saxophone/flute/clarinet solo from time to time. Accidentally of course, but much to the relief of the considerable number of friends they bring with them. The soloists generally arrive early and on their own. You may draw your own conclusions.

The big wind up at the end. Although not, perhaps, as good as the previous two weeks: Mustang Sally robustly and comprehensively explored. Are we going to keep the all-in smorgasbord finale of recent weeks going? We should, at least until we either cock it up, forget to do it, or accidentally play Little Sunflower (****) instead.

Mustang Sally : L-R Col,Alan, Vlad, Singer, Kay, Piers, Annie, (Malcolm) Michael, Octo
  • * “Serious Jazz? Tits to that” … a quote from one of the 322 ads we have put in Melband. We are not allowed to say that any more. Apparently “serious jazz” offends some people.
  • ** Obscure but on point reference to Boris.
  • *** The Curate’s Egg, as featured in Punch Magazine, November 9, 1895 . “Parts of it were excellent”. But of course, you knew that…
  • **** “ accidentally play Little Sunflower” : fondly remembered as the longest and dullest tune in the repertoire, this once went for an appalling 11 minutes at the Leinster. Several audience members had woken up by the time it finished.

Awards Night. Don’t be silly, there isn’t one, but if there was…

Best Violin; Huich – great solos.

Best Guitar: Octo – a bit of shredding going on, but in a tasteful way. Neil, Vlad and the Queenslander all needed more volume at times..

Best Saxophonist: Go on, sulk, the rest of you – Will was easily the best this week. Alan, Jeff, Col all placed well, and Calamatta had a hot solo in there somewhere.

Best Pianist: Malcolm managed to keep the vol at a sensible level, chose his organ sounds sparingly and appropriately, subtly drove the others to greater heights on Mustang Sally. And packed up afterwards – what’s not to like?

Best Bass: Pete and Slawie were their usual excellent selves, but it was great to see Piers back – clean bass lines, absolutely rock solid tempo.

Best Singer: This one was easy: there is no such thing as a best singer, they are all good, and if you don’t want your eyes scratched out, you will keep it that way.

So… 24 musos rocked up, mucked around a bit, and walked back out into the rain well chuffed. Not the greatest Jam Session ever, but a solid afternoon’s work all round. Train wreck next week, please, we have to maintain our usual standard (often referred to as “abysmal”).

See you Sunday?

Will and the Captain
The Andrews Sisters, possibly

Next Jam Session will be on Sunday 18th August, starting at 4.00pm

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street, St Kilda

You can park on St Kilda Road (Sunday, no restrictions). Public parking is available on Bath Street, just past the Hotel on Inkerman Street. Or catch a tram if they are running, or take a helicopter, land elsewhere and get an Uber. Or walk. Or take the bus, but fer gawdsake bring it back. Or come the next week instead.