The Jam Session: Up a Bit, Left a Bit

It has been a busy week…

Friday: publish the latest edition of the Jammer’s Email Newsletter. It gets 103 views on Friday, 290 for the week. Relies on avid readers having nothing better to do.

Saturday

For the sixth year in a row. The Box Hill Anglican Church Fete, starts around 10.15 with the often-played Variations on a Feedback. Settles down, Huich (violin) gets better and better, Steve Bray, the Captain and meself should know what we are doing, but do it anyway: Jess looks good, sings good, moves good and sets up a good rapport with the audience, which ranged from One Small Child (lost) and a dog, to an all classy bevy of sausage eaters, vicars, parishioners and the like, and a fan waving dance troupe in red. Topped it all off with a classy take on Peel Me A Grape

Sunday

Committee Meeting for the Newport Festival. Reports on Venues, Marketing, Finance – welcome back to Julian, the four month globetrotting absentee, just in time to start spending money. And lots of discussion on how to get the name of the Festival and website address we want

Ashley turns 60, invites some of the jammers, resulting Post Jam Session as classy as all get-out – coincidence surely, although we would like to see the ageing Ashley again some time.

Meanwhile, back at The Post, yet another change to the sound system, skilfully avoided by the Captain (at the Ash bash). Again, once it had settled down, this week’s layout worked half well, with a positively pleasing sound in the rear Courtyard. We started with everything but the singer too loud, turned everything down and were rewarded with the saxes (Alan and Laurie) playing beautifully, and at the right vol. Nice one!

Flamenco Dancers. Much to everyone’s surprise, only the one Flamenco dancer turned up (Natalie), turning a normal afternoon into an egregiously good one.

Singers: Jane, Carol, Yuko, Debster, Kevin, Chantelle, Silvana (walk in) Rachel Camarino and Nurul all sang. This is, apparently, what singers do.. If I had to pick one this week (I don’t) Carol gets stronger and stronger.

Drums: set up by Michael Findlay and Alan Richards, with a surprise visit from Sala (now from Castlemaine) and Chantelle finding out she doesn’t find latin rhythms that easy.

Bass: Ivan in absolutely top form, played all arvo. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou..

Guitar: Fermin comped and solo-ed all arvo. Filled the sound nicely.

Recorder: again, only one recorder player turned up – Marion the mention, as good as ever… and she is now on a promise to put a band up for the looming Festival.

Piano: The Debonair Curtis and meself took turns in tickling the ivories, at least, in John’s case, to great effect. Eventually the piano disgraced itself due to the bodged up stand failing, and we finished off on a table. We played an inordinate amount of latin because the Flamenco thing was such fun, but there was plenty of other stuff – Deb picked out a typical Deb-style obscure ballad, which turned out to be (a) different, and (b) fun to solo on.

Alan, Fermin, Ivan, Rachel, Sala, TW    Photograph by Michael Findlay

The Next Jam

It will be at The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday October 13th. Last week’s comment about a 3.30 start to allow time for fiddling with the sound system proved satisfyingly accurate, but was only meant as a joke. Next week we will start at 4.00 on the dot, promise, or the Captain will stand everyone a beer.

Wanted: around 25 thimbles. Must be waterproof, and clean

See ya there?

The Newport Jazz Fest – up a bit, left a bit more,

We are still scouting venues – on a “the more the merrier” basis, and are starting to talk seriously to bands (seriously? another first!)

Volunteers: We have had several people rash enough to volunteer their services. Frankly, the number of volunteers needed to run this sort of event can be staggering – at a rough count we are looking at between 24 and 48 volunteers (24 only if they all agree to do a shift both days)

That said, we are tremendously encouraged by the offers we have had to date – we will just need more of them!

For Heavens Sake!

For Heaven’s sake

Yet another PA setup to contend with – and this time not in a good way. Of the 25 or so people who commented on it, not one person liked it. The likely cause was a desire to see the Inkerman Room used a bit more -possibly because the Post Hotel is getting increasingly crowded on a Sunday afternoon. Sadly, this didn’t work, and in the meantime there was nowhere for anyone to sit other than propped at the bar.

The Inkerman Room at 5.30

All of which should have led to an appalling jam session. It didn’t…. in fact we listed 28 musos and singers as getting up and boogeying in spite of it all. And the bar stayed crowded all afternoon. Soundwise, this set up wasn’t great, but Col, Laurie and Jeff on saxophones rose above it, ably led by Mr Clark, who only got lost once and the rest of the time was great.

Ian Nicholson (guitar) played with Breakout. (Col, Malcolm, Stan and Steve) playing a Peter Ryan number in his honour.

Fermin (guitar) aced a solo or two, Vlad ditto,

Newcomers Liam and Chantelle took over drums from the aforementioned Steve Bray and Michael “snapper” Findlay. Alex towards the end. Liam struggled until he got the sound levels right, then fitted right in, Chantelle was impressive from the get-go.

Bass players were a fine lot – Dave for starters, Piers and Ivan (loved the Classical music gig all black outfit) in the middle, and Stan Van Hooft later on – Stan playing more fluently than he used to.

The band in this week’s layout: Adrian, Kay, Roger, Jeff, Dave No Nickname and Peter Garam out of view

Singers started well and got rowdier as the evening wore on – Yuko for starters had every body toe tapping to Beyond The Sea, Kay to follow, then Aimee, Kevin and Susie (“Black Coffee”) culminating in Gilbert (“My Way”) . And then they all got up for Route 66 – an inspired if slightly traditional choice by Kay. Guy (tpt) soloed, and we forgot to mention Marion. Oh, alright, nice recorder solos on a coupla toons. 

John (Alex’s dad) played us out with some nice half stride, and we all went home well sated. Except for the basket of chips. They were salted

My picks for the week: this ended up a very satisfying session – made all the better by the improvers – Dave (obviously), Kay who sang at her best for weeks, and Marion.

And Captain Chaos reckons Aimee sang the best she ever has. I would agree…

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman, next Sunday 29th September 4.00pm start. Should be fun – get there early and help move the PA around; order extra chips and we’ll help you eat them. Complain bitterly at the bar if the Budvar hasn’t been restocked.

The Newport Jazz Fest – incremental progress or bratwurst. You decide.

I recently looked up the reports on the early stages of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival. The first effort mentioned that we were going to shoot for 30 bands. Woohoo! A month later this had blown out to 40 bands. Rash promises. The festival opened with 58 bands.

With that in mind, our opening salvo of 40 bands seemed pretty reasonable, n’est ce pas?

Venues: We met with the Junction Hotel – big space (big enough for a big band and then some) and the beer garden at the back. Waiting to hear back from the lovely Fleur.

Then a coffee at Leroy’s Cafe – best location of the lot, should be great for a four piece, a coffee and a light lunch. Again, waiting for confirmation

Still waiting for confirmation on the Scout Hall – their motto? Be prepared. Except wen it comes to answering the phone.

The Date: Hold the Festival at Newport on May 2nd, May 3rd 2020: confirmed We haven’t changed this date for several weeks. Good grief!

The Bands: Book 40 – 50 bands who are prepared to volunteer their services in return for an equal share of any surplus made. Cynics may feel that making a loss would cut out a lot of paperwork, but we wouldn’t think like that, would we?

The Web Site Jess has just a few t’s to cross, then we will launch.

Jess: website guru by day, singer by inclination

The Logo: still not designed, for heaven’s sake. Should be here soon.

The Esteemed Editor: is back from swanning around Europe, Breakfast in Hamburg, if it is Thursday this must be Berlin and bratwurst , you get the drift.. Jetlagged, he is now swanning around in Point Lonsdale or something. We should have him back in the stocks any day now, and there is no point in apologising about all the e-mail addresses that haven’t been added to the list, because this is an arcane and editorial process to which the Extra 3B Copyboy is not privy.

No more tea for me, Mama – I’m going to fly my aeroplane.”

Q and A -some questions, new Festival Details, and few answers

Twenty Eight? Musos, that is, making this the second busiest Jam Session since 2008. Apart from Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Titch (60’s popster nerds get on down) who might have been there, Uncle Tom Cobley and all who weren’t there, and Kylie Minogue who could have been there but her people didn’t confirm, there was a record number of Japanese there, a record number of singers (10), a record number of baritone saxes (2) and even the lights were smokin’. And not a bad session, to boot…

And not a bad session, to boot

Singers: Jane, Carol and Kay early starters, with John Curtis on keys having way too much fun. Kay even forgot to sing One Note Samba as a swing tune, or some perfectly good Lennon McCartney classic as a bossa. And sounded all the better for it.

one note samba: the official chart

Jess (see the Other Newport below) sang a brief set of three, Yuko swung it, Aimee treated her friends to a complete re-ordering of the form on at least two songs, but with her trademark warm tone; Kev ducked into the Captain’s take on Besame Mucho, and Brian stuck resolutely to the blues – not that we minded, he sounded pretty good. As the arvo wore on, Gilbert got up (“I like to sing Sinatra songs”) and duly sang Sinatra songs including asking for a switch in keys in the middle of Fly Me To The Moon. I can honestly claim cock-up of the day on that one (“What, again?”) and Malcolm closed it all out by accompanying Brisbane singer Leena Salim on Girl From Ipanema, followed by Fever. And a good version of Moondance heavily obliterated by having too many soloists all at once. Probably having three singers (Susie joined Leena and Kay on that one) didn’t help either.. John got up for the epilogue. Sweet.

New Bari: Who’s a lucky boy? Jeff tried out his shiny new bari, and it has to said, we couldn’t keep him off it – but it sounded pretty damn good. Laurie probably a tad smoother on his used-to-be shiny silver Bari.

Bass lines: Piers grooved along, Dave stretched out on Brian’s blues, Eiji the pick on his stick, with Yuko and others, Anton funking it up (but gently) at the end.

Guitar: Fermin back for a hit out, all the way from the cultural backwater of Kew. Good to see him again.

Drums: Larry for starters, Steve, Alan all good, Alex back for a second hit, Michael Findlay in the groove.

Q and A Given the numbers, the Captain did well to get everyone (well almost everyone) up for a play or a yodel. Will the layout change next week? Why stop now?, although the sound was adjudged as a bit muddy by those that know. Are we approaching full house on the Jams? Can we cock it up enough to avert that crisis? Of course we can!

The Next Jam

The Post Hotel, corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman,this Sunday 15th September 4.00pm start. Do hope you can make it!