Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe

Which neatly sums up the quiet little Jam Session that took place last Sunday. Plenty of opportunity to gyre and gimble, and none missed. A smaller bunch of jammers than usual (17) concocted a variety of tempo, and tones. And then had them altered at random.

All of which made for the usual gossip-mongering over a refreshing social lubricant, munchies from Glen, and the early departure of several rather good musos.

And the orchestra played on… Continue reading →

Jam Session 1.01: start here…

Winter already. Time to burn the furniture, and race to the back bar of the Ludicrous Arms. Some may claim to have been lost, others would have walked into the Leinster under their own steam. Whatever, another pleasantly diversionary jam session was in prospect, with about six saxophones to one of anything else.

As it should be… Yet again, the assembled incognoscenti failed to recognise the full Garrett protocol, which, as an opening gambit, leaves little to be desired, and even less to speculate upon. The good Captain, dispensing with such dreary conventions as following the form, conducted a lively rampage through Morning, or at least parts of it, before L Savage tackled Yesterdays, beating it also to a satisfying pulp. Noel confounded the Captain by playing well in tune; and Paul, Gentleman JC and the troops threatened real music for a while, before descending to the level to which the rest of us aspire.

Several peeps, Chaos one of them, remarked on the lack of competent singers. Others remarked upon the lack of competent anything, and were it not for the fact that we were all having a good time, one might have been tempted to call the whole enterprise something of a schemozzle.

I must own up to staying until less than stumps, pleading exhaustion and a surfeit of pills. A fun afternoon, nothing got broken and nobody died.

And the band played on – ’til well past the hour.

From Geoff Woollan

Could the jams be streamed live from the Lunatic Soup Lounge so those of us a little further away could listen as well ?

As for criticism, clearly non-existent management is doing something right as the definition of bad management is being unable to organise a piss-up in a brewery. It would seem that the products of the brewery are an important part of the technique.

GW as opposed to TW from 10,000 + miles away


It is high time someone explained the different genres in Jazz. Meanwhile…

THE BLUES  Probably the most basic influence on jazz, comprised of no more than three chords and the perfidy of women. All of it sung with a fake sincerity, often in a fake American accent to make it sound authentic. Apparently.

JAZZ STANDARDS The term is an ironic one, describing the constitutional inability of your average muso to play the same thing twice. There are actually few standards amongst Jazz Musicians, and all of them are low.

Jazz standards use four or even five chords, and were written some time between 1933 and1948, a time when most sensible people would be staying home to watch the advertisements on pay TV. The genre is defined by the use of walking tenths in the bass line, or staggering quarters if the bottleshop will still give you credit; and by the soloist swinging – preferably from a rope attached to the rafters, but I digress.

BEBOP  Another ironic term, describing the constitutional inability of your average bebop muso to play the same thing once. If you slow it down and play Bebop backwards, it doesn’t sound any worse. Spooky, or what!

POST BEBOP  This genre cannot be called ironic at all, as most adherents struggle with words of more than one syllable. It does not refer to jazz music that has been learnt by mail order. No one has ever listened to the end of a post bebop composition – because it doesn’t have one, it just fades away when the jazz club goes broke.

FREE JAZZ  Jazz that is so dissonant and repetitive that no one will pay for it. The entire enrolment of University Jazz Courses is said to be working on extending this to the point where people will pay for it (on condition that it stops immediately.) If successful, they will be able to go and get a job teaching trombone in a High School one year earlier than the previous intake (see note below). Progress is a wondrous thing.

SHOWTUNES  Ah, the most sublime music of all – saccharine romantic ballads. Showtunes have a timeless quality, at least when played by the Jammers, and we only pick them to see if we can get Colonel T off the stage.

Footnote: The enrolment at a University is called an intake. Each year around Melbourne about 100 Students are taken in by Jazz courses. Only to discover that there are no jobs at the end of it, other than teaching trombone in a High School. Far better to have studied Accounting or Quantity Surveying. There are no jobs in those disciplines either, but at least the pay is better.

Some More Jam Session Terms explained

Part of an ongoing series of one.

Soloist: Can only play one instrument at a time, often quite badly. If talking to a soloist, make sure that you speak clearly, as they are often not good listeners, due to lack of practice. On no account should you mention the presence of a rhythm section, as this might startle them.

Saxophonist: a sub set of soloist. They cannot all put five beats to the bar in a 4/4 tune, but most of them are pretty good at it. Continue reading →

Jam Session News: Getting better, or trying or something… and another week in the salt mines to follow…

There are many, many Jam Sessions which are carefully planned, scrupulously organised and meticulously focussed on, generally, “modern” jazz, which, for reasons which escape me, means jazz first performed by African American heroin addicts some time between 1954 and about 1966, and slavishly copied by middle class kids in Jazz courses the world over ever since. Continue reading →

At The Leinster

The Jam Session: Another record established


It would have seemed, by 5.00, that we were going to approach the record for most musicians performing on a single afternoon (31, a couple of years ago). We stopped short at 26, as it turned out, but another record was undoubtedly broken…

The All time Great Train Wreck:

Yup, Good Morning Heartache wasn’t good, and the heartache stopped mercifully short with various mutterings about a dodgy chart.. take a bow, Captain Chaos, Sir Roger C, Doug Haircut Kuhn, the Debonair John Curtis, and the others. Magnificent shambles, really, really well done…

Only to be followed, the very next toon, by an even bigger cock-up on Mas Que Nada, same culprits, admittedly a tune well designed for upwards cocking, again cut mercifully short: an absolute debacle, and the audience, vicious bastards, lapped it up.

So the record is for two train wrecks in a row, a feat often attempted but never quite realised in the past.

The Haircut plays Mas Que Nada about once every two weeks, with Katerina, so he may be excused. Sir Roger De Coverley made up for it with a fine set with Rory C. later on. Paul Phillips thinks I have forgotten he was playing, I haven’t, but as he only hits things and didn’t have a chart, he may be exempted from the blame. Actually, he subsequently played rather well…

All of which left precious little time for a roll call of hopefuls to plink, thwack, slap, fernottle and gargle their way through a dizzying array of Jazz standards later on. The session ended fairly late, due to the following:

· Sebastien (drums)
· Andy Moon (dbl bass)
· Anton (single bass)
· Gerard (drums, and then piano)
· Gary (drums)
· Tony (sax)
· Soozie (vocals)
· Sonia (chanteuse)
· Marita (ditto)
· Don (piano)
· John Calamatta (sax and red beret)
· Chrissie Manetta (tonsils)
· Bruce (drums)
· Paul Phillips (drums)
· Chico (guitar)
· Kevin (vocals)
· Tom (guitar)
· Grant (sax and floot)
· Alex (drums)
· Alex’s dad (piano)
· Stuart (vocals)
· Gentleman John C (piano)
· Rory Clark (piano)
· Sir Roger De Coverley (sax)
· Captain Chaos (sax and confusion)

…and one other who was so talented, young, and good looking that I have neglected to mention their name. You know who you are!

The News from the Nash Bash

It was by invitation only. And they only invited the disreputable, so Doug Kuhn (playing bass), Ann Smith (playing drums), Frank the indefatigable (playing guitar) and moi (playing the idiot) had a ball, accompanying Risa (gorgeous), Ange (a revelation), and the Divine Miss Smith (no better than usual, which is brilliant). Bob Vinard lent his own style to proceedings in between times. Thanks to Rod and Bette, (who should know better, but prefer not to) for putting the whole night on. Great food, too!

I have now run out of parentheses. 🙂


What’s On at The Grand Hotel

A great set by Chelly Parisi last week, with a tight rhythm section and the Driscoll in really fine form on his Flugel.

This week, Ruby Rogers will be singing up a storm. After rocking out Kojo Brown last week, she will be supported by Rene (bass), Putnamondrums and meself on piano filling in the fiddly bits.  It is not impossible that the evening will descend to a surprise  appearance by Captain Chaos himself, and if you must come, you are requested to be seated nicely by 5.30pm, so as to cushion the blow.

The Grand Hotel, corner of  Spencer Street and Flinders Street, Friday 26 April from 5.30 onwards

Next week…

The Captain Chaos Quartet gets booked for a function, and big news on Castlemaine…See ya round the traps..

McCue AWOL for a Month! The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum, Rogers Rocks The Grand

Bear with us on this one … The esteemed Editor has taken a month’s leave of absence – he might get out earlier for good behaviour, but there again, probably won’t. So the Newsletter is being updated by a technophobic recidivist Luddite – just when there is rather a lot of stuff going on..

Captain Chaos’ latest ridiculous idea: A Jazz Festival in 2014. The concept is so patently absurd that it could almost work … so far, we are looking at Maldon and will be meeting with the Local Council in early March. We will then be holding a aession at a restaurant in Maldon: the idea being to get the various Maldon people who have expressed an interest all in the one room at the one time, come up with some plausible excuses, and then listen to their ideas.

In outline, we are looking at a two day festival, with 35 – 40 bands, and providing opportunities for the hundreds of enthusiastic musos who may no longer be able to get a spot at the major festivals – and yes, we are thinking of having an extended Leinster Arms style jam session running. We will probably be seeking expressions of interest from Bands from July onwards.

If it happens, and you would like to be involved in the organisation of all this, drop an e-mail to

What’s On at The Grand Hotel, cnr Spencer Street and Flinders Street

Friday 1st March sees the return of Miss Ruby Rogers, singing up a storm probably, with a whole bunch of new material, and her old crew: Avi Ganesan (bass), Tom Doublier (drums), some ol fart on piano and newcomer Izumi on saxaphone. We are all going to have fun, feel free to turn up and join in… 5:30 – 8:30pm

What was I thinking?

    Captain Chaos away wreaking havoc in Merimbula is always a good opportunity to shake things up a little, so last week I posted the following ad on Melband under “Guitarists Wanted”

The Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Collingwood, on Sunday, 10th June from 4.00pm      to 7.30pm or later.

It is free,somewhat disorganised on occasion, and a great opportunity to develop your jazz chops and meet other musos. Just rock up, introduce yourself, and we’ll do the rest. You will most likelyplay with a four or five piece combo, (typically, singer, piano,bass, drums and saxaphone). The standard varies from mediocre through moderate, to full on. There were 22 musos there last week and no guitarists…

Bonus points will be awarded to guitarists who can read a chart, like to solo, can      shut the f* up when someone else is soloing, can trade licks withanother muso, can maybe hold down the rhythm section without a piano, and can then sit out after a few toons and let someone elsehave a turn.

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

See ya there? You  have nothing to lose but your dignity…

So . . .

    In seven days, there have been 298 hits on the ad, and a surprising number of guitarists turned up last Sunday. Just as well, becausethe piano was playing up, and the session ended with a smooth asguitar/bass/sax/drums instrumental set. Props to Ashley fromWangaratta, who turned up early (Friday night) but stayed for theSunday session, and to Tom Lorenzo, the pick of a pretty good bunch,who showed how a guitar could really sing in a five piece setting…, and to all the others who joined in.  Add some finesinging frpom Melinda, some scatting from Chelly, and a whole bunchof audience having a good time – and the Lunatic Soup Lounge washeaving once again.

    Next week, I am advertising for Tuba players, mythical mexican noseflutes, and bagpipe players, the latter on the proviso that they don’t bring their bagpipes…

    Catchya round the traps…TW