I had a visit a while ago from some English backpackers whose visit to Melbourne was purely in the hope of catching a glimpse of Pinoak Crescent. As if this great metropolis had nothing more exciting to offer. Imagine the disappointment the poor darlings must have felt when they realised that Pinoak Crescent, is smaller than they had thought, and altogether more drearily suburban. Ramsey Street will never hold the same magic that it had when they first joined the Newcastle University Neighbours Appreciation Society. They left two days later for South America, with a deeper understanding of the difference between real and ersatz. Look, I couldn’t make this up, it is, for a change, true; and I am not sure what relevance this has to jazz jam sessions, but I just thought I’d mention it.
I attended the first Dizzy’s Tribute to Bill Evans Jam Session on Saturday. It was smaller than I had thought, and one of a series to come. Get along if you can, some of the music making was of a high order, although not all of it by any means. Much conversation on the nature of jamming, with the view put forward that musicians shouldn’t jam until they had reached at least post graduate jazz improvisation level. Which is one explanation for Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy G and even Bill Evans not being in attendance, as I don’t believe any of them got that far in formal jazz studies.
It was a relief to get away from the imagined Ramsay Street, and the manicured lawns of Pinoak Crescent, figuratively speaking, and plunge into a chaotic afternoon of peasant ballad mangling, bopping and boogeying along with four saxophones, two bass players, a couple of drummers, Alan the Jazz, Fred on percussion, a couple of guitarists, Peter and Jacin, (and I bet I’ve spelt that wrong), meself, Noriyo and Inky Fingers McCue on keyboards (and Richard later on).
There were occasions when this all started to sound quite good, but we managed to contain it, and mostly it was sixteen happy souls having a great time, in front of a large and appreciative audience, who clearly didn’t know any better and stayed well beyond stumps.
Only people missing were Frank, who tripped whilst mowing the lawn in stilettos, and broke a fingernail or something, and Miss Smiff who has left for a fortnight’s business in Barbados or somewhere, and won’t be coming back if the barman at the Bridgetown Beach Bar and Lambada Lounge is all he is cracked up to be. Hope you got it all sewn up Smiff.
Improver of the week was Peter Cole who produced a chart for Black Coffee which looked a bit ambitious but he got it. Couldn’t do that a coupla months ago.
Chaos of the Week: The Captain distinguished himself by calling for a rhythm drop out, several times,, with hand gesticulation, wild cries and urgent instructions, but, inevitably, without all of us in the rhythm section understanding what he was on about, or, indeed, that we were the rhythm section.
Top tune, by audience acclamation, was Route 66, which after last week;’s debacle, really rocked for a change, with a young bass player who described himself as a beginner. Not.
Lots of new faces and the best Sunday Arvo session in ages.
Can we do it all again?