Updated: Oct 1, 2021
Why not... I have been reading some articles on Neil Young recently and listening to the 1973 recording, warts and all, that has become his latest release. The irascible Young holds a theory that digital reproduction loses a lot of the sound quality of vinyl/analogue – and this damages our brains, although why Neil Young would still worry about that is a mystery to me....
Why Music? Do we need live performance any more, now that the machines can do it all? Technically, the rot set in in 1877, when Thomas Alva Edison invented the phonograph, initially, one would assume, as a means of making money, but later on as a means of reproducing music as it sounded in live performance. Neil's live performance incorporates the mistakes, clams and glitches for which he is famous – as a part of his artistic expression. It grows on you.
Avid readers, all three of them, may now be wondering quite what this has to do with a Jam Session. Each week, we produce, live, some truly awful renditions of tunes which deserved better. This last week was no exception – except that the 26 musicians who fronted had a great time in general. This is currently one of the larger live, unrehearsed and impromptu musical gatherings in Melbourne, and if we are not careful, will continue to attract an uncritical audience.
Soloists: So rare are the brassisti that we have given up advertising for trumpeters – and of course two turned up – Satou from Japan and Guy (I think) from somewhere else. On top of which, the usual complement of saxes, plus Jeff on clarinet and soprano sax. And Sir Roger De Coverley, buckler of swashes and Bounder about Town, who mercifully left his horse, if he had one, outside.
Singers were a bit thin on the ground- Kay with her usual collection of Bossa modified standards, Yuko singing up a storm, teenage gardener Miss Annabelle Smythe, reeking of Lobelia roots, but otherwise in fine voice. And Kevin the cap, for good measure.
Drummers included Mike Findlay, Alan Richards, Steve Bray, and on a flying visit from Tasmania's Big Ho, Nigel Legge (washboard ace, but this time on drums)
Guitarists: Octo as good as ever, newcomer Roy held his own, and Harry from Queensland got up eventually and could play more than a bit. All sweet.
Bass: Dave NN has taken to misbehaving, by playing rather well when you least expect it, and was the pick of them for once.. Another fine innings from Piers, Anton from Glasshouse days, and Roy's offsider who was (a) better looking than Roy and (b) rather good.
Piano: Early contribution from Mr Curtis, played beautifully for Yuko, Malcolm and one other (name?) at the end.
All of which made for a middling musical medley, a goodly audience, and notably quite a few family groups amongst them. The Arvo was wrapped up with a fine (hah!) rendition of Minnie the Moocher, which proved an inspired choice.