[Dixielandjazz] I`m home

PJ Ladd pj.ladd at btopenworld.com
Fri Apr 9 17:03:10 PDT 2004

Hi everyone,
just to mention that I am back on the list after a 2 month break. If any one noticed.

I managed to touch base with list mate Ross Anderson in Melbourne who was kind enough to take me to his `local` for an hour or two where we sank a few beers and talked about the jazz scene in Oz and about the list and how great it was.

I arrived in Sydney on a Sunday afternoon and immediately after dropping the luggage Wendy and I ran Bill Haesler to earth in the middle of his regular gig at a pub in the Rocks. A typical pub gig with everyone enjoying themselves , musicians and audience both. The `chick singer` did her job well and was very easy on the eye in addition. Tom Wood had also made a point of being in the pub and we managed to have a talk in between the noise of the band and the shouts of the audience for more beer.
Tom was very kind and he and his wife invited Wendy and I, together with Bill and his wife for dinner at his lovely home way up river from Sydney Harbour.
We had a great time drinking, eating  talking and looking out at the lovely view.
The whole thing was greatly enhanced by the fact that transport was by ferry boat and the trip back to Sydney, after saying goodbye to Tom and his wife and dropping off the Haeslers part way was made under a starry sky with the incredible Sydney skyline illuminated before us.

A bit of non jazz. We saw a superb production of The Merry Widow at the Sydney Opera House. The standard of productions there is very high. On previous trips we have seen `Cav and Pag` and an Australian Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of  The Mikado. Both top class.
Unfortunately, we had to leave Sydney the day before the Great Gay Parade. Damn. Thats twice I have missed it by a day. Now don`t get me wrong fellers, its a great parade......I am told.......

We ran into no further jazz until LA where we noticed that there was `Jazz in the Bar` at our hotel. This proved to be a top notch trio, keyboard, drums, bass backing a lady named Barbara Morrison.She is apparently pretty well known now but when she is in town she often goes back to the hotel we were staying in and performs for old times sake as that is where she got her start.
She was a great performer and swung like crazy. In addition there were a number of `Swing Dancers` gyrating around the area. They danced a sort jive,cum jitterbug but with a dash of rock and roll. Great beaty stuff. It seemes that there is enough of that sort of music, essentially swing, going down around L A for them to dance 5 nights a week, and they do. We were invited out to a Big Band (17 piece) session at Pasadena the following night. You get there, we will get you back was the offer. Unfortunately we couldn`t take that up as we were being taken out to the desert beyond Palm Springs and spectacular it was too.
Stopping in Palm Springs on our way back to LA and looking for a meal I was attracted by a swinging guitar coming from a small cafe. I talked our hosts into picking the place for a meal and as we ate the guitar player was joined by a harmonica player who was just great. He was on holiday  in Palm Springs  and said he had been sitting in with all the bands that he could. They made a great duo.
I found that the guitarist also had a keyboard on which he played backing chords with his foot. He had invented the system himself and had an array of tubes, about 8, hinged at one end. The other ends were connected to some pads on the keyboard  by fishing line. This enabled him to hold down a chord on the keyboard with his foot while playing hot licks on the guitar. Brilliant. He said he had invented it when he was marooned up in the mountains for a time.

The only other music we encountered was a selection of marching bands, country western and some rock and roll from the floats in the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington on the day we left for the UK.

We have now just about recovered from jet lag and no longer fall fast asleep face down in the corflakes.
So aftter 2 months travelling, 6 countries, 22 hotels or B and B`s, 22 plane, seaplane  or helicopter trips and 3 hire cars we are back in the UK in the Spring having experienced only one days rain in all that time.
Today is bright and sunny and I know it is Spring because I have just put the wind chimes up at the front door. Home!

I have also learned from Australians. who shorten all words, that Cabernet Sauvignon is pronounced `cabsav`. I shall not forget.

Pat (Very brown and with a very strange accent. She`ll be right) 

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