My 2017 Guitar & Bass Year

As anTrumpet Jazz Band at The Port Fairy Jazz Festivalother year passes by it is a good time to reflect on what has been a busy year of music. My guitar teaching business Melbourne Guitar Lessons continues chugs along with 30-40 students having lessons every week. On top of a full teaching schedule there have also been several bands keeping my fingers busy playing guitar, bass guitar and double bass (if you play bass you end up doing lots of gigs!) So here’s a review of the highlights of my year in music for 2017.

Port Fairy Jazz Festival
In February I performed at the Port Fairy Jazz Festival playing double bass in 2 bands – Trumpet who play corporate and wedding gigs with and Elle T & The Doctors who I also regularly gig with. The Port Fairy Jazz Festival is a community event held in a scenic seaside town in Victoria, Australia with 50+ bands performing all styles of jazz. It’s a great fun weekend away with the Trumpet members and entourage sharing a house and hanging out in between our sets.

Jazz-Jam-wesleyanneLine Matter Jazz Jams
I also play bass guitar in Line Matter is a contemporary jazz band. While Trumpet plays jazz standards and 50s rock n roll tunes, Line Matter plays original music with tunes written by guitarist Jonathan Moore, drummer Sebastien Jego and myself. Apart from regular gigs Line Matter also runs a monthly jazz jam at The Wesley Anne. Jams are a great way to meet other musicians and of course have fun playing music!

In May I joined the Revolutionaticos as their bass guitarist (another bass gig!). The band plays 80s/90s rock and pop music from Argentina & Chile. The band covers tunes from Los Prisioneros, Soda Stereo, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Entanitos Verdes and others. I didn’t realise how large Melbourne’s Latin American community is with the band playing several big gigs in 2017 including a Chilean festival with 1000s attending. My Spanish is still pretty limited but I am learning while enjoying the enthusiasm of ex-pat Latinos dancing and singing along to the hit songs I never knew until this year.

Castlemaine Jazz Festival
In June Trumpet, Line Matter & The Agus Batara Quartet (another original jazz band with myself on bass guitar – seeing a trend here?) performed at the Castlemaine Jazz Festival. Like the Port Fairy Jazz Festival this is another community festival but set in the Victorian country town of Castlemaine just north of Melbourne. Highlights of this festival included performing at the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine and seeing the audience grow for the Agus Batara Quartet from our 1st Saturday set to our 2nd set on Sunday.

TS Monk at 3RRR FMRuby Rogers Radio and CD Launch
Another band I play bass guitar in is the Ruby Rogers Experience. This band plays a mix of funk, soul, blues and jazz originals and covers. While I am the bass player I also played guitar with the singer as a duo for to live to air radio performances as our guitarist wasn’t available. We performed on Melbourne radio 3CR and 3RRR. My Boss RC-20XL looper pedal came in handy condensing the tunes down to one guitar using it create bass lines to solo over. Apart from enjoying the experience of performing live on the radio we got to hang out with jazz drummer TS Monk (the son of Thelonious Monk) as he was having an interview before our performance. It was real privilege to hear stories about what it was like for him to grow up with Thelonious Monk as his father.

These live to air performances were to promote the Ruby Rogers Experience EP launch which happened in August at The Lomond Hotel. That was a great gig with a packed audience of friends, family and fans. The band has new material and will be recording another EP in 2018.

Line Matter at Marysville Blues & Jazz Weekend
Marysville & Grampians Jazz Festival
In October Line Matter performed at 2 more jazz festivals in Marysville and The Grampians. The Marysville Weekend of Jazz & Blues was a bit different for us as we got to play on large stage with huge PA, lighting and a huge rocking Ampeg SVT Classic bass rig! Despite the large auditorium and sound there was only a small (but appreciative!) audience due to the fact that we were the 1st band on a Sunday morning.

At the Grampians jazz festival Line Matter performed with local jazz legend/pianist Ade Ishs with us performing a mixture of Line Matter originals, Ade Ishs originals and Pat Metheny covers.

Line Matter Recording
In November Line Matter went into Pughouse studios to record 8 tunes for an album. We managed to get everything down (with some minor edits) in 2 days. I have now been playing fretless bass for 6 months in Line Matter. While it is more challenging to play the sound of the instrument really suits the style of music. The album will be mixed and mastered and out early in 2018. Check out our Facebook page for updates.

GuitMelbourne Guitar Lessons Student Concertar Student Concerts
As part of my teaching business at Melbourne Guitar Lessons I organise 2 student concerts a year one in June and another in December. The June 2017 concert was one of the biggest ever with 20 students performing music including blues tunes, Beatles songs and even a bit of Bach. It’s a great opportunity for students young and old, beginner and more advanced to perform in front of family friends. The December guitar concert was also a great success with 2 students singing and playing (Behind Blue Eyes – The Who and I Cant Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley). Plus some of my students swapped details so they can get together play which is fantastic.

Corporate & December Gigs
My performing year finished with a couple of corporate Christmas gigs with Trumpet. One of these was at the Fox Classic Car Collection Museum LINK where we performed surround by rare Porsches, Ferraris and Bentleys. The final gig was a Revolutionaticos gig at a packed Bar Ousssou in Brunswick which was a fun way to end 2017.

Learning To Play The Guitar
Meanwhile with all this band activity and teaching Learning To Play The Guitar has been on the backburner a bit in 2017. However over my Christmas break I’ve written a bunch of new posts that will be uploaded over the next few weeks and material that will be part of a new lead guitar book. Plus are a batch of new videos are been planned. So keep visiting the site for regular new content in 2018.

Anthony Pell.

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