Performance platform

David Buchanan (saxophone), Jeff Power (guitar/vocals), Fi Medwin (percussion/vocals) and Stuart Reeman (guitar) perform at a Brackets and Jam event, held at the Stanley Hotel in April this year. Picture: Bodey Dittloff.

Music. Locals that play at ‘Brackets and Jam’ for the first time can understandably be “a bit nervous” according to Charlie Don’t Surf lead vocalist/guitarist Jeff Power.

However, he says those who have taken the opportunity to display their full array of musical talents in a relaxed atmosphere have flourished, quickly becoming “seasoned professionals” of the live music scene.

What started as a pop-up jam session has become a regular event at the Stanley Hotel for the past three years, organised by the five-piece band as a way of giving musicians an outlet to perform in front of a crowd.

“I knew there were a few people around who played music, but never had the chance to show their skills,” Power said.

“That’s the best way to improve I think, when you have something to practise for.”

The concept invites musicians – regardless of their experience or talent – to book a ‘bracket’ and play individually or in a group, while the session also includes a casual jam together in an improvised, free-for-all style of performance.

Charlie Don’t Surf is generally the first to get the afternoon started; Power describing it as a good way for him and his more experienced band to ease the pressure on waiting musicians.

For those hesitant to play by themselves, there are often others happy to help out as back-up musicians.

“If they need someone to back them up or need harmonies, there’s always someone there to help out,” Power said. “They’re exposed to music, which is a good thing.”

The event is free for people to come along and listen, also appropriate for young children who Power – a father-of-three himself – says enjoy dancing and helping out on percussion.

Though numbers at the event can vary, packed shoulder-to-shoulder crowds have been a welcome occurrence over the years in creating an upbeat atmosphere.

“There was a time when we had seven people up on stage jamming . . . a couple of guys from Queensland, the guy fitting the gas line [at the hotel] started singing . . . when it all clicks like that, it’s good.”

This weekend’s Brackets and Jam will follow a performance by Hobart musician and composer Dean Stevenson, who returns on the Saturday night prior for a solo performance after playing alongside Charlie Don’t Surf earlier in the year.

To keep up to date with Brackets and Jam sessions, follow Charlie Don’t Surf on Facebook.


What: Brackets and Jam featuring special guest Gina Timms

When: Sunday July 5, 2pm onwards

Where: Stanley Hotel, Church Street

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