written by The Partae

You both bring your own unique flavour of Blues (Geoff) and Jazz (Steve) in that shared space. Particularly with you both leading the jam, how do you expect to manage and lead Kaliopi & the Blues Messengers during the jam?

G – I spent many years touring as a solo artist and having backing groups supplied for me at various destinations. It wasn’t unusual for me to meet the band as we were plugging in our amps and tuning up. It was a steep learning curve, but over time I developed a range of techniques for assessing where the individual & collective strengths lay, and an inner repertoire of blues standards that could be whipped into some sort of shape to create a night’s entertainment for the crowd. It is slightly terrifying, but that’s also what makes it exhilarating. It’s a good crew and they are all stonking good players, so I am simply looking forward to it!

S – I will let it evolve and provide some direction if needed, making sure all musicians feel safe, and can be themselves to express their voice. 

Back in the day at Dizzy’s on Swan St we used to have a Blues night on Cup Eve. It was always a huge success with Geoff and I “meeting in the middle” as he tried to be more ‘Jazzier’ and I tried to be more ‘Bluesy’ the result was always unexpected, but great fun and very enjoyable for all. 

Geoff, you’ve recently been in the studio recording a new acoustic album. Can we expect you to shed some of your new material or recent recordings in your solo set prior to the all-in jam?

G – Yeah, I’ll play a solo set to kick off the day, and there‘ll likely be a few of the tracks I’ve recorded for the solo album. The main crux of that project is that it’s all direct to tape, no overdubs, just me with my acoustic guitar, and intended for release on vinyl. So it’s old-school recording showcasing a few newies mixed with some old faves which have never been available on wax before. In any case, the solo acoustic set-up allows me the freedom to simply play whatever pops into my head. I can change the chord sequence, the key and even the tempo if I want to if that’s where the feeling takes me. A lot of young artists use loops and pedals with their acoustic guitars these days, and they sound amazing, but I’m still kicking it with wood, wire and my bare hands. It’s simply the purest and most honest music can get.

What significance is Richmond’s Central Club Hotel for you both?

G – The good old Central Club was a venue I used to make a weekly excursion to for their Tuesday night jam session way back in the 1980’s. It usually featured all manner of up and coming bands playing a variety of styles whether it was blues, folk, punk, rock, pop, jazz or ska. in the 90’s, it became a favourite for national and international blues acts. In 1995 I played a set at The Central Club that won me a ticket to the USA to play the 12th Annual Blues Talent Competition in Memphis Tennessee. So yeah, the good ol’ Central Club has always had a place in showcasing and promoting local music in Melbourne. It is just awesome to be returning there for this the next Double Trouble Blues Sessions.

S – I have a very close relationship with that venue, I have launched CD’s there, I house my Concert Grand Piano there, hosted many performances there and continue to hold regular performance workshops there. 

The Hotel of course has a very strong legacy and historical context of great Australian music and bands. 

You have both mentored and taught Kaliopi, how do you think your blended qualities will transcend into her performance or the all-in- jam set? 

G – There’s no doubt it, Steve is the maestro here, but I just love that Kal has taken the opportunity to learn from as broad a range of musicians as she can. The blues is a huge story of which jazz is a major part. My approach probably leans more towards a roots-rock style, whilst Steve’s musicality embraces a style so broad that it defies definition. It’s something we all aspire to achieve, but for my part, I am hoping to learn a lot from Sunday’s gig with Steve & Kal.

S – Kali has a deep emotional connection to music particularly the Blues, and so is ideally suited to this music. The essence of the blues is achieved by playing with honesty and from the heart with a firm sense of self belief. Kali already has these qualities and so will only offer a deeper experience and performance. 



written by The Partae December 2, 2022

1 What’s it like as an established muso with his own distinctive style to pair up with an artist who likewise has his own profile and following?

Live music events can fill you with inspiration in all sorts of ways. If you’re a musician witnessing a great performance it pushes you to want to emulate the playing style, or to write music as good as what you’re hearing in that moment. For me I also get to feeling like I want to get in amongst it and be in that band, or to trade licks with that great player. Jimi is one of those players. He pushes me, kicks my arse to play the best I can. 


Is it possible to preserve your own artistic identity and flavour when playing with and alongside your `opposite number?’ Can we expect you to shed some of your unique recent experiences (Kings of Kings) in your solo set prior to the all-in jam?

One of the things you learn along the way is to always play it your way. This may be especially true when it comes to playing the blues. The whole aim is finding your own voice so there is never any point in trying to outplay another performer at their game. Yeah, I recently had the chance to share the stage with the great Dave Hole & Shane Pacey playing some classic blues songs. I had Dave Hole standing right next to me every night and I can tell you, those gigs were some of the best guitar lessons I’ve ever had… but whenever it comes my turn to play, I dig deep and do my thing the best I know how.


I’m guessing some friendly rivalry would play out as well in that shared space? Particularly with you both leading the jam. How do you expect to manage and lead Kaliopi & the Blues Messengers during the jam?

Jimi & I enjoy the bitchy banter we get into. It’s even funnier to us if anyone thinks we’re serious. It started when we were playing some of our first gigs together and you’d occasionally overhear comments along the lines of ‘Jimi’s gonna wipe the floor with him tonight’ or some such thing. We decided it was actually more fun to play up to that idea of us competing for some sort of guitarist supremacy and we started calling those gigs our ‘Guitar Showdown’. The music is always our focus – but be prepared for a battle of wits between songs. Oh, and the jam set? The best thing about those moments is that they are very loosely planned, if planned at all. I am careful not to think too hard about what might happen then lest we spoil the magic! 


You’ve been paired with each other before – how might your upcoming gig for Double Trouble Blues Sessions be different or similar? What can your followers expect or is it always a case of `expect the unexpected’?

This is a different format to our Showdown gigs. The difference is that we’ll each to showcasing our solo material which highlights our individual styles. The similarity is that we’ll end up on stage together with a cracking band backing us up and trading licks on electric guitars. Add Kaliopi to the mix and suddenly we shall have a triple guitar threat… but of course only one can reign supreme. Who shall it be? Whom shalt doff this coveted crown?