Every Thursday, Hashigo Zake welcomes jazz musicians to “play, entertain, socialise, and vent—in musical form—all the pent-up frustration the current state of the world inflicts on one’s soul”.
The stage can sometimes be a life saver, as when a gig is cancelled at the last minute but you really want to perform. On 7 July, Rob Henderson and his friends hosted, and oh, my has he
got a few friends!
The evening started quietly with the advertised trio of Rob Henderson on the double bass, Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa on drums, and Eilish Wilson on sax. Rob and Hikurangi have been around a lot, but Eilish has been away studying in Los Angeles. We were very lucky to get a glimpse of her while she’s taking a summer break in wintery Aotearoa. Better still, she is offering high quality jazz lessons while she is here.
Check it out.
But back to the floor: vintage wallpaper and brick walls, shady lights and heart-warming drinks go well with jazz standards and catchy solos. A small number of guests enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Then it all changes. More people arrive, open their cases, join the musicians on stage. A jam session begins. Rob holds on as the core, but surrounded by new members: Dexter Stanley-Tauvao on drums, Rachelle Eastwood on flute, and Greg Oxenham on sax. And now it’s more standards, more solos, more music!
Then Eamon Dilworth and Jake Baxendale step in to give us a taste of the New Orleans inspired performance, scheduled for the following night at Rogue & Vagabond. Eamon is from Sydney. He plays trumpet, sings, writes music. He’s very cool, so when you see his name, definitely check him out.

More people are at the door waiting for their turn. Jam sessions are those big prize wheels. Yeah, some prizes are better than others, but you never leave empty handed. Seeing people “talking music” with their instruments on spontaneous topics with no rehearsal, no compositions list, is always amazing.

Each time I experience it, I ask myself: Should I start learning an
instrument? They say it’s never too late… So, next time don’t hesitate to go to a jam session. Maybe it will inspire you, too, to pick up an instrument and find new joy in this life, the joy of playing music with kindred spirits.

By Charlie Queen