Yesterday’s jam was a lot of fun as usual. We received positive feedback on the new format and everyone I talked to agreed the music was “more musical.” To decide for yourself listen to the tunes which are now posted on Most Recent Recordings.
We still have tweaking to do. There was too much down time between songs in the first set. If we can speed up the time it takes for jammers to decide on the next tune we’ll have time for two or three more tunes per session. Everyone will benefit.
Jam sessions depend on everyone sharing a basic repertoire. If everyone can play most of the tunes we’ve previously introduced in the first set then it will be quick and easy to choose a tune. So rather than trying to learn two new songs each month we’ll introduce one new tune and encourage everyone to review the previous tunes. Get those previous tunes down! Pick one and learn it inside and out. Memorize the melody and the changes. Then move to the next one, but not until you have the first one really solid.
Our next session is at Liliana’s on September 18th and the new tune is “Now’s The Time.” For this month focus on pacing and developing your ideas. One of the first things I learned from Joan Wildman (wish I could play and remember everything she taught me) is a simple tool for beginning a solo: play a short idea, repeat it, then play it again with a simple variation. She also emphasized thinking in terms of musical statements, ideas that are complete by themselves. Then let the statement breathe so the audience can appreciate it. Avoid run-on sentences. Listen to Dan’s student, Joe, on this month’s recording of Gravy Train for an idea of these concepts.
Here’s a slower version of “Now’s The Time,” good for learning the melody and changes. There are plenty of good licks to transcribe, too.