Tony Barba on June 1

This is just a quick note to let you know Tony Barba will be our educator on June 1st instead of Dave Cooper. Sadly, Dave can't make it because there was a death in his family. Our thoughts go out to Dave and his family.

June 1st jam and other jam news

Like I was saying,  jam sessions are unpredictable.  Last Sunday on a beautiful day during graduation weekend we had 24 jammers, tied for the most ever. We had more drummers than we've had in a while, a nice mix of young and older jammers, good music, and lots of fun.

We're looking for the same at our next jam on June 1st. Our band will be Dave Cooper, Mark Davis, John Christensen, and Michael Brenneis. The tune-of-the-week is "Lover" by Rodgers and Hart and prep notes by Michael BB are below.

I'm not sure if this has been mentioned before, but we have 3 jams in June. We will be jamming during the Isthmus Jazz Fest on Friday, June 20, 9-11 pm in the newly remodeled Memorial Union. The format will be slightly altered as Dan will only give feedback after the tune-of-the-week. This is a special opportunity to jam in front of a larger crowd and be part of the festival. It will be lots of fun!

June is a busy month for the jam. In addition to 3 jams we held our spring plant sale last Saturday and raised $538 for the jam. Thank you Mike, Clair, Nancy, Amy, Lynnette, Grant, Mary, and everyone who donated plants and helped! And later this month we have another fundraiser, a private house concert/party at which Johannes and Nick will perform.

If you are interested in having a fundraiser at your home let me know. Getting together with your friends and listening to live jazz in your home is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're helping a good cause.

Jelly Roll Morton

The pianist Jelly Roll Morton is generally regarded as the first jazz composer and arranger. He was born Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe in New Orleans to a Créole family, and there are differing records of his date of birth. The two most commonly cited dates are September 20th, 1885 and October 20th, 1890. He began his musical career in 1904 as a ragtime piano player in local brothels, and his self-assigned stage name was a play on brothel themes.

In 1908 he left New Orleans and toured along the Gulf of Mexico and within Texas state, picking up a feel for Latin music that he added to some of his music along the way. Later, in 1917, he moved to California. By 1922, Morton had established himself as a musician and composer. That year, he moved to Chicago and began a series of recording sessions with his Red Hot Peppers Orchestra. These recordings (especially those in 1926 and 1927) are considered to be some of the best examples of the New Orleans jazz sound. While living in Chicago, Morton began to sell his compositions as sheet music, which was a profitable enterprise.

After the Great Depression hit, Morton fell upon hard times. Not only were people less likely to buy his sheet music, but the Swing sound was beginning to supplant that of New Orleans. In 1935, Morton moved to Washington D.C. to perform at a piano bar called the Music Box, where he stayed for a couple years as his health deteriorated. Jelly Roll Morton passed away July 10th, 1941 while visiting Los Angeles.

Laura E. Brandt is a home-schooled part-time student at UW-Madison.


Madison Jazz Plant Sale

Madison Jazz Plant Sale
Saturday, May 17th, 8 Am to 2 pm
4123 S. Sunset Ct. (near Midvale and Mineral Pt Rd)

sweet woodruffWe have a wide variety of locally grown perennials at great prices. Many kinds of ground covers (some in turf-like sizes), native woodland plants, bushes (including hard to find native elderberry), herbs, ferns, hostas, and much more. All proceeds benefit Madison Jazz, a nonprofit organization which organizes all-ages, all abilities jam sessions, and publishes an online guide to jazz activities in the Madison area

Next jam May 18th, and jam anxiety

Our next jazz jam is May 18th and the tune-of-the-week is Gershwin's, "But Not For Me." See Michael's prep notes below. Dan is our educator/saxophonist, Dave Stoler is on piano, Matt Rodgers on bass, and Rand on drums.

Our last jam was the 1st beautiful day of spring and while the audience turn-out was good not as many jammers showed. For the jammers that did it was fantastic: lots of playing opportunities. This next weekend is graduation weekend so it's possible the jammer turnout will be low again. On the other hand we had a terrific turnout 2 years ago on the same weekend.

One thing about a jam session, it is not predictable. You never know how many people will show up, who they'll be, and what lessons you'll learn. A few weeks ago at the New Breed jam I was called up to play a tune with the great Brian Lynch. I knew he was in town to teach a workshop and play a concert but it came as shock that I was about to jam with him. It took a while to settle down and play the tune right.

Although I could have berated myself for not playing well, I chose to enjoy the moment: I was playing a tune with a world-class trumpeter and standing right next to him while he played. It doesn't get much better!

Any time you perform with better players it is easy to feel the pressure and come away feeling inadequate. On the other hand it is often a learning opportunity. Lately, I'm trying to focus on lessons to be learned rather than judging my performance. I find I'm less anxious and more likely to play better.  This is not easy and is a work in progress, but  the less I think about sounding great the better I sound.  Give this a try if you get anxious about performing at the jam. See how it works for you.