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.