Youngsters and pros rip it up

It's just the nature of a jam session; you never know who will show or what will happen. It's the middle of summer, not many cars on the streets, and you might guess jam turnout would be low. Not yesterday! We had 16 jammers, including 5 drummers.

There were many fine moments, including singing Happy Birthday to Gabe and then listening to him tear through "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise." I can't believe how fast these young people progress. He just turned fifteen and has been playing sax around two years!

The best surprise was a sax player who showed up and ripped the doors off the place. People were asking, "Who is this guy?"

Ken HoffmanI set down and talked with him. Ken Hoffman is a pro who came to Madison in 1982 and has lived in the area since (he's now in Waukesha). He's been on a break from the sax for a while and is trying to get back into it. He's a quiet guy, but when he picks up the sax you better step back. If he's rusty now I can't wait to hear him in peak form!

At the end of the jam Joey recognized him and realized they were bandmates 25 years ago in the Charlie Brooks band. They had fun catching up.

Who will show up at our next jam? Be there on August 3rd and find out. The band is Dave Stoler - piano, Brad Townsend - bass, and Rick Flower - drums. Eric Koppa plays tenor sax and will be the educator. The tune-of-the-week is "Girl From Ipanema." Michael should have notes up soon.

Lastly, the owner of the Fountain said he will have the piano tuned!

Next jam is July 20

Summer is flying by and so are the jams. We had 9 jammers today which is lower than usual but our audience was large and appreciative and, and the jammers sounded great.

Noah plays trumpet and is going into his senior year at Monona Grove. He hasn't been at the jam in a few years but he sure has been practicing... beautiful phrases. Way to go, Noah. Tony is traveling around the country with his guitar on his back and we were lucky he stopped in while passing through. He is a Django Reinhardt fan and it shows. I don't think we've ever had a guitar player who sounded like that - a definite crowd-pleaser. The rest of the jammers played well, and of course, Dave and the house band sounded great.

On July 20th we are back with trombonist Darren Sterud as our educator and Paul Hastil - keys, Matt Rodgers - bass, and Joey Banks - drums. The tune-of-the-week is "Georgia on My Mind." We will post Michael's notes by mid-week or so. In the meantime here's Ray Charles, the definitive interpreter of this song, and Dexter Gordon with his own rendition.

I hope you are having a good summer. See you on the 20th!


Jam on July 6

Yes, we are jamming this Sunday, and yes, it is a holiday. Is there a better way to celebrate America's Independence than playing America's indigenous music? Not if you love jazz!

The tune-of-the-week is the theme from the Flintstones cartoon. Did you know this is jazz? The melody is written over "I've Got Rhythm" harmony, just like many other jazz standards. If you look closely at the chord progression in Michael's article you'll see it doesn't move to the four chord in the sixth bar. It just keeps repeating 1-6-2-5. That is the only deviation from many other "Rhythm" tunes. Hopefully, you've read Michael's article and have been practicing. If not, make sure to have another tune prepared.

The band is David Cooper - trumpet/educator, Doug White - piano, John Schaeffer - bass, and John Lombardo - drums. Doug is new to the jam but not Madison. He's been playing in the area for many years. As always, it will be a good time.

See you there!