Bernie's Tune

Our jam session continues to go well at our new home, Bourbon St Grille in Monona. Last time we had 18 jammers. Interestingly, 4 of the jammers were from Illinois and one was from Black River Falls. I guess after 5 years of high quality jams it shouldn't be a surprise that word of the jam has spread.

It was especially good to see Duane and Margie from Black River Falls again. A few years ago they traveled to the jam every other month or so, but then Margie had a major stroke. Even though she didn't sing, Margie looks good and is clearly much improved. Duane sounded great on the guitar as always. To top it off they made a major donation. Thanks, Duane and Margie!

And thanks to everyone else that donated at the jam. We received a record $238 in the hat! It's gratifying to know the jam is appreciated so much.

This coming Sunday we're going to have another great jam. The band includes UW Madison Director of Jazz Studies, Johannes Wallman on keyboard, UW Platteville drum instructor Keith Lienert on drums, and two of the areas busiest players: Darren Sterud on trombone, and John Christensen on bass. The featured song is 'Bernie's Tune."

"Bernie's Tune" is a common jazz jam vehicle. Locally, I've heard Darren play it at other jams and Rand Moore's Quartet plays it regularly. It is also a staple of gypsy jazz bands. It's easy to sound good over the changes and they aren't complicated. Over the 1st two chords I like to emphasize the change from the 5 to the b5. This gives it a bluesy flavor. The next 3 chords are a minor 2--5-1. The bridge is a series of 1-6-2-5 changes just like the A section of "I Got Rhythm."  A playalong and chord sheet are available at Learn Jazz Standards.

"Bernie's Tune" was made popular by Gerry Mulligan and played frequently by players associated with the West Coast school. His version and another by Scott Hamilton are below.