Wednesday, Feb. 27, 6:30-9pm OMJ @ Common Ground Middleton- with houseband: Hoffman, Erickson, Flowers and Lang + Essentially Ellington NYC bound players

Middleton High School and Sun Prairie HS top jazz bands are heading to NYC being 2 of 15 bands chosen in the US to compete in the Essentially Ellington Finals at Carnegie Hall.

Please join us as we accompany these fine young players and other community members developing their "improv chops"

All songs from the real book, any 12 bar blues-- let's have some fun music time together!

Feb 13, Wed, 6:30-9pm at Common Ground OMJ Jam Barba, Endres, Jesse & Lang houseband.

This week we have a great houseband with Tony Barba on sax, Matt Endres on drums, Vince Jesse on guitar and Laurie Lang on bass-- come and join in the music making, bring your instrument and the tune(s) you are working on. There is a sign up sheet -- bring your family and friends to listen. A keyboard will be provided for piano players.

An approach to learning a tune and ideas for soloing


  • What’s the melody?
    • Learn the melody on your instrument
    • Write scale tone numbers over the melody notes (Do - Ti = 1-7)
    • Learn to sing it with the numbers
  • Spell out the chords
    • Yeah …write out every note of every chord
    • play the arpeggios, play around with the notes of the chords
    • Look at the common tones from one chord to the next
    • Start on a chord tone and make “whole-note guide tone string through the whole song” Notice common notes and small steps from one chord to the next
  • Scales
    • What key is the tune in? does it move into different keys in some places?  Look for ii – V – I  movement
    • What scales work over the whole tune or sections of the tune?
    • Write that on your music and practice those.
  • Riffs
    • Identify Riffs in the melody that you like
    • Play the riff several times, each time changing it just a little bit
    • Transpose those riffs starting on different scale notes. Practice this.



  • Decide if it’s happy/sad, fast/slow, mellow/epic
  • Where do you start and how will you end? Come out: strong or start off: cool
  • LISTEN: then follow the stream, ride the wave, be brave, play WITH the band
  • Space vs busy—do you want dialog? or monolog?


In Madison these are friendly weekly and bi-monthly events

OMJ Jam follow  on FB,

Instagram: OurMiddletonJazzJam

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also check out:

Madison Jazz Jam  and Café Coda’s Saturday morning: Youth Jazz Expo

Feb. 13, Wednesday - OMJ Jam - Barba, Jesse, Lang & Sandoval

Join us for a great night with Memorial HS jazz band director and jazz musician, Tony Barba - saxophone Tony's website Vince Jesse - guitar Vince's Bass shop , Laurie Lang - bassist and jazz educator Laurie's website and Chris Sandoval - touring drummer and teacher Chris' web bio

Bring your instrument and your favorite tune to join in the music. Bring your friends and family to hang out and listen. Common Ground Middleton website