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 https://www.facebook.com/OMJJam/,

Instagram: OurMiddletonJazzJam

wordpressBlog : https://improvmusicworkshop.wordpress.com

also check out:

Madison Jazz Jam  https://madisonjazzjam.org/  and Café Coda’s Saturday morning: Youth Jazz Expo https://www.facebook.com/events/2212127555773061

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


Wednesday, January 23, 6:30-9pm, OMJ Jam, Common Ground - Middleton

Houseband will feature: Sally de Broux - on the big tone, Sarah Vaughan vocals, Cliff Frederiksen - (George Benson-like) guitar/vocal, Laurie Lang - bass and Chris Sandoval - drums

We will warm up the stage will some blues and some extended vamps to solo over, then invite others to join us. There is always a sign up sheet, bring your favorite tune and your instrument, we'll make some fun music.

Common Ground serves good family food and drink and you can even get a beer and nice fries. No Cover.

Jan. 23 - Wednesday - 6:30 -9pm more blues and extended vamps for improvisation exploration.

a Great houseband will set up some good foundations for improvisation. Plan to join us for music and community jazz hangout.


Jan. 9th, Wednesday 6:30 -9pm OMJ will feature the sax of Chance Stine and the music of John Becker at the Common Ground in Middleton

We will play tunes from the Real Books. Improvisation will focus on vamps - small, repeated sections of music to "blow" over.

Come ready to play or just listen-- GREAT place to hang out and meet friends.


January 9th - OMJ Jam - Chance Stine & Friends

Chance Stine (saxophone) just graduated from University of Michigan and will lead the jam, Wednesday, January 9th, 6:30 -9pm with his line up of amazing young musicians.


Dec. 26 OMJ at Common Ground 6:30 -9pm

Dec. 26 we will feature Jim Erickson - piano, Chance Stine - sax, Chris Sandoval - drums, Laurie Lang - bass. That night the jam will feature holiday songs of your choice -- please bring charts or free flow on stage with well known tunes.

here is a chart for Jingle Bells that will be fun to jam on together.


Dec. 20 - Jazz Residency Concert - Jefferson

IMG_05539:30am at Jefferson Middle School the Madison Jazz String Quintet will perform with students from Jefferson and director, Carol Jenkins. Chris Wagoner - violin, Jon  Vriesacker - violin, Mary Gaines - cello, Laurie Lang - bass, John Becker - piano and drums /percussion. Through a grant provided by the Madison Jazz Society and the MMSD  teachers, students and area jazz artists unite to learn more about jazz, jazz history and work on ways to grow as an improving musician. Students will perform and improvise on a Duke Ellington blues and a John Coltrane modal arrangement of My Favorite Things.  The MJSQ will offer some other fun winter themed songs.