Jam for the Soul

Jam Session 2017Yes, one more time, what is it about jam sessions that’s so good for the soul and everything else. You’ve seen me talk about it, you can find my articles about it, this unique gathering of young and old, students and pros, female and male, black, brown, and beautiful, fosters learning, creativity, networking, friendship, and most of all pure joy. Last Sunday we started our B’town Jazz Jam Session spring series culminating in the Future of Jazz Concert on April 9. Every Sunday from 4-6pm, the Players Pub opens their doors for us and with support from B’town Jazz, the Smithville Foundation, the Musician’s Union, and Jamey Aebersold, we’re able to supply a rhythm section and a special pro coach every week and make it a free event. The type of mentoring and learning during a jam session is unique and can’t be replicated in any classroom. Every time I watcImage may contain: 2 people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments and indoorh those special moments when the adrenaline from being in front of an audience hits, when musical magic happens, when failure turns into a learning experience, when new friendships form, and when confidence grows. When we first moved to the US, specifically to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I knew I had a lot to learn. Every Sunday evening, I drove our blue Datsun to Birmingham’s Club 98 for the weekly jam session. And every Sunday I learned so much from the seasoned players who were gracious enough to let me observe and participate and eventually I was hired by vocalist Countess Felder to back her up every weekend, Friday and Saturday, 7-11, at the Embassy Suites in Birmingham – my personal Jazz University.

For our first session this year, Director of Jazz Studies at Utah State University, Jon Gudmundson – also fellow alumn of the IU Jazz Department and frequent performer with our band BeebleBrox in the 90s – was our spImage may contain: 1 person, concert and indoorecial guest. He encouraged the 20+ horn players in attendance to come up on stage, helped create background figures, and when some of them got lost in the form, gently nudged them back to the top. The grand finale was a Blues with players lining up beyond stage capacity – it was a glorious start – here is a video taste.

If you are anywhere close to Bloomington, please join us for the rest of the season, 4-6 pm on Sundays @Players Pub – as players, as friends, as audience members – and contribute to the creative community building. Here is the line-up of guest artists – yes it includes grammy winners and nominees, NEA Jazz Masters, some of the world’s leading jazz artists:

1/29 Wayne Wallace

2/12 Jamey Aebersold


2/26 Tom Walsh

3/5 Oliver Nelson Jr

3/26 Frank Glover

4/2 Ingrid Jensen