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  • Bob Roper wrote on January 07, 2011 report

    I'm aware of the dark side of "jam" sessions, and think the description is accurate, if exaggerated by concentrating all the BS into one visit. I like the music, but not bars, drunks, egomaniacs, or the overly insecure. I played in hundreds of good jam sessions in NYC, by simply playing with talented musicians in rented rehearsal studios. I had about fifty people for each instrument, mostly working professionals, and we'd each pay $15 or so to rent a beautiful studio, with amps, Steinway piano, drums and music stands, for three hours. Everything rotated clockwise around the room: solos, and being the one to call a tune and direct its performance. We used Real Books, and several other fake books, and all were expected to transpose for their instrument and do their best to play and solo on whatever was requested. We'd also do originals, if charts were provided, as often happened. These sessions became so popular that I could always get a substitute player if anyone canceled, and drew from lists that had many full time professional players. I chose replacements for ability, and this is what made everyone grateful to get my call. Attendance was limited to eight musicians, and non-playing guests were never brought, though no one ever forbade it.

    It's absurd to tolerate bad playing conditions and not attempt to create an alternative. So, there's no big money in jazz, except for a select few. (Would you stop playing if you thought you'd never get paid for it?) This is how I've dealt with it, and reaped a musical profit. Money and alcohol are only tied to music through the manipulations of the parasitic psychopaths who (if you do careful research, you'll find) run every institution. The liberating quality of jazz has thus been overshadowed by all the idiotic social phenomena described in the article.

  • Alexei Zoubov wrote on July 25, 2012 report

    Funny and sad, but mostly true.

    Here is my own feeble take on jams:
    alexeiz.com/blog/2009/02/soup-kitchens-and-jam-sessions/