NG: I'm sure you have noticed how the Blue Monk sessions don't really function too effectively.There is lots of dead space, lots of awkwardness. As someone who frequents the sessions, and has far more experience with leading/running sessions than I do, how do you like to see jam sessions run? Alan Jones, who has set up the Blue Monk session, was saying that there are many different models that jam sessions could take, and i was wondering if you had a couple in mind that you think seem to work well.
|"Freebird? Is it in the Real Book?"|
The jam sessions I've seen in Portland are by and large pretty cool. There's always room for improvement. I like to go now and then, but I also like to play my own music. But jam sessions are a way to keep my chops and reflexes up when I'm not working so much.
NG: It does definitely gives me a lot to think about. I think when we announce at the beginning "come talk to me if you want to play", I think we should also start saying "have a tune in mind when you come up to play". I think the major weakness of people out here in Portland is knowing tunes, from what I've experienced. On the east coast people knew way more tunes, and if they didn't know a tune like "Just Friends" or "Black Nile" they'd be incredibly apologetic, then go home and learn it! at least, that's what i did/do.So i think that leads to all the "derp........ what do you want to play?" moments.It's really pretty frustrating. I was contemplating making a list of 20+ obviously essential jam session tunes that people could possibly take home and learn and have ready for the next session. Alan Jones has mentioned before though that lists don't seem to necessarily work out so well all the time.
|Drummer and educator Alan Jones|
GC: Believe me, trying to get people to do things like this can be frustrating. I think there are always going to be varying degrees of seriousness when it comes to musicians, especially at a jam session. It's harder than ever to motivate people nowadays. At least twenty years ago, you might get a nice gig or even a tour or a record date if you had your stuff together. Now, what is the motivation? There's so little guarantee of financial reward. You have to do it because you love it, because you can't rest until you learn those tunes, or master those changes, or whatever. That's why I did it. I was lucky that I got opportunities because of it.
|The great Ron Carter|