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Jam Sessions

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by davidsbass, Aug 26, 2012.


  1. davidsbass

    davidsbass

    Dec 5, 2010
    I know everyone says be ready to get your a$$ kicked, but How should I prepare for that? Should I be ready to call tunes, or should I be prepared to play tunes that will be called? Should I bring my own bass? Can someone just give me some key tips to know before heading over to a jam session that would help make it more of a valuable experience? (And also assist in me not making an idiot of myself going in there).
     
  2. jkramer5

    jkramer5

    Jul 14, 2008
    Fairfield, CA
    Try just going with no expectation of playing, just to check it out. There's usually a list for you to sign up, if it's crowded you may not get called.

    What kind of music gets played? I can hold my own at any blues type jam, the one I hit the most, half the songs I don't ever know by name, the guy that calls the song always states the key, progression type, etc so it's pretty easy to jump in and then grow the bass part beyond simple root notes after a verse.

    Most of all relax and have fun :)
     
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    As this is in the JAZZ TECHNIQUE forum, my guess is that the inquiry is not about "blues type jams".
    But the advice about falling by to check out the session before signing up to play is a good one. As far as whether or not to bring your instrument, it kind of depends on where you are in the world. Most joints up here have a limited amount of space, for example Smalls. Even if you're falling by after a gig with your bass there's a limited amount of space for taking it out of the bag and moving the one on the stand off and you get two or three cats trying to do that it's a big mess. So most folks put their bass in the storage room and use the bass on the stand. When I was living in East Bum**** GA, the clubs all had copious amounts of room and it was no problem having a couple of basses in the room (although there really weren't that many upright players).
     
  4. jkramer5

    jkramer5

    Jul 14, 2008
    Fairfield, CA
    Woops, jazz. Thought I smelled something. My advice is now... Go there, be all uptight, and prepare for a debrief about all your mistakes lol.
     
  5. davidsbass

    davidsbass

    Dec 5, 2010
    Yes this does apply to jazz jam sessions. But other than equipment, how do I prepare in regard to the tunes that are being played
     
  6. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Dec 13, 2009
    Seattle,Wa.
    First- go check out the session, see what tunes people are playing. Introduce yourself and talk to the players there. Get a feel for what THEY expect at THEIR jam session. Sessions are all different, with different expectations depending on the general level of players that attend that particular place.
    Second- if it seems like a friendly enough situation for you and your abilities go back in the next week or two armed with the knowledge that you gained in the previous week and..
    1. Sit in. Or....
    2. Just listen, and learn by doing that untill you feel more comfortable. Listening, by the way, is a highly underrated way of educating yourself about jazz.
     
  7. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Yes.

    Go listen. Figure out what sort of tunes people call. Meet the house bassist and be a fun hang. If they play gut and you don't, bring your own bass if there's room. If you play gut and they don't, don't vibe.

    If there are regular players who show up at the session who you like, get their numbers and line up a session in someone's house or practice space. Knowing a player before you hit the stand can make a huge difference.

    Also, anytime you get on the stand, introduce yourself. Just making basic niceties and whatnot makes the music better, always.
     
  8. Not yet

    Not yet

    Mar 26, 2012
    Really, be prepared for rude tude just like you see here
     
  9. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Dec 13, 2009
    Seattle,Wa.
    Yes, attitude does make a difference in how you will be percieved. It goes both ways.
     
  10. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Go hang out and watch a couple times. Get about 3 tunes ready that you can call, and when you get up there, politely suggest one. Make sure its something youve seen people play up there a few times.

    Sometimes there is nothing wrong with being a part of the herd. Expand your rep a tune or two a week. Smile, say nice things, take compliments graciously, and if someone offers you critisizm write down what they say and put it next to your music stand.

    For extra points bring a video camera and tape your jams so you can observe later.

    Oh one more thing.

    Every person you meet there, is a new friend. Learn something non musical about them that you can ask them about at a later date. It helps you remember their names, and their faces, and gives you something to talk about with them.

    I promise you this stuff works. Dont worry about being the best at first, just try to hang out.
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh, boo hoo.:rollno:
     
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Other than learn how to hear your way through a bunch of tunes?
    It kind of depends on the session. Where are you?
     
  13. davidsbass

    davidsbass

    Dec 5, 2010
    im in north jersey like twenty minutes from the gw bridge so I can get to manhattan pretty easily.
     
  14. JGoldberg

    JGoldberg

    Jul 10, 2011
    Westchester, NY
    There are a couple of sessions in your area that you might want to go to first. I think there is a one in Nyack. I forget who the bass player is- maybe Cameron Brown.
     
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    There's a pretty nice range of tunes called at the sessions at Smalls and Fat Cat, so it kind of depends on the depth of your repertoire. Again, having a good ear is going to get you through a lot of situations on the stand. More so than having 3 or 4 tuness ready to call; if nobody else on the stand knows or wants to play those 3 tunes, they won't get played.
    I still think the best advice is to show up a few times and hear what gets called - is it mostly standards, mostly Wayne tunes, mostly Benny Golson, Bird, what? Where does that lie in your comfort zone? If they are calling a bunch of tunes you know, jump on up. If you have never heard of any of the tunes they are calling, much less heard anyone play them, it may not be the session for you, right away.
    So give us a little more of your background, how long have you been playing, what kind of playing do you do know, who have you studied with, that kinda thing....
     
  16. pbass888

    pbass888 Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    New York, NY
    Also cleopatra's needle and smoke on the west side have some good players and sessions
     
  17. jordan2

    jordan2

    Apr 2, 2011
    I will repeat the going before you intend on playing advice, because its really good to get an idea of whats going on at the place before you play.
    At the session that I often go to the bass player lets people use his upright but I bring my electric. The songs that I notice getting called the most are medium tempos and a couple bossa's. I take my realbook (I'm usually one of the only ones with one) and if I don't know the tune I will just walk the changes from that. I find that the songs played are usually not extremely challenging.
     
  18. davidsbass

    davidsbass

    Dec 5, 2010
    I'm seventeen years old and I've been studying with Calvin Hill for the past 6 years or so. I would say that I am a pretty serious player in general, but I am still a learning student and I haven't had much performing experience outside of summer jazz workshops and stuff like that.


     
  19. davidsbass

    davidsbass

    Dec 5, 2010
    I'm seventeen years old and I've been studying with Calvin Hill for the past 6 years or so. I would say that I am a pretty serious player in general, but I am still a learning student and I haven't had much performing experience outside of summer jazz workshops and stuff like that.

    If anyone else could use this information to help me find an appropriate venue to attend a jam session in the North Jersey/ NYC area, I would be much appreciated.


     
  20. Holy ****. :help:
     

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