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Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Axtman, Apr 19, 2019.
I am starting a jazz jam at a local bar. What tips do you have and issues to avoid? Thanks!
At a bar? Schedule it on Tuesdays from 2pm to 4:30pm. Advertise it on your local NPR station.
A noble quest. Keep us posted how it goes. Upright? What are you playing?
@twinjet might be able to weigh in here.
Man with No Intelligent Advice
I will play my EUB. The stage at the bar is rather small.
I’d suggest you need a playable beater bass and amp that you don’t mind people abusing somewhat for starters. Either that, or a left handed fanned fretless 7 string bass tuned in fifths, so noone will touch it.
Advertise at your local college music departments. I suspect that's where the majority of your participants will come from.
If you don't,you will be "handed your hat"
Oh great! NOW you tell me! ;-)
Yes sir! I know a lot about jazz and have been playing in a jazz band for years. Oh, and I love jazz too.
Another place to go is local music directors at schools. They were music majors, so you know there will be a certain level of ability, and after spending their days with kids, they may want some more "adult" entertainment.
Form a core group to carry the band in case no one shows. Have a core repertoire of tunes. Advertise. Don't vibe new players.
Not much else I can think of.
Just a suggestion, but it might be a good idea to have one session for less experienced players and one session for more experienced players. That way you don't intimidate the less experienced players or frustrate the more experienced players.
Use a real upright, unless you want to be the only bassplayer all night.
You need to know solfedio.
Have a solid house band in place. Just a trio works (bass, drums, and a chord player like guitar or keyboard/piano). Pay these guys!!! In case nobody shows up to jam there will still be good music. House players, including yourself, need to let others play their gear. Many jazz bassists might not want to play an electric upright. So they’ll either bring their own bass or probably won’t sit in. Probably.
Other advice; be willing to encourage beginners to join in, and at the same time be willing to thank people and ask them to leave the stage if need be.
Edit: make a list of standards to choose from. Have a sign in sheet so you can call people up in order.
Generally the way it happens around here:
There's a house band that does the first set. Bassists don't tend to bring their own instruments because of the space issue, so whatever you're playing will be the house bass. (although bass guitarists will likely bring their instrument). If you are using guitar, then you're not gonna get pianists to show up. If you're the master of ceremonies for the evening, IT'S YOUR JOB to make everything go smoothly. If it's a small session and you know everybody there, then you can play it kind of loose and just call cats up to play. DON'T LET EVERYONE PLAY ON EVERY TUNE. If it's a large session and there are folks you DON'T know there, HAVE A SIGN UP SHEET. You need to know WHAT INSTRUMENT and WHAT TUNE they want to play AND you don't have 6 tenor players blowing on the same tune. You're gonna have to keep an eye on the time and the number of folks waiting to play; if there are only a few folks on different instruments then you can bring up more people to play on a single tune and they can play more tunes, but if it's a lot of people and mostly only one or two different instruments, folks may not have a chance to play more than one or two tunes.
BE KIND TO YOUR RHYTHM SECTION. If there aren't a lot of section players showing up (bassists sometimes have it particularly hard), don't keep your drummer or chordal instrument on stage all night. Give breaks.
KEEP THE HOUSE BAND CLOSE - if things start to degenerate, you can re establish control by bring the house band back up to perform an obscure tune that you have arranged out the wazoo to keep Erstwhile Ingenues in their seats.
AND FOR MITHRA'S SAKE - DON'T LET A TUNE GO ON FOR 20 MINUTES. Don't nobody want to hear that.
And just a caveat - if James Carter shows up , his first chorus will be everything you just played verbatim, his second chorus will be all of that double timed and, when he gets bored with that, he'll show you how the tenor is SUPPOSED to sound....
Tell everybody they have to play in 5/4 time.
If you're making a Jazz jam, please use fresh Jazz, also - be sure to boil it down an adequate amount of time to allow the natural pectins to set.
I would carry extra charts too. Some folks don't own a book yet, others might forget. CYA.
Not sure I agree. It's all about consensus, if somebody doesn't know the tune, they really shouldn't be playing it. If it's the house section, then you can always wave off the tune and LEARN IT FOR NEXT TIME. But for cripe's sake, call something everybody knows.
Actually, my initial statement isn't accurate. I'm sure I don't agree, no equivocation necessary.
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