Every Wednesday 7-10
If you are new to Blues Jams here are a few tips that will help you along the way.
1. When you get to the jam, introduce yourself. Let them know what instrument you play so that they can begin to think about who they will pair you with. Then, while you are waiting, listen to some great music and mingle with other musicians. This is a great opportunity to network.
2. By default, the singer is the bandleader on stage. That means they call the tune, signal the breaks and dish out the solos. If you sing, it's crucial that you know how to do this. The best way to learn is to watch others and listen. When in doubt, ask for help from someone that's done this before.
3. A solo is your opportunity to shine. In general, try and play something that fits the feel of the song. Also, try and keep one eye on the band leader during your solo. They may cut you short and you will want to see it coming. If you aren't paying attention, you'll miss the signal and step on the next guy. Finally, if you are not soloing, bring the volume down so the other soloists don't have to turn up so much to be heard.
4. Listen. Learn. Have fun. A blues jam is a great learning experience. But you get out of it what you are willing to learn. Don't go in with any preconceived notions. Ask a lot of questions. And listen to the guys and gals that have been doing this a while. Their advice and input is always worth the price of admission.
5. Be musical. That means ... listen to what's happening up there on stage. Don't just listen to your one part. Listen to the whole mix. The whole point of getting on stage is to provide entertainment. It's about the music, not some selfish goal. And you have to understand your part in the arrangement. This comes, first and foremost, from listening to the music you are trying to play. If you come out to the jam and you don't know the first thing about blues, then it's probably best if you listen for a while before getting up there. There are those that get it, and those that don't.
6. Know some blues tunes. The sure fire way to earn the scorn of the rest of the musicians in the room is to show up and call out a classic rock tune. Remember, the purpose of a blues jam is to perpetuate and relive a timeless American musical tradition with a group of other musicians who share the same goal. This leads to a controversial question: what is blues? Better to start with some Muddy or T-Bone before you start testing the boundaries.
What To Bring:
1. Bring your instrument. Make sure it's well maintained and ready to play.
2. Bring a tuner and tune up before you get called up on stage.
3. If you're a drummer, bring your own sticks.
What Not To Bring:
1. Do not bring your Marshall Half Stack. A blues jam is all mixing it up with other musicians. It's not about the equipment. So keep it simple.
1. In general, any 12-bar blues song that follows the standard I-IV-V chord pattern is a good call. Everyone will know how to pull this off. Click here for more information on what I-IV-V means.
2. Any blues song that stays on the one is also a good choice.
3. Any of the standards are also good (Sweet Home Chicago, Kansas City, Stormy Monday, etc).
4. If you bring your whole band up, feel free to choose songs that have a different arrangement. But remember, people have come to hear some blues. It is a blues jam after all.
5. If you follow these guidelines, you will get the most out of a blues jam. The other musicians will accept you as a peer. You will get more playing time. And if you are lucky, you will experience the pure magic that happens when the stars align on stage. It's truly a blessing that happens every once in a while.
Officially Sanctioned Event