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  #1  
Old 02-24-2015, 03:26 PM
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Thaard Thaard is offline
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Default Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

So lately I have been going to jazz jams in the city I live in. It's hosted by the local jazz-college and most of the people there study jazz or have studied jazz.

Just watching all those young cats play incredible things was a real humbling experience for me and it inspired me to practice more and also gave me many good ideas. I also jammed on 3 songs last time, and I was really nervous but I made it through. Though I'm not a jazz drummer per se, it was also was a very good experience for me. Just going up from the crowd to play songs I've never or rarely heard, with people I've never played with before.

So if any of you are in a drumming rut, you should head out to some local jams and watch even play. It helped for me.

Anyone else had similar experiences?

Last edited by Thaard; 02-24-2015 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Yea, Its good to get outside the old comfort jone now and again, nothing like being on the edge to make you sharpen up.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:03 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

In your situation I would have been intimidated out of my drum shoes! To hop in on songs you don't even know in front of drummers who do that style all the time . . . not me.

I admire what you did.

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Old 02-24-2015, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Indeed, always great to play with people who are better than you (at least within the genre you're playing) if you can find folks willing to put up with you while you learn and improve.

Good on you for embracing a little vulnerability and putting yourself out there--you will likely reap huge benefits as a result.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Always fun for me, although I haven't really branched out past my local jam (where I've been participating for about 17 years!) There are some great players there, and while my chops aren't always put to the test, my musicianship definitely is.

Over the last 5 or 6 years, I've been hosting once a month with one guitar player (and usually the same bass and 2nd guitar) and he absolutely keeps me on my toes. Not only am I not familiar with some or most of the songs he pulls out of his hat, but even the ones I 'know' are often done in a different style, at a significantly different tempo, and with whatever arrangement happens to fit the lyrics he remembers. It's very spontaneous, a little scary, challenging, but always exciting and satisfying when I successfully get through the songs as if I know them. Regardless of not always knowing where the song is going, we usually groove pretty hard, and when there's an occasional train wreck, we have to confess "it's only a jam."

I highly recommend that everyone find a jam to experience some freshness and keep your minds sharp. If after a year or so you find the same guys playing the same songs, either invite some new talent, or find another jam. :)

Bermuda
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

There aren't many jams near me. There were jams a few years ago, then musicians seem to have lost interest. I can't figure it out.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

every time I venture out to the jams uptown cats are always calling tunes I don't know ..... and it's like .... here we go !

basically all I get is the title, the key , and then the tempo when the leader counts it off

in times like that I give a heads up to the bass player and get a real good dialog going with him verbally if need be through the tune

the beautiful thing about jazz is there is no right or wrong way to play a tune .... and as long as you are in the correct time sig you are welcomed to interpret the tune however you wish

and to be honest ... if you sit there and play spang-a-lang all night with these cats they will kick you off the damn stand ....hahaha... they want some passion... some creativity .... I heard a bass player say to one guy.... this ain't 1950 MFer

I'll never forget when Footprints got called one night ... a tune I have played a million times .... a Shorter tune in 3/4
for some strange reason I had a brain lapse and played the whole tune in 4/4
...the only person who noticed was the bass player.... cat was smiling at me the whole time and I figured out why later when he told me and I was like OH shit!!!
.... the piano player approached me after while having a few drinks and said something like.... hey I love what you did with Footprints tonight it sounded so out..... I was like yeah thats my shit
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:40 PM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
every time I venture out to the jams uptown cats are always calling tunes I don't know ..... and it's like .... here we go !

basically all I get is the title, the key , and then the tempo when the leader counts it off

in times like that I give a heads up to the bass player and get a real good dialog going with him verbally if need be through the tune

the beautiful thing about jazz is there is no right or wrong way to play a tune .... and as long as you are in the correct time sig you are welcomed to interpret the tune however you wish

and to be honest ... if you sit there and play spang-a-lang all night with these cats they will kick you off the damn stand ....hahaha... they want some passion... some creativity .... I heard a bass player say to one guy.... this ain't 1950 MFer

I'll never forget when Footprints got called one night ... a tune I have played a million times .... a Shorter tune in 3/4
for some strange reason I had a brain lapse and played the whole tune in 4/4
...the only person who noticed was the bass player.... cat was smiling at me the whole time and I figured out why later when he told me and I was like OH shit!!!
.... the piano player approached me after while having a few drinks and said something like.... hey I love what you did with Footprints tonight it sounded so out..... I was like yeah thats my shit
Spot on. Listen to this man, he knows what he is talking about.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

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Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post

and to be honest ... if you sit there and play spang-a-lang all night with these cats they will kick you off the damn stand ....hahaha... they want some passion... some creativity .... I heard a bass player say to one guy.... this ain't 1950 MFer
That made me laugh out loud ! haha!.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

It's happened to me many times and it's always a good learning experience. One particular sit-in with a jazz group at a local cafe when I was in my early-20s was what inspired me to start really playing jazz seriously. I had been a basement warrior and when a member of the band called me out for not cutting it while I was sitting in, I realized I couldn't learn everything I needed to know sitting at home, practicing alone. I went out and started gigging and realized how much I still had to learn.

It's good to have that bubble burst now and then.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

The only problem I've had, is that most of jazzers are a tight knit group, and it's sometimes hard to get to play with them. I've managed to play 3 tunes in one night out of the 4-5 times I've been there. Other times, they are just replacing the musicians amongst themselves, leaving me and the others having to wait.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

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Originally Posted by Thaard View Post
The only problem I've had, is that most of jazzers are a tight knit group, and it's sometimes hard to get to play with them. I've managed to play 3 tunes in one night out of the 4-5 times I've been there. Other times, they are just replacing the musicians amongst themselves, leaving me and the others having to wait.
pretty much the norm anywhere you go

and equally irritating everywhere indeed
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  #13  
Old 02-25-2015, 01:38 AM
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alparrott alparrott is online now
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

I agree with Bermuda and Tony; a jam is where you can challenge yourself, get out of the comfort zone, and really see where your seat-of-the-pant musical instincts lie.

True enough, anyone can do spangalang or shuffle-shuffle through a song, but can you lock in with three unknown fellas and make it burn? Can you catch the little things that make it musical instead of recitation?

Tony, I can totally identify with getting the title, the key, a quick count and off we go! Although this one guy I've ended up on the stage with a few times doesn't even bother to count off, he just starts playing....

At least its a jam, not an audition -- although if you do well enough, it could serve as one...
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:14 AM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

I was playing at a jam session in Berkeley back the day that was being hosted by Donald Baily (Jimmy Smith /John Coltrane).

Not so match getting your ass kicked ,but somebody pointing out your bad habits in the middle of a jam.

I was playing high hat and he said use the ride cymbal ,that ain't working.

Now if I had the balls to walk in the Baked Potato and have at it.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:15 AM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Went to a jam, the drummer for the house band was stuck in traffic, i'm the only drummer there so the sax player looks to me and says "let's play", I use some cheap cymbals that happened to be at the club and a regular chair. Sax player turns and says "let's do stella in 7" oh boy, I...survived...just barely, but yeah, it was a great learning experience, I encourage everyone to go to jams whenever possible.
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  #16  
Old 02-25-2015, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Thaard, you are quite brave!!

I've got to get out there myself at some point.
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  #17  
Old 02-25-2015, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

There's nothing better (and no worse feeling) than coming home from a jam that kick your ass. It can sometimes be demoralizing.

For me though, I just plain old don't know what I need to work on the most until I [i]have[i] to do it in a jam. I just realized a week ago that I can't do uptempo straight blues jams at all (like ~175-180bpm).
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Old 02-25-2015, 08:47 AM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Andy at a jazz jam - hahahahahahahahahahahaha ---------- FAIL!

Nearest I came to a cold jam recently was on stage prior to a multi band gig. The Troy Redfern band (trio) were on stage waiting for the drummer to arrive. I was on the same bill, & my kit was being used as backline. Troy was messing around on guitar for ages - no drummer - so I got up & started to play (thinking he'd just continue in the same relaxed playing vibe). Well, as soon as I started, he turned up the tension & really went for it. Bass player joined in too, playing one of their original songs. I started to feel the pinch. Both Troy & the bassist are red hot players. I think I got away with it, & Troy said he enjoyed it. Personally, it felt a bit "clunky" to me.

As for getting "ass kicked", I'm proudly standing as the most shit drummer ever to dare play in the jam band at the London Drum show after party. All involved where very kind & supportive, but to get up with the likes of Yolanda Charles, in front of some of the worlds best drummers, & play directly after someone like Nicolas Viccaro has just vacated the driving seat is just - well, y'know.
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Old 02-25-2015, 08:55 AM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post

I'll never forget when Footprints got called one night ... a tune I have played a million times .... a Shorter tune in 3/4
for some strange reason I had a brain lapse and played the whole tune in 4/4
...the only person who noticed was the bass player.... cat was smiling at me the whole time and I figured out why later when he told me and I was like OH shit!!!
.... the piano player approached me after while having a few drinks and said something like.... hey I love what you did with Footprints tonight it sounded so out..... I was like yeah thats my shit
Well, you're in good company--Tony superimposes 4/4 over most of the tune on the classic Miles Smiles version (he starts in three, but eventually goes into a fast four, so that Ron Carter's bass line sounds like it's in half note triplets). Maybe you were channeling that...
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:08 PM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pgm554 View Post
I was playing at a jam session in Berkeley back the day that was being hosted by Donald Baily (Jimmy Smith /John Coltrane).

Not so match getting your ass kicked ,but somebody pointing out your bad habits in the middle of a jam.

I was playing high hat and he said use the ride cymbal ,that ain't working.

Now if I had the balls to walk in the Baked Potato and have at it.
If you had any self respect you should have said "I am the drummer on this one and its working for me" lol.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

It's funny some of the crap you guys have to go through. My whole experience with open jams, in a nutshell: they wanna keep me there drinking all night and when I do finally play, it's only two or three songs before the house drummer pulls me because I'm musically kicking his ass. :)
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

yeah open jams are an "interesting" experience. I always find I know every song all night, until I get up for my 3 songs, and then they are 3 I've never heard of, and I come off like an idiot. lmao.

and some might as well be a closed group. But if you can find a good one, with some cool people, it can be great fun and great for making contacts in your local scene. Plus if you don't have any stage experience, its great for that too.
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eddypierce View Post
Well, you're in good company--Tony superimposes 4/4 over most of the tune on the classic Miles Smiles version (he starts in three, but eventually goes into a fast four, so that Ron Carter's bass line sounds like it's in half note triplets). Maybe you were channeling that...
yeah.... I've listened to those Europe live in '67 discs so much that it is just what came out of me I guess

everyone dug it.... but if I am honest it was completely unintentional
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Old 02-25-2015, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

http://youtu.be/1Zn-P0ZH3_M?t=4m32s

I think this about sums this up.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deltdrum View Post
http://youtu.be/1Zn-P0ZH3_M?t=4m32s

I think this about sums this up.
Excellent! I think we can all relate to that at some point in our journey ;)
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Old 02-26-2015, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

My worst experience has been auditioning for a guy who wants to do a heavy blues type band, where I had to audition songs Ball & Biscuit (White Stripes), Just Got Paid (ZZ Top) and Numb (Gary Clark Jnr). This was before I had any residential space to practice before hand so I went in virtually blind.

It was terrible. I;d just got back into drumming and there I am one month in playing a genre I hated many years before, with a grade 8 guitarist who had all the gear and some idea to go with it. Other than Ball & Biscuit I could not keep up with anything. It was embarassing.

That inspired me to get a rehearsal space of my own sharpish so I could play through stuff, and then further on I started charting stuff where necessary. I've tried to get back in touch with this guy as he is still looking for a drummer and despite my assurances he does not want to give me a second chance. Still, were it not for him I could have ended up down a really bad path musically.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: Going to jams and getting my ass musically kicked is a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thaard View Post
Just going up from the crowd to play songs I've never or rarely heard, with people I've never played with before.
One week, we advertised our jam night as follows: "Come and play songs you've never heard, with people you don't know." It hasn't been going long, maybe 6 months, and it started off pretty slowly, but it's grown and grown and most people come back.

I would never have thought I'd have the confidence or ability to do that, but I've surprised myself. There have been some gut-wrenching disasters but equally, there have been times when I've played with complete strangers and we've held the room in the palms of our hands. And there have been plenty of times when I've thought "Gosh, I had no idea I could even do that!"
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