Category Archives: Jam session

Chet Baker Songbook Project

So this project started after my daughter Holly took her own life. I had just started learning “you don’t know what love is” I started listening to more Chet Baker and learning more of his songs. He seems to have a particular voice for tragedy and led a tragic life himself. 6 months later I have a full evenings performance worth of songs he either sung or played. I feel a particular connection to Holly when I play the songs as she was an accomplished singer herself. The sets will be dedicated to Holly.

Heres one. 

Now I am bringing in other musicians, a trumpet player, a guitarist. At first, it was going to be the standard trio of piano bass and drums with a trumpet player. Now I am exploring replacing the drums with a guitarist, thinking that will give us a more intimate and mellow sound.

Next step is finding promoters and venues to take us on.

Why come to a jazz jam session?

Jazz means improvising. Jazz is a universal language. A bunch of people who have never met before getting in a room and playing together. Its when the magic happens. They have to listen, they have to find the tunes they have in common. The one who calls the tune has to trust that the changes and the rhythm are gonna sit there for them. They start the tune and it all feels a bit different so they adapt and respond and change. There is a basic etiquette and they all know how it goes. That gives the safety of the platform for creativity.

A jazz jam session is where beginners can rub shoulders with seasoned professionals. Come with a jazz tune you know well enough to play the tune and a chorus of solo. Bring a chord chart for the bass player and drummer. Be prepared to count it in. Thats it! Play the tune, play your solo then step back and let the band take over. Any other lead instruments will also solo as will the pianist and the bass player. The band may even trade fours with the drummer. Then get ready to come back in with the tune. You can even have a way to end it which you may be able to telegraph to the drummer but remember – this is not an arrangement, its a jam session. Anything can happen, so be prepared to throw all your plans out the window and just listen and play.