Easter Saturday Jam

I got invited to jam by an acquaintance of mine – a chap whom I bought a guitar from a couple of years back. He just told me to turn up to meet some friends of his at a jamming studio on Easter Saturday and to bring a guitar, so I did.

I was the first to arrive at the roughly 10 foot square jamming studio, and had the choice of amps. I homed in straightaway on a fairly new looking Marshall MG 100 head into 4×12 cab, thinking that would be a good choice and started into a five minute warm up, but couldn’t get over how *thin* the thing sounded, even when cranked; it really was a nasty tinny sound that I was quite surprised by.  I then turned my attention to the other denizen, a sad and homely looking Roland Jazz Chorus JC-160 4×10 – one big mutha of a combo that looked like it had seen better days. Lesson: do not judge a book by its appearances.  For a solid state amp, this thing put out some serious clean warmth. Despite it sounding like only one of the speakers out of four was working, I was so amazed by the warmer-than-Jim-Hall type sound coming out of it, that I immediately, upon returning home, started checking up on the thing and what it would cost to get one – the sound was *that good* coming from it. Sure, it ain’t a rock beast (the jam never called for that anyway) and my modded DS-1 into it sounded a bit thin, but it made up for that with its clean jazzy tones in spades and then some.   Sadly they aren’t made anymore and after the initial excitement had died down, I realized that I didn’t really want something that big in my tiny condo just for one sound. I might consider a JC-120 at some point in future, or explore the modeled versions in the Cube 60X that I have heard such good things about (the MicroCube RX version didn’t nearly knock the socks off me this thing did).

Anyhow, later on a whole bunch of folks arrived:

3 x guitarists (me, an Indian guy with a bottle green Strat from the mid sixties and an Elvis hair style, and the Leader [my acquaintance] who brought an Edwards LP copy and a Ceriatone head that sounded great.)

1 drummer (A chap named Jerry – solid powerhouse drumming)

1 bassist (this guy was like Flea, except Malay – an awesome player)

1 singer/percussionist (he had a tambourine and a shaky egg)

1 singer (sang just like Elvis)

1 flautist (a doctor during the day. I kept thinking ‘at bandcamp…’ everytime i looked at her…)

Jerry’s wife (who sat on a tiny stool behind the drums, wearing earplugs).

So – nine people in this tiny space that included all the kit (drums, keys, 4 amps, mike stands, music stands, cases, etc.) and as you can imagine it was a bit of a cram. 

It was also total chaos as you can imagine. Nobody knew the same songs as anyone else and the guy in the Lead was randomly calling out chords and stuff and saying ‘it goes like this: Dang Dah, Da Dah Doom Dahhhhh’ and thinking that this was a great way to teach the others the intricacies of the chord progression, bassline and melody all at once. The poor old flute girl was a bit overwhelmed surrounded by all these loud instruments and merely sat in the corner for the whole 3 hours, cowering, only to pop up when the Leader remembered her for 5 minutes and said ‘oh, let’s play your song’  which had this 32 bar non-repeating form which he tried to teach everyone on one single play through.

But things settled down after a while and we got a good bit of momentum going on a few numbers that were easy to learn – all guys got a chance to take solos (except Doctor Flute who was inaudible) and I got a chance to sneak a peek at some of the licks the other guitarists were throwing out, which were practiced idiosyncrasies (mainly blues) rather than my generic off the cuff pentatonic fest, which I must work on…

Gripes aside, I did have fun, and it’s always a good way to give yourself a reality check on how much you know and how good you are by being thrown in with musicians whom you’ve never played with before, be exposed to their foibles, having to be up to the task when someone shouts out ‘F minor 11’ three nanoseconds before the chord is due to appear and so forth.  I must say, I felt I did ok overall (hey – I *do* know how to play in Bb and Eb!) despite a couple of times of not knowing what the hell was going on, what chord it was, or even what key – but of course, I learned about a lot of holes in my skills which I will work on – that kind of thing is super valuable.  Not to mention though, despite the chaos, these were very, very talented musicians and all very experienced, so I always like to watch and learn from each one of them during these kinds of bashes and of course, I felt privileged to participate.

Chaos? Bring it on!


One Response to “Easter Saturday Jam”

  1. […] the window? I’ll give you 50 bucks for it… Denied. I wrote the other day about a jam session I had with an acquaintance of […]

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