I finally made it down to Andy’s fine jam in Riegelsville tonight. I’ve been really wanting to go for the last 4 or 5 months and I’m finally feeling my oats after my hip operation. It’s a nice community jam with a mix of good amateurs and seasoned pros, and Andy and Nadine (his right hand stage manager) run a fairly tight ship, and have to deal with a bar/food situation when there could be lots of chatter. There is some, but in control.

In fact, one of the challenges for me is to bring the audience to attention. I live for these situations. It was good tonight.

I did the set before the feature, thanks to Andy, with a good crowd, including some younger kids, old regulars and other players. I led off with Santa Assassin, solo to get folks attention with the simple blues progression. The audience caught on after the first verse and then they were mine. Andy moved in on the lead (I wanted to set up the song solo for the first two verses) and we headed for the bridge. Simple and direct. Good opener.

I followed with Zat You, Santa Claus and invited up Dan, a very cool bass player, with Andy. Both had never played this one before, but I have learned to trust the really good players to figure it out on stage, especially since I can lead a song with my strong rhythm chops. I did the vocal trombone, with audience participation, with Andy’s lead following. Great audience vocals on the “Zat You’s”.

I moved to Mary Had a Baby, with its strong rockin’ drive, and both Dan and Andy jumped in, again, having never heard the tune. I felt great standing and playing strong. Boy, I’ve missed doing this for so, so long. The boys had their ears on for this one, it’s not a simple song, and we really nailed my ending. Bang. A wonderful response, and a quiet audience to start with and a clapping, singing crowd at the end. Mission Accomplished (too bad Bush spoiled that term… )

Andy came up afterwards and thanked me for playing and saying that he really likes the challenges I give him at these sessions. I told him that it’s trusting in your friends. We leap off the cliff together…. A good night in PA.