This was the third acoustic blues jam I’ve led at Godfreys and it was a good one, though some tough plowing involved. Unfortunately, most jammers come for the jamming and are less able to front a tune to jam on. It’s different than other jams where folks come prepared to lead a song with other. So, I have to encourage others to take a song, but often it comes back to me to find a song to do. I often have more obscure blues tunes that depart from the more standard and familiar songs, so it’s a little uncomfortable.
Some new players tonight with various skills, and though the blues idioms and format are fairly obvious to a seasoned vet like me, the progressions and rhythms are not so. I find myself responsible for maintaining the groove and the progression so that we have a foundation to improvise over. That’s okay, but it is work.
I trotted out some subtle stuff like It’ll Be Me, Charlie James and others that vary from the norm and I hope to expand folks’ blues intelligences. I really enjoy the fact that the players step up when called on for leads, and the sensibilities of the other players to pull back, listen and accompany. That’s what I’m looking for, communication and respect.
I particularly like the fact that Jack, a high school player with electric chops, returned for the second time (with his parents and grandparents) to listen, play and learn. He’s facile with his leads but understands little of basic blues changes, the history of the blues and our obscure tunes, but he listens, absorbs and plays leads when called on. (We are a little concerned with the somewhat graphic nature of the lyric content) We have challenged him to come up with a tune to lead next session, and he agreed. Damn, that’s cool, in many, many ways.
This is an investment for me, for the club and this community, and it is a joy to pursue.