I don’t often comment about this low-key monthly jam, but I’ve come to appreciate this opportunity to share music with some good friends, noodle on guitar/mandolin and play some of my repertoire. These sessions are an exercise in group think, and I end up being in charge. I guess that’s why I like it. I love to lead artistic excursions as a teaching artist, and this is simply an adult one.

We pass around new songs that we’re working on, some standards, and we pass around leads as it seems fit. I tend to keep things tight but I am willing to deal it out if it suits the tune. Communication.

There’s some solid players who know how to listen first. Listen. The songs develop as we play them, trusting in the front person to lay out the chord changes. Trust. And, as the song develops, we all figure out where we fit in, and, surprisingly, we come up with some inspired music. Improvisation. We also know when not to play. Humility. It is magic; the world disappears and we all get lost in the moment. (…at least, I do)

There were some really nice instruments passed around tonight and the evening almost descended into acoustic geek-speak. But it is the subtext of our social gatherings.

Voodoo Chile on mandolin sounded very cool with back up tonight, along with Mary Had a Baby, Zat You Santa Claus and I Saw Three Ships were a particular nice set of Christmas tunes for me. I relish playing these songs in the dark of year.

It was a good way to finish up a personally rough several days in the waning days before Christmas.