Inside a jazz workshop: Week 9

Well, this week I might not have been able to touch my toes but I was at least cool and dry having taken my own advice and skipped yoga.

Class ambled to a 7.30 start, it's many things but precision engineered? Not so much. This week was a re-capper on the last 8 weeks of tunes in preparation for  'the gig' next week. It seemed like lots of people were missing last night but thinking back perhaps it was only a few familiar faces absent as we worked out who had which music and what was missing. It highlighted how easy it has been for people to come and go from the classes and join at any point in the series of sessions.

With a vague sense that we knew what we were doing we kicked off with the first tune we covered in Week 2 'Blue Bossa' - goodness that seems like a long time ago. Unusually for class solos were limited to a few different people in each number with the guitarists and pianists rotating from number to number. As I didn't play on everything it was difficult to judge how much better I was than when I started but I did at least feel I had a sense of what should be happening in each tune and could remember the techniques we'd touched on.

When my turn to solo came around all my good intentions of playing the changes sunk as I first missed my entry then floundered to find the right scale to work around but in the middle eight I did manage to anchor myself and slowly eek a tune out of the quagmire by just sticking to the roots until I recovered myself for the final A section. Everyone else in the class got a turn at soloing on one tune or other with some great stuff from the guitar players and no real howlers from anywhere else which has to be a good sign that the class has helped us all along the path to improved improvisation.

This week, determined to finally report back on the jam session I stayed on. The band played a few numbers, just to remind us all how it's really done, then opened it to the floor. Standards, workshops tunes and party pieces all got equal air time. There was a really nice mix of players, experienced and less so, all making music together. Even I braved the stage to play along with the band on a number and it wasn't so scary. It's an oddly non competitive atmosphere where strangers can come together and generally help each other to create something new and engaging. Is it very old fashioned of me to find that idea really rather lovely?  

Next week we'll spend the class forming a collection of small ensembles who will play the various workshop tunes at a performance between the class and the jam session so if you're thinking of joining the next series of workshops and want to have a listen to what we've done this time around do come down to the Hideaway from 8.30. Maybe even stay for the jam and play with us?