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Jam Experiences

Tom Capasso

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I had a pretty interesting set of experiences jamming this week.


Tuesday night I was part of a group that included a rusty drummer (who looked at my fingers when he started to loose it - he was OK), a tasteful guitarist I'd seen before, a tenor sax, and a Jamaican/rasta singer. First song was a slow blues that the singer made up words to the whole time leaving no room for the sax or guitar to step out. It went on a long time until the guitarist gave up and ended it.


Then Mr. Rasta says he wants to do some reggae. I can barely spell reggae, so I ask the guitarist if he knows "I Shot The Sheriff". He sort of does, and after I give him the chords, he's good to go. Mr. Rasta loves it, and we're off. Tenor sax knows the riff at the end of the verse, and it's going well. I get the sign from the guy running the jam that we're off when the song is done. In the second verse, Mr. Rasta waves us off to stop the song so he can "talk to his people". The jam leader figures we're done and starts to call the next set. Tenor sax disappears (told me later he was afraid of being hurt by Mr. Rasta's jumping around - Tenor got up later for "Pick Up The Pieces"). Mr. Rasta looked pretty ticked, so he let us finish the song (we started before Mr. Rasta could "talk"). I felt pretty good about helping keep the drummer in the right place, and playing with two other good musicians.


Overall the place had the feel of a bar - I had one guy (who was pretty "gone") ask "do you know how great it is that you can play music", and we did 15 minutes on music. He was nice, but I could only do that for so long.


Wednesday I went to the place I've been hanging for a few weeks (where I played once before). It's a blues club with lots of musicians, and a pretty cool place. I had played last week and felt pretty good, and the musicians are starting to recognize me (because of playing and chatting with them). I got there early and showed the house bassist the Aslin-Dane. He plugged it in and liked the tone, but not the 5 string or neck scale. We talked for a while about alternatives to his bass. I think his Bassline PUPs sound fine, but he uses two Cerwin 15" cabs. I told him to swap out one of the cabs for a 2x10. Then he started talking about scale length, and I told him I'd get him a list of inexpensive basses with a scale less than 34". Money seems to be an issue for him, so I have to keep that in mind. After all, I've got this forum and the internet for the research, and he seemed to appreciate it.


When it came my time to get up, I was with good players all around, including a harp/vocalist that likes to keep songs moving. In the second song, I was trying to do something different with rhythm, and while it wasn't off, I couldn't seem to get it to click. By the second verse I'm thinking I should be trying something else when Mr. Harp looks at me and calls out "walk!". I do what he asks, and it smoothes out nicely.


When the second song is done, I start to unplug when the house guy asks "who wants to see Mr. Harp play drums?". Everybody shouts "Yeah", and the drummer walks off, a female singer steps up, and the house guy tells me to stay on bass. OK! We do one song that has a funky lean to it, then a slow but punchy blues. I'm doing fine (both drummers were solid). The keys player (he had an outstanding B3 with Leslie patch) asks me what bands I play with, telling me how good it sounded. When I got off, one of the other harp guys I've been talking to started telling me how cool my lines were. I guess I did pretty well...


Definitely had a good time that night. Next week I'm going to bring my Gibson so the house bassist can see why he doesn't want one ;) . But Aslin Dane makes a bass with an "Alembic" style body (but smaller), round neck, and 33" scale that's pretty cool....





Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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