art of the jam 15
i was feelin' kinda beat down when i got to the wreck room for lee 'n' carl's invitational jam last night, but my night immediately got better when i saw jesse sierra hernandez moving his conga drums from his studio to the stage. i set up my gear and walked out into the bar, where my night got even better when i saw clay stinnett, drummer for ghostcar, history at our disposal, and prolly half a dozen other denton bands, sitting at the bar with a coupla buds. they'd been over at fred's and got bored, so they came to the wreck, where clay had (unbeknownst to me) heard some of the previous week's jam. i knew he'd been out of action for a few months, but i also knew that he'd recently bought a new set of drums. when i asked him about it, he informed me that he'd played a party the weekend before and still had his drums in the car.
so the night started out percussion-heavy, with clay set up center stage and joe cruz on the house kit. (next time, wreck room wizard o' sounds andre says we should set up both kits on the stage -- better balance that way.) a young cat named cody, who plays monday nights at the saffire lounge, showed up with an acoustic (his main axe) and a paul reed smith that wound up staying in the case for the night. it wound up being an acoustic-string-heavy night, too, when jesse's high school buddy fern and his pal jeff showed up with their nylon-strings. later on, darrell from confusatron and kyle aka monkey brainz from the spoonfed tribe showed up to add their electronic treatments to the stew. for the second set, pablo and the hemphill 7 bassist marcus lawyer joined in on some unamplified percussion. with all the musos and gear on the stage, andre started running out of inputs, so steve huber's violin went out sans his beloved pod effects (which is fine, imo, in keeping with the evening's preponderance of acoustic textures and the fact that if i had an instrument that sounded like that, i sure wouldn't put a bunch of f/x on it).
best of all, there was actually an audience -- probably more civilians than we've seen at the last month's worth of jams, in fact. (if you were one of 'em, please come back -- and _bring your friends_.) having ppl in the house always has a salutary effect on musos, and the large group brought out the best in jam-meister lee allen, who used his conductor's chops to structure and direct the goings-on in the moment. it could have been a clusterfuck, of course -- improv's always a crapshoot -- but luckily, everyone involved knew how to use their ears and leave space for others to fill. after a brief duo interlude by the nylon-string players, the rest of the musos returned to jam with them for a coupla toons and wonder of wonders, actually managed to regulate their volume to the point where the acoustic instruments weren't overwhelmed. there was plenty of interplay and nonverbal interaction, too -- and lotsa happy smiling musos. i haven't heard dre's recording yet (i've been trying not to bug him for jam tapes since he got back from colorado, but this time is gonna be an exception), but i'll prolly be skying on the endorphin buzz from last night until...well, until next wednesday's jam.
(p.s. -- things usually kick off at 9:30pm or thereabouts and run till 'round about midnight. sure, it's a school night, but as robert ealey usedta say, you don't get this everywhere.)