SO WHY DO WE NEED RULES?
As the jams sessions have
grown, a certain level of professionalism and musicianship is necessary to sustain a high level of quality
music we present to the public. We don't want to wear out our welcome in the venues where we perform week after
week. We want to present this great music competently so that people walking in and hearing Real Jazz for the first
time will hear it to best advantage. In other words, we
want them to want to come back!
Bob Balogh, our house guitarist, has, with other musicians,
drafted what we feel is the most effective set of ground rules. These allow us to keep
the jam sessions growing, both in the musical sense, and in popularity with our potential local jazz audiences. At this
point, we are presenting:
REQUIREMENTS AND RULES FOR JAZZ GROOVE JAM SESSIONS
Jazz Groove Jam Sessions are different
from many of the jam sessions you've attended. We are an educational session, both for the players, many of
whom are still expanding their repertoire, and for the audience who are themselves NOVICE Jazz Listeners. Thus, we
normally refrain from 'cutting contests' where a string of soloists, each taking multiple choruses, stretch the playing
of one song to 40 minutes or more.
We are also a repertoire jam session, playing different styles of Jazz,
hybrids of Jazz and other music, including some World Music, and Jazz from different stages/eras of its development.
Primarily, we play a lot of Bebop, Hard Bop, Bossa and Standards. This reflects the prevailing taste of the musicians
who participate. A different mix of musicians will produce a different sound. We establish a stylistic concensus
and run with it, tune by tune.
Finally, due to the sound characteristics of the spaces in which we perform, especially
the Sunday Jam Session at PJ's Coffee, we have to be very, VERY careful of volume. With that in mind, here are the rules.
Please review them periodically and follow them so that we will have
a consistently high quaility of music.
These jam sessions are about mutual respect for all of the players. We are striving
our utmost to improve our playing. In these jams, we work hard to improve one anothers' abilities to improvise, read,
LISTEN, and 'comp' each other in the best way possible. We strive to showcase each soloist in the best light, and in
a manner appropriate to the repertoire, mood, style and genre in which the soloist is playing.
We perform BeBop, Hard Bop, Swing, Traditional Jazz, Bossa/Samba, Fusion and Latino Jazz. We experiment hybridizing
Jazz with other genres such as Reggae, High Llife and other World Music. We also furnish Jazz treatments to compatible
tunes from the Rock and R & B repertoires. Finally, we encourage original Jazz compositions and arrangements.
FUNDAMENTAL REQUIREMENTS FOR INSTRUMENTALISTS AND VOCALISTS
Players must have:
1. Basic knowledge of chords and be able to follow
the changes in the Real Books.
2. New Soloists must be prepared to perform
3 tunes either from RealBooks 1, 2
or 3 or from memorization.
3. At least a rudimentary ability to improvise arpeggios, scalar passages or other
ornamentation in accordance with the chord changes within a given tune.
4. Vocalists must have 5 copies of the lead wheet of the 2 or 3 songs
they are prepared to do in their key. Otherwise they must be prepared to do
their number in the key that appears in the RealBooks or the Warner Brothers
RULES OF ETIQUETTE
1. Do Not interrupt players
while they are in the middle of a tune. Let them
finish before talking with them.
2. Don't solo too many choruses. 2
choruses are recommened for medium tempo,
1 chorus for slow and 3 choruses for fast.
The Moderator can waive these
rules depending on circumstances and venue.
last number of the jam session, "There'll Never Be Another You," only
1 chorus per solo.
4. Horn and guitar players take special note here: Don't
crowd the soloist
out; that means:
(A) No jumping in or
soloing over or in the background.
(B) Loud riffing, melody statement or countersoloing
behind a soloist is not
(C) Discreet obligato or riffing behind a soloist must first pass muster with
the House Band prior to execution. It means, ASK PERMISSION FIRST!
5. Lay out when directed.
6. No "Noodling" between numbers. Keep your practice at home. The only
"Noodling" allowed is for the Moderator or House Band guitarist to fill dead
7. Listen to and follow the directions of the Jam Session Moderator as per: solo
order, volume, tempo, time signature, whether or not to let a vocalist perform
and opening routines.
8. If someone calls a tune and specifies a specific tempo and mood, do not
take it upon yourself to change that tempo or mood mid-song. Please refer to
9. When trading "4's", "8's", "2's", "1's"* ( * chase chorus
"16's" or "playing the Bridge", be aware of the sequence of
who's playing and
when and stick with it! If you don't know
to what this all refers, please ask
the Moderator or House Band guitarist.
10. When ending a tune, look to the Piano, Guitar or Bass chair of the House Band
cues. Common ending types are:
(A) '3rd Time's The Charm' Ending ( A variant of
this is the 'Broadway' Ending )
(B) 'Sudden Death' or 'Stop On A Dime' Ending
- Everyone cuts off, suddenly.
(C) 'Fade' Ending, where the players play a
vamp pattern or continure to
repeat the last few bars of
a tune, decreasing in volume until virtually
(D) 'Amen!' or 'Oh Yeah!' Ending - similar to Louis Armstrong at the end of
"It's A Wonderful World", but done with instruments.
Again, if you're not familiar with this, ask the Moderator or the House
11. Play only one instrument at a time unless you've gotten permission
Moderator. Hackneyed, 'Silly Putty' gimmackry and other shoddy hucksterism
demeans both musicians and audiences and is not tolerated.
If you intend to bring in an oversized instrument and/or oversized amplification,
MUST notify the moderator no less than 48 hours in advance at
732-325-7464 either live
on phone or via text message. Failure to follow this
procedure will result in not
being allowed to participate in the session.
13. Professional courtesy and decorum
will be observed at all times by the house
band members and guest performers.
14. The Moderator of the jam session will be the final arbiter
of all issues.
By following these rules we will continue to develop artistically and
grow our friendly listening audience.
rules have been selected and adapted from many different sources. They do not represent completely original