Andriy Tikhonov (left) along with Steve Montgomery, a director with the Grand River Jazz Society and sound engineer Jeremy Bernard tried a social/musical experiment on Saturday: they hosted an open jam for jazz and blues players at The Jazz Room in uptown Waterloo. And, TL;DR: it was terrific, another one is likely, you should go.
I caught wind of this via Jason White, my jazz-playin’ brother from another mother, in a Facebook post on Wednesday. And with scant details, I showed up and shot some pics, because as we always say here: if you like the work, support the work.
Speaking of support: if you dig my community-building work through these stories, please consider supporting it with your pocket change. My awesome patrons help me pay for the gear, software and services I need to get this work in front of you. Shout out with deep thanks to James, Ben, Michelle, Donna, Glenn, Chris, Vince, Ursula, Rob, Matt, Eric, Agnes, Jon, John, John, Jeremy, Karen, Cam, Daryl and Brent. If your name’s not on the list, high five somebody’s whose is: they sponsored this piece. Ok, on with the story!
I’ve intersected orbits periodically with The Jazz Room since it’s birth back in 2011 when I first met Stephen Preece (Pres. of the board of directors). Such was my enthusiasm for this great new thing, that I wrote several community-investment pieces including the building of this stage and the refurbishing of this piano, both shown above.
There’s violinist Erik whom I met on King Street a year ago. Click through for a substantially unreasonable number of pics…
Steve Montgomery of the Grand River Jazz Society which stewards The Jazz Room, welcomed the crowd.
And here’s sound engineer Jeremy Bernard. I’m not a hardcore audio person, but I’ve been to enough clubs to confidently tell you that this sound setup + Jeremy’s talent make this an absolutely top shelf listening experience. In addition to tuning the rig, Jeremy is also recording pretty much everything that happens at The Jazz Room, so bands can get pro recordings of their performances.
I have very few names of the players, but big respect for the talent. This crew kicked things off…
and something I liked right away…
was how informal this was, but still structured under Andriy’s guidance.
Andriy invited the assembled players to grab copies of the charts he suggested they might play that afternoon.
I’ve heard Andriy play here and at various places around WR. Respect.
A happy outcome of this jam format is that frequent breaks and figuring things out on stage allowed me to move around quite a bit more freely without disrupting things. Getting shots of the bass player on this small stage is challenge mode.
Good crowd for a sunny Saturday afternoon and a first go at this open jam.
Andriy mentioned that the first couple iterations of the jam are free-no-pay, but then they expect to do a cover-charge to help cover some costs. To keep overhead low, there are no servers on, so you need to walk downstairs to get a beer and bring it back into this space.
These guys with the jackets shoot well. Got that classic look.
Some sorting to be done and advice: if you want to do a particular arrangement/key/[musical term here] then bring five copies of your sheet music.
As a jazz outsider, it’s a bit amusing to hear the musicians talk about some songs as the ones everyone knows, because I know very few.
Andriy did a great job of coaching the players, some who may not have done open jams before. I like his friendly but firm approach.
This room shoots a bit easier in daylight with that ambient light from the windows.
How could I not take this shot with the light behind him, eh?
Hey, it’s Matt, whom you may know from his 8-foot snow sculptures in uptown west, the KCI pushup club or his daily walkin-to-work photos.
This fella was recruiting players to another open jam and left his contact info.
I took a lot of frames of this trombone player.
Another angle on Dave.
The trumpet player’s beer.
Got up close to see who was banging the drums with such authority. After the set, Andriy asked him where he was from and what he does: here and first year music at Humber. This is Liam. He’s played this kit before.
Call for a new bass player. The guy that hauled in the upright.
Photo-geekery: I was thinking about layers here.
New on piano.
And new on drums. This guy was tight.
These guys just met. Sounded great.
This guy shot really well.
Trombone. Great physicality to this instrument. And for me, the long straight lines of the instrument form interesting bisectors of the image and leading lines.
Switching up again.
And that was wrap.
Steve and Andriy.
Thanks to all the players. Hope to see you next time.
Speaking of next time, it’s not entirely clear how you stay in the loop on this jam, but I’m sure one of my faithful readers will leave a helpful comment.
This is us.