Hi guys, doing something a little different this week. I must climb the mighty soap box to say what must be said! It regards the back line, the rhythm section and our importance in the songs that get played every week.
As you know I am a drummer, and the drums are an accompaniment to the music, not the star. I am there to create a metaphysical grid for the music to hang on, creating a frame work for the music to fit into in tempo in time. I consider what I do a service to the music and the foundation of any good music is the bass, drums, rhythm guitar ect. My message this week is aimed at the leads that use us to play the songs they want to play.
Don’t take for granted what a great rhythm section can do for your song selection. I love the lead guitar and vocals, however I get bent out of shape when the lead takes two or three solos and doesn’t even give a nod to all the other players on stage. Also, give other players an opportunity to give song suggestions. You may not know the song, but it is democratic and that always feels better to me.
As a developing musician and percussionist, an opportunity to solo is a great exercise and avenue for development and growth musically. If I have a night when I don’t even get an opportunity to solo, I feel I am being robbed of a great part of my musical development. Sometimes I can’t wait to solo, other times I am not feeling it and throw the solo away or deflect the opportunity; however I feel equally respected if I get the opportunity at all. And this isn’t aimed at any one person directly, this is something I have observed from my two years playing at the jams, so relax, this is in general, the names have been changed to protect the innocent! And if I have had a conflict with you, it is between you and me, and most likely no one knows about it any way as I never name names of people that I have had a conflict with, it’s between us and I do the best I can to keep these issues private.
Long story short, I good rule of thumb is if you are leading a song and are planning on taking one or two extended solos, give other players an opportunity to make a musical statement as well. Then the music has more to say from different musical perspectives, where every instrument is a story teller contributing to the song being performed. People will like playing with you and the song will be a richer experience for the listener as well as the players involved (if the solos are good!!)
Before I started playing music at the blues club jams, I was never given an opportunity to solo in my previous experience, and I have to say, my first solos where terrible! But if not for those opportunities to work through and grow through, I wouldn’t be as competent as I am now and as I will be a year from now!! Are you following me here? It is all about development and growth, and the blues club jams is letting people hone their craft into something note worth and interesting. The one thing I find amazing about the jams is the spontaneity. You never know what is going to happen, what songs will be selected and who you will be playing with! Long live Wednesday Night at Home Team BBQ West Ashley!!
In closing, I love the blues club because it has created an environment for me to experiment, solo, improvise and give impromptu performances with sometimes absolute musical strangers. We are all on that long and winding path towards musical greatness, and we are doing it together! I love to hear all the different musical perspectives from week to week, and hear how (for me) other musicians approach the drum set. It has been a grand ole two years for me and I have rarely missed an outing. I have seen myself grow and get better at these three song set experiments. I would have to say the strong point of my week is playing music at the jam with all the usual suspects. These people have enriched my musical life and I have shared moments with them that I could never share with my own family, as they are not players. My anticipation every Wednesday morning when I wake up is, “Wonder what the blues jam is going to be like tonight?” It sometimes is great, and I can’t believe how much fun it is, and sometimes I leave disappointed. Never the less, it’s all good as they say.
As a lead artist, please just do one thing for me in reading this blog, think about what I have said. I love being a supporting character to the music, but sometimes I need a little time to vent musically, as does the bass player and everyone else. Please if you don’t take away anything else, realize all the great musicians you are surrounded by as you play, and give them an opportunity to contribute to the music in a greater role than the status quo. I love playing with all of you and am grateful to have the blues club in my life. I enjoy it all very much and will see you again soon at another jam! Thank you for bearing with me and I hope you all have a killer Thanksgiving!! See you at the blues jam!!!!
PS, Many of the leads are very good about these issues, this is def. not in regards to every lead that plays at the jams. This is in regards to the jams that I didn't have as much fun as I could have had. This is not aimed at taking a cheap shot at leads or anything like that, I am just trying to find a way to have more fun at the jams. I love all of you guys and have a lot of respect for all the players that have the courage to participate at the jams!!
JP Jones Jr
Or there's another option for Sunday night as well. Tyler Boone's Singer/Songwriter Night is happening at the Oasis. It's 8-11:30, 778 Folly Road, with Tyler Boone, Gregory Scott, Kara Hesse, and more -- lots of great music, $6 over 21, $8 under 21.
On the following Sunday, November 28, at Fiery Ron's Hometeam BBQ 1205 West Ashley River Rd....Let's send them to Memphis benefit show including the Rev. Dr. Johnny Mac and the Booty Ranch featuring Jeff Bateman, The Dan Wright Band, Jeff Norwood, Wyatt Garey Band, Highway 17 Blues Band, with Starling to perform beginning at 2pm. We are raising money to send the winners of the Lowcountry Blues Challenge to the International Blues Challenge 2011. Come out and enjoy the music and make a donation to the event!
Featured artists with birthdays in November are Dr. John, Delbert McClinton, Bonnie Raitt, and Susan Tedeschi.
Check out some of our recordings from the Wednesday jams at http://www.reverbnation.com/lowcountrybluesclub, and join us on facebook and twitter.
To get info in this blog, send all details of your event to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put "Attention blog-writers" as the subject heading, please.
And of course, we hope to see you at the blues jam next Wednesday night at Home Team BBQ West Ashley!!