Welcome to the Jazz Jams Club website. To register with the club please go to the Kijiji ad then message John.
Why the club was started:
I started playing at age 13, played (0 to 4 to 12) hours a day for 20 years, did a short stint at the Humber music
program then at age 32 I quit completely for 22 years. During that time I didn't even listen to music. At about age 54 I
connected with an old jamming buddy. He persuaded me for a year to start playing again then finally I picked up the
guitar. Six months later I had most of my skills back. Three of us wanted to jam and tried and tried but it never
happened so I started what is now called the "Jazz Jams Club" to make it happen. It is for fun and socializing mainly
but it is also to help people avoid quitting like I did for 22 years. If this club existed when I was young I would have
joined and never would have quit. I might have kept listening to records and buying them. So an indirect goal of this
club is to help the pros by keeping lesser musicians playing and listening to music and buying the records the pros
Until a vaccine exists for Covid-19 we are using "Shared Recordings" and "Zoom Meetings" to keep
members participating, having fun and socializing. The shared recordings are much slower pace, much
lower pressure and going so well that I have already decided to keep these activities going when the live
jams eventually resume. Members new to using a DAW are using free Audacity. Organizing these
recordings is much more flexible than organizing a live jam. There is a special Shared Recording song list
on the web which appears in the table at the very bottom of this page. The songs at the top of the schedule
showing in light blue/gray background are currently being worked on. When we finish a recording the song
is removed from the schedule and the mp3 recording is put on a website for listening. I have added a new
"listen to our recordings link" at the bottom of this web page for the "Shared Recordings". There are three
of these "listen links" near the bottom now. The remainder of the descriptive text in this page relates to the
live jams. As of October 2020 I was tipped off by a member that Jamulus works pretty good for online
jamming. I hope to find some time to set that up and try it.
New: I am no longer limiting club membership to just rusty players/singers. Hot players/singers are now encouraged to
join and even high level professionals can join if we are so lucky :-)
New: Since rusty players/singers often have no more than 1/2 hour to practice per day and even hot players/singers
may only have 1/2 hour to (learn a new song or review an old song) members now initially submit only 1 song to build
up the song schedule for the coming jam and I more quickly get back to them asking if they want to submit more songs
if we do not have our minimum of 12 songs for the jam.
This is a Jazz Jams Social Club where both rusty and hot players/singers gather (normally at month end) to
with new and old friends while they watch & listen to others in the group performing/jamming their songs. Even if 12
members submitted only one song each they would most likely be joining in on other songs to play rhythm and/or solos
but there is no requirement that they join in. The web preplanning and its PDF file downloads allow any set of members
in the group to join in on the songs even if they don't have the lead sheet. Website preplanning also avoids wasting
appreciate its value.
Why not join us?
to add to the current 33 on the email list who are like me and "just want to play jazz, listen to jazz & socialize" at a jam
rather than waste prime jamming time doing the boring administrative work of searching fake books for common
songs we can play together. I have for the first time resolved this issue by using web preplanning of the jams.
Specifically placing the songs and fake-books on my website jam schedule and integrating a "CUSTOM EMAIL INPUT
FORM" directly into the schedule so you can send me your jam participation info easily. The members love the speed
of submitting their information from the jam schedule and the ability to pre-practice for the jam. You can read member
Play and Listen to Jazz" within 15 to 20 minutes (a lot less time than all that prime jam time fake book searching
drudgery that wastes people's valuable time). Not only that I now encourage each new member to call me so I can step
them through using the "CUSTOM EMAIL INPUT FORM" personally. However the new "ONE PIC QUICK START
GUIDE" is so fast and easy to understand no one has called me yet. This guide is a success but the option to call is
still there. There is also an older "PICS QUICK START GUIDE" that has some additional info which at times can be
The Jams Are Light And Fun:
This is a club where members play jazz standards like you use to hear more often on Jazz FM before they changed
their format. It's a club where your practice time is never wasted. I accomplish this as follows. Cancelled jams are
always made up with the same jam schedule. I learn at least rhythm on all the songs which are requested each month
and I bring out the equipment and join in even if we only have one person jamming that month (you never jam alone). I
also replace missing players with the highest quality .wav real recordings of real professional jazz musicians provided
by "Band In A Box" when appropriate. So far 21 have jammed along with BIAB backing tracks at our jams. Some see
it as a step up from playing alone at home with BIAB. I use BIAB to ensure that we start the song at the speed that
rusty players practiced at which also shows on the jam schedule. If we don't have a drummer BIAB ensures we hold
speed. It prevents embarassing speed up surprises that have at least once knocked out the closing melody. If we have
a drummer BIAB counts us in but I normally mute all BIAB instruments. This encourages us all to hold good speed
since I can tell if we changed speed. It is good for some laughs as a drummer friend who sometimes comes out loves
a razz :-) He is pretty good at holding speed so he treats it as a game and doesn't take it seriously. The jams are light
& always fun. We have had 2 jams with 6 participating and 3 friends attending. To see the many other advantages of
coming out such as not needing an amp click this link.
The minimum playing level (rusty is okay) :
We hope members can get through one or more songs without getting lost most times. Getting lost every so often is
okay. Regarding mistakes I encourage members to shoot for my rusty standard at home before joining the jam. When
practicing for the jam I test myself with BIAB. If I go over 3 minor mistakes in each of (melody, solos, rhythm or
comping) I keep repeating until I can get through once with zero mistakes. That is no guaranteed I can play it with only 3
mistakes at the jam. If I perform too far below this standard I will re-record a segment of my part with reverb to let you
know it is okay to occasionally go below this standard at the jam while at the same time I want the recording to be
reasonably enjoyable (jammers get a copy of the recordings - none attending members hear it on SoundCloud).
Everyone expects everyone else to not be perfect. We try our best but laugh at our imperfections. It's very relaxed as
these member comments show. However now that I am accepting hot players/singers including gig seeking drummers
might even get groups of hot players forming at the jam having a friendly BIAB game competition like friends get
together to compete at golf. That sounds like fun to me :-)
How The Jams Are Organized: (Modified March 2020)
In March 2019 I implemented a Jam-Sharing-Procedure for organizing jams primarily to increase attendance so we
don't loose our restaurant/bar location due to higher revenue generating reservations and also to increase the social
value of the club. I have recently adjusted the procedure after realizing some rusty members only have 1/2 hour a day to
practice. This might even include hot players who practice a lot more but only have 1/2 hour a day to work at a new
song. This new approach puts more emphasis on socializing and listening and less on performing. It still has 4 phases.
Needs People Phase (Starts the morning after a jam when I send an email asking any member to pick a jam date
and initiate 1-guaranteed-song rather than 3 as before. Learning 1 song a month is much more managable for those
with limited practice time. This phase normally lasts 1 day). Build Jam Schedule Phase (Additional members initiate
1-guaranteed-song. It lasts until the jam schedule has 12 to 15 songs. If we don't get 12 players selecting 1 song each
for the schedule within 3 days I get back to them asking if they want to submit more and if they don't I choose some to
get our 12 songs). Join In Phase (Members request to participate in extra-songs which are on the jam schedule.
Lasts 3 days.). Distribute Extra Songs And Practice Phase (Extra song requests are distributed fairly on day one
of this phase. It lasts for two to three weeks so members have lots of time to practice new songs.).
Socializing: (Modified March 2020)
As I mentioned above the modified Jam-Sharing-Procedure puts more emphasis on socializing (coming out each
month to meet your new like minded friends). I am encouraging members who are not currently playing/singing to sit at
spouses may want to sit with their partner or gather at the far end of the table for none musical chat. During the jam I
am non-stop busy for about 2 hours so after the jam I join the group to chat for 20 to 30 minutes before I pack up. I call
this the chat session. By the way, I don't make any money at this. The socializing, fun and food is my reward. It makes
my guitar playing improve faster. That is all I need. I have other ways of making money.