Archive for March 28th, 2011

Ever been to a blues jam? Or ANY jam, for that matter?

Do it! If you live in a city with over 100,000 inhabitants it’s likely you have one. Find it. Visit it! It’s probably crowded. Why? Because we just LOVE it! It’s like life should be – and often is!

In life, we don’t always pick the people we work with – or even our relatives. But we get along. If “getting along” is ok with you, you can stop reading here. But if you want more;  great relations, excellent results, new ideas and new insights – look at how a jam works! There’s always a leader, but as in all leadership – the leader needs to listen to the players’ needs. As the evening (or as at “Stampen” in the Old Town of Stockholm, Saturday afternoon) moves on, people swap places, sometimes they are in the audience, sometimes on stage. Some leave for other gigs after giving and sharing their part, some are visitors from overseas. (Yes! A lot of US and Asian musicians make a u-turn over Stockholm to be part of this!)

What always touches my heart is how they communicate (lots of eye-contact!) and how they share solos. And while they play their solos – the whole band is with them – in every detail. Supporting the newbies. I’ve seen players DOUBLE their self esteem in ONE solo. Given the right support, at the right moment, by the right person – wonders happen on stage. (One day I’ll ask some of the great people at Karolinska Institute check with an MRI camera if not completely new neuron paths are established under the influence of high doses of adrenalin and interleukin during these breakthroughs!)

And, most touching of it all – how musicians support the newcomers. Sometimes so nervous they hardly know their own name. But on the surface – cool as hell. (Just imagine what goes on in THEIR brains at that moment!) Bare in mind it’s really hard to make a living of playing music. (The music industry is not speaking so loudly about this – but never ever have the large majority of musicians made a living from playing. The do other stuff as well. They have parallel careers. Just like most people living on the country side, in the archipelago – and freelancers for that matter. The record industry is – like it or not – a paranthesis in history)

So, musicians have to regard the market as being adoptable, a growing piece of the market is available to them. Are they right in thinking so? Well, in year 2002 we started what is one of the few and probably oldest Acapella Entertainment Clubs – the “Club Jambalaya”. In those days there were two places in the Old Town offering live music on Friday nights. A decent volume to compete with. Today, nine years and 61 clubs later – there’s live music on TWO of the streets every single night of the week. There is no box (unless you WANT it) and there is no zero sum game. Just do it!

//this post will be updated with links and videos, photos as they make it through the dark room… Stay tuned! //

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