At 10:51 AM 1/20/2007 -0600, Frank Claudy wrote:
>Paul, as usual, puts the whole discussion into a great perspective. It
>is worth recalling that the term 'session' was borrowed from the jazz
>world. A jazz session encompasses both ensemble and solo play --
>innovation and solo spots are prized, but it is also expected that all
>participants know and can participate in the root melody of the tune being
Yes, great post, Paul. Frank, funny coincidence, I went to listen Thursday
night to a friend who plays jazz trumpet around DC (fantastic job with just
trumpet, bass and drums!), and he was talking about how the old players
would tell him: man, if you don't know the tune, don't bother showing up...
Being the host of a bi-weekly session in the DC area, I have had many
opportunities to think about the issues that have been presented and
discussed in this thread, and have sometimes struggled with how exactly to
make it an enjoyable experience for all while also playing good music (and
I'm not even saying anything about trying to keep the management happy...).
It does feel sometimes like being one of those circus people who balance a
dozen spinning plates on sticks...
It is a balancing act, it changes all the time depending on who shows up,
what levels of competence are represented, and even on whether a cold front
is moving through I suspect. I can't say it works perfectly 100% of the
time, but it seems to work well often enough. Just like in any social
setting really, mutual consideration and respect have a lot to do with
making it a success. The repertoire is a varied and ever-changing mix, with
a core repertoire which likely reflects the fact that we have a majority of
flute players at the session (it's Patrick Olwell country here...).
Everybody's idea of what the old chestnusts are is probably different, but
we definitely play some of those. Most of the regulars bring "new" tunes
into the rotation now and again, and I have acquired quite a bit of
repertoire from playing at that session for the last few years. We
sometimes have visitors from out-of-town stopping by and they generally
seem to find the session enjoyable. I personally treasure those times
because I am usually reminded of tunes that I have not played in quite a
while, and often enough get to hear gems new to me as well. So if you're in
DC on a Wednesday night or Sunday afternoon, stop by Ri-Ra in Bethesda...
Hard-to-find imported Irish CDs
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