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        Barbara Magone <[log in to unmask]> writes:
 
> I'm new to this email stuff and enjoy reading all the articles.  I have my
> own opinion on sessions.  I don't enjoy playing in a session where the
> idea is to play at breakneck speed.  It's just not the way the music was
> meant to be played.  Someone mentioned in an earlier message (I believe)
> about James Kelly being a "musician's musician".  A lot of what James is
> about is tempo.  He is rock-solid and doesn't play fast, but his music es
> exciting. (I will be accompanying him Friday (7/1) and Saturday (7/2) at
> Conor Byrne's pub in Seattle.  On Sunday we will be heading for Fiddle
> Tunes at Pt. Townsend.  Anyway--back to sessions.  I was also pleased to
> read that it's okay to let the "stars shine every quarter of an hour" (I
> hope that I'm quoting that correctly.  Sometimes the stars are criticized
> for trying to shine at all.  It's frustrating at best.  I was in a room
> once playing (with a group) and Rodney Miller was there.  The "group"
> didn't give an inch and every time Rodney started a tune - they jumped in
> --for hours, they never allowed him to shine.
 
In my session experience (limited to Chicago and environs), shinings
stars are not very common unless there's someone like Martin Hayes or Liz
Carroll in attendance.  Without a heavy-hitter in the lineup it might
happen once or twice in a four-hour session, or it might not happen at
all.  The shining star situation also holds during songs (one or two per
night) and airs (perhaps one), both of which are done either solo or with
minimal accompaniment like droning.
 
How much shining going on also depends, of course, on how many people
actually feel like doing so.  Musicians go to sessions to play with
others, and are not necessarily interested in doing solos.  Another
reason that holds here in Chicago is that (it seems) everybody both
interested in and capable of anchoring a session is doing so.  It's a
gig, so the tendency is to favor moving the session along rather than
soloing.
 
I have mixed feelings about asking people to solo at sessions.  Clearly
the request is a gesture of regard for the musician, but I sometimes
wonder whether we're just trying to wring a free Martin Hayes (for
instance) mini-concert out of the deal.  The potential is there to take
advantage of people, especially when Martin (for instance)--the most
gracious human being in existance--isn't likely to turn you down.  Let me
turn the question around: how do the assembled "spotlight" performers on
the list feel about spotlighting at sessions?
 
 
*** Mike O'Regan ([log in to unmask])  Chicago, IL