“My mamma always told me that jam sessions were like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” Forrest Gump
Love that movie. It’s still one of my favorites. It’s true about life, and it’s also true about Kansas City jam sessions. I’ve found that if you attend the same jam session at the same club, you tend to see a lot of the same people. That’s a good thing to me, because those strangers eventually become your friends, and in some cases your peers. It’s not exactly relaxing playing in front of a bunch of strangers, especially when they’re great musicians. Sort of like auditioning or going to a job interview. Once you get to know people, you can relax a little bit. You tend play better in this mental and emotional state because the creative brakes come off. You feel like you can really be yourself.
The other really interesting aspect about jam sessions, is that you never know who is going to walk into the club, and walk into your life. Last night I met Zacharie Mejean. Zacharie is a jazz drummer from France. He’s also a music teacher at Academie Lafayette. He came to Kansas City for the music scene. I talked with him about France, and how I’ve always heard that they really appreciate American jazz over there. He said that a lot of American jazz musicians started moving there after World War I. Therefore, it’s also been a big part of their culture for quite awhile now. That’s why they enjoy it so much. I told him that playing jazz in France and the rest of Europe was on my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to visit. He told me if that’s something I really wanted to do, I would eventually do it. Awesome. Really nice guy, and a really good drummer. Zacharie’s Website
I met Marvin Jones as well. Marvin was Everette DeVan’s drummer for many years. I’ve heard his drumming described as “fearless,” and I would agree. Marvin plays with fire and passion, and is one of the most dynamic jazz drummers I’ve ever heard, dropping exciting drum explosions at sometimes the most unexpected, but musically appropriate times.
He also has some of the most creative brush work that I’ve seen. Most jazz drummers tend to borrow brush beats from other drummers they admire, but I think some of Marvin’s may be his own creation. I’ve never seen another drummer play them. So once again, I’ve been inspired to keep on practicing and creating!