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Mandolin Update: Cafe Jam

Cafe Jam
It's been a while since I've made a mandolin update. Alas, drmellow_mando has been been silent lately. I hope to rectify that situation soon with more frequent posts. In the mean time, while I'm working on catching up with my journal entries. One of the most exciting mandolin happenings lately happened a few weeks ago (on Tuesday, September 28) when I went to an open bluegrass jam at Cafe Jam. yarbiedoll joined me for the evening, where she snapped the photograph accompanying this journal entry. (I'm the thrid from the left, the picture is also a link to a larger version of the photograph if you'd like a better look.) She also wrote about it in her own journal.

I had a great time -- they actually had me playing up on the stage in front of a microphone. It was pretty fun. Turnout was terrible. There really was no audience except for yarbiedoll. That's a shame, 'cause the place was really cool. They had neat lighting and a great atmosphere. I think they have better attendance on the weekends, when they have Christian Rock bands playing. Every Tuesday night is bluegrass night, though.

Anyway, there were a couple of really talented folks who showed up for the jam and ended up pretty much running the show. I was not one of them -- I just hung back and chopped on chords as best as I was able, which was good enough. Pastor T, who seems to run the joint, did a great job of letting me see his left hand as he played guitar so that I could keep up with the chord changes. The jam session was pretty popular with several high school kids, a few of which I knew from church. They really put me to shame -- one of the girls tore it up on Old Joe Clark at a speed faster than I was comfortable taking a break on. She had only been playing mandolin for about 3 weeks, and hadn't had any formal lessons. I did take a break on Red Haired Boy, thanks to some prodding from Ed, who seems be becoming my jam mentor and encourager.

It was lots of fun. I've since missed two more opportunities to participate in the open jam at Cafe Jam, but I hope to be able to swing by again in the next week or so.

In more mandolin news, I've also skipped the last jam session at the Cultural Center. I should really try to go to the one next week, especially since I'm learning one of the songs that they almost always play. Yesterday, Jeff taught me a simple break for The Old Home Place, which I asked him to do after seeing him perform it at the fair last week.

I'll be writing more about the fair later.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 14th, 2004 02:49 pm (UTC)
All those people jamming at once on redundant instruments looks like it sounded a bit confusing. :)
Oct. 14th, 2004 03:27 pm (UTC)
Not really -- it was basically one huge back-up section as people took turns soloing. So, yeah, there were 3 mandolins playing at once, but at most, one of them was taking a break while the rest were chopping.

I've noticed that bluegrass jam etiquitte is rather simple and usually adhered to. One of the big things is that only one person takes a solo at a time. The other thing is that the rhythm style of each instrument is pretty well-defined. Guitars are always BOOM-chick-a and mandolins are always chops, e.g. It keeps things from sounding confusing.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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