I had been looking recently for jam night events in and around Leicester, mainly to put together an event list for students at DHDW to help them gain live playing experience. In amongst this internet and pub trawl (crawl?!) I was also on the lookout for any opportunities to stretch my own jazz-playing legs, as this is an area I have not exercised – outside of the teaching studio – for some time now. How happy I was then, to happen across the Modern Jazz Jam held at the Regency Sports and Social Club in Leicester: Two-for-one!
This jam night is run by local sax player Richard Everitt and provides a house rhythm section, on this occasion double bass, keys and some guitar with most of the guests being various denominations of saxes and trumpet, though rhythm section members did also change round. Emphasis appears to be on a ‘straight ahead’ repertoire of jazz standards: moderate to slow tempos, with some bossa and blues/jazz crossover. Charts are available too and several of the guesting players distributed music amongst the ensemble whilst quickly briefing starts, stops, feels and other important features within the arrangement. I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere at this player-centred event, which I’m sure also gives an interesting insight for non-players in the audience to some of the quirky machinations of scratch band ensemble playing!
I would recommend giving this a visit if you’re getting into the live performance of jazz and swing music. The Regency Modern Jazz Jam has a free and easy, supportive vibe amongst both players and viewers; there’s also a regular programme of events through the month – the jazz jam happening on the 2nd Tuesday. For drummers specifically, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the chart side of things, as the leaders seem well versed in cueing, starts and stops – use your ears! Be ready for swing jazz – obviously – but also make sure you have your brush technique dusted-off and some bossa/latin in your armery for this.
…and don’t forget to buy the house drummer a pint, wrapped round a hearty ‘thank you’ for using his kit!