In that effort, each year we sponsor one to three young musicians from local high schools or middle schools that are interested in playing jazz to attend a full week at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Camp, also known as the Summer Teagarden Camp for Youth.
Since the mid-2000s we have consistently sponsored student musicians from the local high schools and middle schools to a week long music camp at Sly Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains, East of Sacramento, California. The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society’s Teagarden Summer Camp for Youth provide professional level instruction and mentoring to the students to enable the students to learn the art of improvisational instrument performance, the very heart of Jazz Music.
Upon returning from the summer camp the students who were sponsored are invited to perform with our Jammers at the beginning of each monthly dance.
|The anatomy and
Physiology of a Jam Session
Many members of the Jazz Club have a general knowledge, but may not have needed, up until now, to know how a jazz
jam session works. Having some knowledge of the anatomy (how it’s put together) and physiology (how it works) may
make it more enjoyable for you.
The rhythm section, usually a keyboard or guitar, bass, and drums, is essential. This group can work together and then various solo instruments, singly or in combination, can join with the rhythm section and make the music work. One person is normally designated as the session leader. This is essential to a smooth flow of the music. He/she keeps inordinately long discussions about tune selection and tempo from taking time from the music.
Tunes are selected from the standard repertoire of “jazz standards”. Those participating in the jazz session are usually familiar with many of these tunes . . . along with standard keys in which they are played. After a tune is selected and the key identified, the tune melody is performed with little improvisation. Then the various instrumentalists improvise on the tune. This can be as simple as embellishment of the melody or as complicated as playing a new tune over the chords. After the improvisations are done, the group closes out by playing the original melody again, sometimes as an “out chorus,” and caps it off with some kind of (often improvised) ending.
It has been said that the best way to listen to jazz is to watch it! We agree with that statement. Part of the fun in enjoying a jazz jam session is to watch the subtle signals among the musicians. This can be a signal with the eyes, the pointing of the instrument, usually from the leader indicating who takes the next chorus or how it will end. One of the essential elements of jazz is its improvisational nature. If there is no improvisation, the music may be jazz-like (example: “Rhapsody in Blue”) but it is not, by definition, jazz.
~ Norman Vickers