Detroit, MI, USA
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The jam session is integral in the history of jazz and jazz-education. For over a hundred years this has been the training ground for young musicians to share ideas. The jam session brings out the competitive nature in us but also serves as the social backdrop. Musicians understand that a key part of their development in jazz is to understand the jam session codes of conduct. If a jazz musician can survive the night, playing different tunes in strange keys, difficult tempos, interacting sometimes with virtual strangers, they belong to an elite club that speaks a language that only jazz musicians understand. This experience is impossible to replicate in the structure of a classroom; there are too many variables. It only works in a club, in front of an audience, in a respected jazz venue that serves as a musical beacon.
In an ideal setting, both experienced musicians and young musicians mingle socially and musically. Detroit offers the combination of a thriving professional scene and many colleges and high schools. It is critical in a young jazz musicians’ training to receive a “bandstand education”. This is what we hope to provide by combining a professional rhythm section with young jamming jazz musicians and vocalists from the Detroit Public Schools, Wayne State University, and even places beyond. Young musicians will not only be able to receive quality bandstand instruction, but also network with each other and share ideas.
People give Charlie Parker credit for creating bebop, but all of the insiders know that even though he had the initial seed, it was a group project, refined at jam sessions like Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem. At Minton’s, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke and others all experimented to create the music that jazz musicians revere. What many of the insiders don’t know is, that these beboppers received instruction at Minton’s by the generation of great swing musicians before them at this jam session; Roy Eldridge, Clark Terry, Lester Young, and Coleman Hawkins, as they did from the generation before them.
At the Music Hall Jazz Cafe, we want develop and encourage the 21st century young jazz musicians to make their mark and keep jazz in the present instead of the past, while being tutored and guided musician/educators from the generation before them. If this person is a high school vocalist from our Vocal Jazz Academy or a jazz studies student from Wayne State, we will bring everyone together in this great sharing of ideas to be viewed in real time, in front whoever wishes to see musical history take place.