Now with Jam Sharing: Rusty Relaxed Social Jazz Jams Club

Posted over a month ago
Ellesmere Rd, Scarborough, ON M1P 2X4, Canada(View Map)


Hi, I am looking for more jazz players/singers to add to the current 30 in our jam group who are like me and "just want to play jazz, listen to jazz & socialize" at a jam rather than waste prime jamming time doing the boring administrative work of searching fake books for common songs we can play together. I have for the first time resolved this issue by placing the songs and fake-books on my website jam schedule and by integrating a custom email input form directly into the schedule. The monthly newsletter/manual "QUICK START GUIDE" gets you "Just Playing and Listening to Jazz" within 10 minutes (a lot less time than all that prime jam time fake book searching drudgery that wastes people's valuable time). You learn to; schedule a jam in < 10 seconds, join in on a song within 2 seconds, initiate a new song within 10 to 25 seconds and set up your memorized "personal-settings" within 30 seconds. The members love it. You can experiment with the features without worry by visiting the link below. Table popup help is available by clicking the column heading link.

As of March 2019 I implemented a "3-Song-Guarantee Jam-Sharing-Procedure" similar to what the Finger Style Guitar Society uses which is very popular and completely packs their jams. It puts more emphasis on the rusty relaxed social aspect of our club. Their's is a 3 song limit. Ours is a 3-song-guarantee. The procedure is split into three phases. Phase-1 (1 week) is spent choosing songs (3 each). Phase-2 (1 week) is spent joining in with 3-songs and requesting as many extra songs as you like. Phase-3 day-one is spent allocating the extra song requests fairly letting members know what songs to practice up until jam day. So far it is increasing attendance. I expect it will eventually pack our jams.

Our group is for (those not trying to make it in the business any more or who feel they are not good enough to gig jazz professionally) and who want to keep jamming jazz standards to make use of their skills for (fun, socializing, meeting new people and keeping themselves enthusiastic about continued playing) and who are interested in coming out to one of the two restaurant jam locations I am using to 1/ jam Jazz with myself and "Band In A Box" (BIAB) backing tracks similar to Karaoke or 2/ jam Jazz with myself, others and BIAB or 3/ jam Jazz with others if enough join in to eliminate BIAB (and we maintain speed).

To hear some demo examples of our group visit

To see pictures of some of our jams visit To see the home page where you can get even more info page visit

Sometimes the Bistro Manila has a live stream of our jams on Facebook.

To learn how to use my website & BIAB to help prepare for jams watch this video.

If you are visiting from outside Toronto you can also become a member and be scheduled to jam. Kay is a member from Melbourne Australia who jammed once.


DON'T READ THIS LONG AD. LISTEN INSTEAD: If you use MS-Windows I highly recommend going to then doing the string search "Simple TTS reader" to find and download the free text to speech reader software so you can highlight a paragraph and press ctrl+c to listen to it. The two Windows-10 voices David and Zira are just amazing (Win-XP Mary is good, Win-7 Anne is so so). I have been using Microsoft Zira to proofread this ad, my website and all my emails. When using a TTS reader being able to turn the volume off quickly is helpful. You might be able to use the FN+Whatever key to quickly turn your computer's volume off or on. I hope you enjoy listening about our great jam group :-)

THESE JAMS ARE FUN AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT BEING RUSTY: These jams are for those who love Jazz FM music. If you can play the types of songs they regularly play on this radio station you are welcome to join the group and come to the jams. These jams are not for those trying to make contacts to get into the business. These jams are for fun and socializing only. If all you can play each time out is 1 or 2 songs that is fine. If all you can do is melody or chords that is fine too. If you can get through the songs most times without getting lost or stopping but are rusty and make 2 or 3 small recoverable mistakes in each of melody, solos and rhythm-section that is fine to since everyone in the group will be expecting this from everyone. I make mistakes. Most of the people listening would be in the same boat that you are (someone who makes mistakes). Some will make more mistakes than others but the idea is to use the socializing and fun to give you a reason to practice and keep it up. I run jams at my home and at a Struggling Restaurant. At my home we can't lose the location if we are too rusty. A the Struggling Restaurant we have to make sure we are not too rusty such that we drive customers away. To see the 5 areas of concern regarding this and how we solve these issues visit this link.

PRE-PLANNING MAKES THE JAMS SO MUCH MORE FUN & EXCITING: This is not a struggling-restaurant jam where I get paid to tell terrible players they are great. My only pay is getting to meet and jam with players at roughly my rusty level. That keeps me more than happy enough. So far others are happy with this too and the techniques I employ to keep our 2nd struggling-restaurant location are working very well. Not only that, since everyone has a chance to pre-practice using the same fake book, you do not have to put up with terrible playing and there is no prime jam time wasted on fake book searching. All you can expect at our jams is having fun playing, listing to great jazz filler music to start conversations with and socializing for 30 to 40 minutes after the jam. At any time you can have some great food and drinks that the restaurant is happy to serve up at very reasonable prices thus making the struggling-restaurant jam space almost completely free. These jams are a lot more fun than home jams because there is no boring administrative drudgery of fake book searching.

WHY INCLUDE JAZZ BACKING TRACKS LIKE KARAOKE: I am a guitarist (not a singer) but in 2016 I was checking out public Karaoke and discovered that a lot of the singers are pretty good and they have a lot of fun singing along with these backing tracks often with groups of them coming to socialize. Even when the singer is not great they cheer them on with clapping and a positive attitude. It is very inspiring to watch. It has really opened my mind up to jamming jazz with backing tracks especially when it is hard to find people who play jazz these days. I see no reason jazz players can't use backing tracks to have fun, socialize, meet new people and keep themselves enthusiastic about continued playing. Band In a Box (BIAB) is the backing track program I use. It allows us to jam a lot more often and so far the world has not come to an end as a result of using it. I feel sorry for jazz players who slip into extreme thinking about BIAB and lose the ability to take advantage of this technology. They forget having fun is a great motivator to improve one's playing. If you use BIAB for practice now you might want to think of these jams as a fun motivating & inspiring step up from your regular solitary use of BIAB. Regarding jazz singers one of the advantages of using BIAB for jazz backing tracks is I can create a BIAB file for any song you request out of your fake book then during the jam I can change key if needed and play rhythm guitar along with you by simply reading the BIAB computer screen's chords rather than the chart. So that way you are not alone singing yet you have drums, piano and bass as well. To help rusty players perform comfortably I use BIAB to prevent them from having any speed up surprises. See next paragraph for how I use BIAB.

BIAB COUNTS IN EVERY SONG EVEN IF BACKING TRACKS ARE MUTED: BIAB is used on all songs to count in at the speed on the website that members practiced to. The website allows members to request songs at slower speeds if they wish. If we have a harmonic quartet (a drummer with a 3x3 drum kit, a bass player and another guitarist or piano player) and (no one is worried about speeding up a bit), after the BIAB count in I mute all BIAB instruments at bar #1 so when we are finished the 2 melodies and our always equal number of solo choruses I can use BIAB to determine if we held speed within 1/2 a chorus. If we succeeded and everyone is willing I continue this procedure on the next song. If we failed I replace my rhythm guitar with a great sounding real instrument BIAB rhythm guitar which everyone listens to so speed is held perfectly. If any of the harmonic quartet instruments are missing I use real BIAB instruments to replace those instruments. Jams can be initiated either (tentative on one or more other instruments joining in) or (with just myself and BIAB hoping others might join in). Normally the later method is used so sometimes a jam only has myself, one other player/singer and BIAB real instruments making it sound great. I always learn the rhythm guitar part so you are never playing alone with just BIAB. If I have time I learn to do a solo on new songs as well. While setting up BIAB for the next song, jazz filler music is played so it is a night of none stop jazz with no deadly silence that could cause us to lose the location. I learned the hard way that silence is deadly.

INITIATING JAMS AT THREE LOCATIONS: I am available to organize 1 or 2 jams per month which will always be on a Sunday and which can be at any of 3 locations (Supreme Restaurant and Bar any Sunday of the month, my home in Markham any Sunday of the month and the finger style guitar association in Stouffville normally the 3rd Sunday of the month). On my website each location has its own schedule. The Stouffville location is run by another person and he sets the jam date each month. Guitarists can arrange to jam with me through my schedule for that location. At this location we can only do 1 or 2 songs. At the other locations we can typically do up to 12 songs within the 2 hour jam. While the jam schedule top right corner "Jam Date" says "Needs People" you can within 15 seconds schedule a jam by clicking on one of the popup calendar green highlighted Sundays and clicking the send email button. While the website is in this state on the jam schedule you will see a list of songs I can bring up to rusty spec within a week or two. When a member notifies me they want to jam on one of the available jam days showing on the popup calendar for that location, I update the schedule with the information and I email the group to announce the jam date and encourage others to join in. So a jam can occur if there is only 1 person + myself. This way you will never be playing/singing only with BIAB. As people initiate more songs or join in on existing songs the schedule is resorted in descending sequence by number of people participating in a song. We play the songs in this sequence to get the most people playing immediately just in case some need to leave early. So normally most of my songs which I initially put on the schedule do not get played during the jam since the jams run for two hours from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

YOU DON’T NEED AN AMP: I have a nice mixing board that can run 4 effects which each channel can tap into. Reverb is one I use. Two more can be patched in. The speakers are 250 watts (more than enough).

HARD TO SETUP INSTRUMENTS: When you join the group there will be a little more information provided in the regular participation emails

ABOUT THE “BAND IN A BOX” (BIAB) SOFTWARE: If you don't know the BIAB software here is some information about it. The user enters the chords to a song and chooses a style and it creates the backing tracks. A specific bass line or any part specific to a song can be entered if you wish. I did that with Herbie Hancock's Chameleon and it works well. I just added the bass line to the soloist track and muted the bass track that BIAB creates. Melody can be entered too but normally it would be muted for a player/singer to perform. Any instrument the style includes can be muted so your instrument can play. Each backing track instrument can be changed (i.e. piano to organ It has hundreds of styles for backing tracks (some midi and some real tracks). Jazz related groups of styles include: (Blues, Funk, Jazz Ballads, Bebop, Big Band, Dixieland, Fusion, Gypsy, Latin, Modern Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Swing, Cuban, Salsa, R&B, Pop, World). I am guessing there are 3 to 30+ styles within each of these groups of styles. You can also create your own styles (I have never felt the need to do this which should tell you something). Since at least two members have the latest BIAB software with the latest styles, over the summer I upgraded my BIAB so I am sure to have all the styles currently available including real tracks. You would be surprised at how good this software is. It has a standard count in and I would set the repeats to allow for one solo per person. You can record your playing against the backing tracks and export this as an mp3 file. BIAB can display the lyrics to a song against the chords that are playing so if there are any jazz vocalists out there with BIAB files containing the lyrics they could send them to me to be used on the jam night. BIAB has 100s of other features. I have barely scratched the surface of learning BIAB.BIAB has a 30 day no questions asked return policy. That gives you the latest version, all above board, and support if/when needed (there is no demo version). The most basic version costs $129 USD (as of 2018). You can get info at this page You can buy it for Windows from this page which has the download button. There is an app to run BIAB remotely. You need the main program to be installed first.

ABOUT MYSELF: As of 2018 I am 63 and retired. I have no interest in making it in the jazz business or music business (even part time). I am a jazz guitarist and I teach jazz guitar. I started playing at age 13 (reading music all the while). I practiced 6 to 12 hours a day from ages 15 to 25 while I was teaching guitar. At age 18 in 1973 I went to Humber College the first year they had the music program for one semester from Jan to Jun but went back to teaching. At age 26 I decided to switch to computer programming. I quit playing guitar at age 33 for 22 years and a friend (upon hearing our old jam recordings) encouraged me to start playing again when I was 55. I now can put out about 6 hours practice a day (2 hours technical and 4 hours songs). Basically I have nothing better to do and if I am going to run this jam I need to be able to play rhythm guitar backup from charts as best as I can so members of our group don't have to jam with BIAB alone. Playing against BIAB is okay but not much of a motivator so one can get lazy. I need at least a monthly jam to keep this level of practice up. Down town is too far for me. Markham has few Jazz players so this north east Metro Toronto jam is a way to expand my jamming experience with more players. I read the charts. I never memorize songs. I use charts rather than memorizing because I can play a lot more songs this way. I pick a position (normally melody position) and do my solos in that area of the guitar using the arpeggios and scales. Rather than working out a lot of fast runs where only the first note of the run is truly improvised due to 1,000s of run troughs required to make them fast, my solos are 100% improvised using the arpeggios and scales so they are not fast and flashy. I try to create a good set of melodic motifs which is hard enough when the chords are moving fast. Even if I am practicing the 6 to 8 hours I still make a mistake at least every 5th song due to loss of focus or fatigue. Here is some of my playing from in my 20s. I wish I still had that energy :-)

POTENTIAL ATTENDEES: If interested please message me so I can include your info to help generate interest. --John (the organizer), guitar, Markham, will show every time. --Adam, guitar, Markham --Alexander, trumpet, Toronto --Brian, guitar, Thornhill --Brian, vocals/guitar, Stouffville --Cameron, guitar/drums/bass, East York --Campbell, guitar, Toronto --Celeste, vocals, Toronto --Dan, bass guitar/double bass, Maple --Derrick, keyboards, Toronto --Errol, bass, Toronto --Greg, drums, Toronto --Henry, bass, Scarborough --James,piano, Toronto --Jay, guitar/bass guitar, Toronto --John, keyboards, Toronto --James, piano, Toronto --Jessie, tenor sax/soprano sax bass vocals, Mississauga --Joseph, bass, Scarborough --Kay, piano, Melbourne Australia, --Keith, drums, Toronto, willing to attend when a bass player attends. --Kobi, alto saxophone, Toronto, available on Sundays. --Richard, drums, Toronto --Richie, bass, Markham --Rick, guitar, Markham --Ron, percussion, Toronto --Steve, trumpet/keyboards/vocals/guitar, Toronto, --Tom, bass guitar, Toronto --Tony, bass guitar/guitar, Toronto --William, guitar, Toronto

FAKE BOOKS/SONG BOOKS (CODE AND DESCRIPTION): JJRB HL C - Just Jazz Real Book, Hal Leonard, C Edition RB BC V1 - Real Book, Berklee College, Volume 1 RB BC V2 - Real Book, Berklee College, Volume 2 RB BC V3 - Real Book, Berklee College, Volume 3 RB HL V1 C - Real Book, Hal Leonard, Volume 1, for C Instruments, 6th Edition RB HL V2 C - Real Book, Hal Leonard, Volume 2, for C Instruments RB HL V3 C - Real Book, Hal Leonard, Volume 3, for C Instruments RB HL V4 C - Real Book, Hal Leonard, Volume 4, for C Instruments RB HL V5 C - Real Book, Hal Leonard, Volume 5, for C Instruments TUJF HL C - The Ultimate Jazz Fakebook, Hal Leonard, C Instruments TVB RP - The Vanilla Book chords by Ralph Patt More Fake/Song Books will be added if they are popular as people request to play songs from them. As of Feb 2018 you can download the BIAB files to get the chords.

EXAMPLE SONGS (songs I can quickly bring up to speed for a jam): Full list at: NAME,COMPOSER,STYLE,SPEED,(FAKEBOOK CODE as indicated on the website) "A Fine Romance","Jerome Kern",Jazz,140,"RB HL V1 C" "A Foggy Day","George Gershwin",Jazz,152,"RB BC V1" "A Taste Of Honey","Scott and Marlow ",Jazz,113,"RB HL V3 C" "All Blues","Miles Davis",Jazz,135,"RB BC V1" "All Of Me","Gerald Marks",Jazz,150,"RB BC V1" "All The Things You Are","Jerome Kern",Jazz,105,"RB BC V1" "Angel Eyes","Matt Dennis",Jazz,60,"RB BC V1" "Autumn Leaves","Joseph Kosma",Jazz,105,"RB BC V1" "Black Orpheus Carnival","Luiz Bonfa",Jazz,120,"RB HL V1 C" "Blue Bossa","Kenny Dorham",Jazz,160,"RB HL V1 C" "Blue Skies","Irving Berlin",Jazz,154,"RB HL V2 C" Bluesette,"Toots Thielemans",Jazz,170,"RB BC V1" "Cantelope Island","Herbie Hancock",Jazz,115,"RB HL V2 C" Chameleon,"Herbie Hancock",Jazz,96,"RB HL V2 C" "Corcovado, Quiet Nights","Antonio Carlos Jobim",Jazz,105,"RB BC V1" "Cry Me A River","Arthur Hamilton",Jazz,60,"RB HL V3 C" "D Natural Blues","Wes Montgomery",Jazz,88,"RB HL V1 C" Desafinado,"Antonio Carlos Jobim",Jazz,142,"RB HL V1 C" "Don't Blame Me","Jimmy McHugh",Jazz,65,"RB BC V1" Footprints," Wayne Shorter",Jazz,134,"RB BC V1" Four,"Miles Davis",Jazz,160,"RB BC V1" "Freddie The Freeloader","Miles Davis",Jazz,130,"RB BC V1" "Georgia On My Mind","Hoagy Carmichael",Jazz,68,"RB HL V2 C" Impressions,"John Coltrane",Jazz,200,"RB BC V1" "Maiden Voyage","Herbie Hancock",Jazz,120,"RB BC V1" Meditation,"Antonio Carlos Jobim",Jazz,130,"RB HL V1 C" Misty,"Erroll Garner",Jazz,75,"RB BC V1" "Nicas Dream","Horace Silver",Jazz,185,"RB BC V1" "Night And Day","Cole Porter",Jazz,152,"RB BC V1" "One Note Samba","Antonio Carlos Jobim",Jazz,145,"RB BC V1" "Out Of Nowwhere","Johnny Green",Jazz,120,"RB BC V1" "So What","Miles Davis",Jazz,150,"RB BC V1" Summertime,"George Gershwin",Jazz,98,"RB HL V4 C" "The Girl From Ipenema","Antonio Carlos Jobim",Jazz,120,"RB BC V1" "This Masquerade","Loen Russell",Jazz,95,"RB BC V2" "Watermelon Man","Herbie Hancock",Jazz,145,"RB HL V3 C" Wave,"Antonio Carlos Jobim",Jazz,140,"RB HL V1 C" "Work Song","Nat Adderley",Jazz,155,"RB HL V2 C"

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