26 Now: Rusty Relaxed Social Jazz Karaoke Jams

Posted over a month ago
1249 Ellesmere Rd, Scarborough, ON M1P 2X4, Canada(View Map)


Hi, I am looking for more jazz players/singers to add to the current 26 (listed below) who are (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 mostly 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 the "Supreme Restaurant and Bar" at 1249 Ellesmere Rd, Scarborough (or Markham) 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 https://soundcloud.com/bowlesj

To see pictures of our last jam visit https://www.facebook.com/Rusty-Relaxed-Social-Jazz-Karaoke-Jams-424298811319975/

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.


SHOW UP TO JAM AND YOU ARE GIVEN THIS USEFUL SPREAD SHEET: It is a repertoire increasing Microsoft Excel spread sheet I created that helps one increase their repertoire size larger than normal by reminding them to push the next practice date out farther and farther on songs that they give a good score to. My experience is you are more likely to do your song maintenance because you never know what songs you will be practicing today and thus it is less boring. It is clearly more effective. You feel good about the time spent and it gives you more time to practice new songs on a regular basis to increase your repertoire. The less time you have to maintain songs the more important it becomes. I give it out free because I figure the more songs you can play the more likely you will come out over and over which means I get to jam more often and am less likely to quit as I did before.

DON'T READ THIS LONG AD. LISTEN INSTEAD: If you use MS-Windows I highly recommend going to www.download.com 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 too 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 loose 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. http://yourcommonsongjams.com/frmRustyLevel.html

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. 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 BIAB. 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. Regarding jazz singers one of the advantages of using BIAB for jazz backing tracks is I can create a BIAB file for any songs 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. Why not bring a singer friend and alternate your songs or sing together. Another reason to use BIAB backing tracks it to protect you against speed up surprises. You practice up to a speed showing on the website (which you can set if you wish) and you won't get any nasty song speedup surprises during the jam due to the fact that we [use BIAB for drums which is set to the speed on the website] or [we have a drummer who is willing to listen to a BIAB rhythm guitar real instrument track]. If you use BIAB for practice now think of these jams as a fun motivating & inspiring step up from your regular solitary use of BIAB.

INITIATING JAMS AT THREE LOCATIONS: I am available to organize potentially 3 jams for the month. Specifically the 4th week of the month at Supreme Restaurant and Bar for a jam which is a very low pressure performance in an almost empty restaurant where few if any listen, the 3rd week of the month at the fingerstyle guitar association in Stouffville for guitar duet performance jams and the 2nd week of the month at my home in Markham for very flexible loose low pressure jams with no audience. Spacing the jams out by 1 month gives you lots of time to learn 1 or 2 new songs for the next jam if you wish. 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 the other two locations (immediately after a jam is completed) the the "Jam Date" on the website will say "Needs People". While the website is in this state on the jam schedule you will see a list of songs I can currently play well enough to jam. 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.

THE POPUP CALENDAR OF AVAILABLE JAM DAYS: (the tutorials) As I mentioned above we can be rusty but not so rusty that we drive people out of the restaurant. It also helps draw other players if we are roughly at the same level. To accomplish this the schedule goes on the web with the fakebook and we pre-practice to make sure we are not to rusty. To get the info I need to update the schedule members use to send me what I call a "Regular-Email-Input-Form". It was terrible. I knew I could outdo it so I created "My-Custom-Input-Form" built right into the Jam-Schedule. You can see how much better it is by visiting this link. http://yourcommonsongjams.com/frmReasonsForInputForm.html Using "My-Custom-Input-Form" quickly pays for the time to learn it. I have Video Tutorials that make learning to use it easy. I discuss them here. Immediately after a jam I reset the available-jam-days on the popup calendar. Below is the link to a 5 minute video tutorial on how to use the popup calendar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k-Pr6RFoTk&feature=youtu.be It explains how any member can use the popup calendar to quickly and easily initiate a jam on their (regular-available-days) or (exception-days) for the month. If I ever wanted to change the jams to every week rather than once a month I would reprogram the popup calendar to show the available days you can select from. As the name implies the "Jam-Schedule+Input-Form Page" also has fields for inputting your song information I need to put on the schedule. . Below are the links for the "Jam-Schedule+Input-Form Page" and its video tutorial. The easiest way to learn is to watch the video & try things. You can't do any harm. http://www.yourcommonsongjams.com/frmJamSchedule_TS58.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RTId_WX_TI&t=156s Below are the links for the "Home Page " and the full website video tutorial. It is only 5 minutes longer so you only need to watch the first part. http://www.yourcommonsongjams.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES3x8zGn7eM&t=726s The above tutorial teaches you to be an expert (you know everything).

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 and chorus is another. 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 http://www.pgmusic.com/support.htm. You can buy it for Windows from this page http://www.pgmusic.com/bbwin.htm 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 :-) https://www.reverbnation.com/johnbowles

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 --Corey, vocals, Toronto --Dan, bass guitar/double bass, Maple --Derrick, keyboards, Toronto --Errol, bass, Toronto --Greg, drums, Toronto --Henry, bass, Scarborough --Jay, guitar/bass guitar, Toronto --John, Keyboards, Toronto --Jessie, Tenor sax/Soprano sax, Mississauga --Joseph, bass, Scarborough --Kay, piano, Melbourne Australia, https://www.kaycai.com/ --Keith, drums, Toronto, willing to attend when a bass player attends. --Kobi, alto saxophone, Toronto, available on Sundays. --Rick, guitar, Markham --Steve, trumpet/keyboards/vocals/guitar, Toronto, http://stevegilchrist.org/ --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.

MY CURRENT SONGS (I should be able to bring most up to speed for a jam): 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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