Running again, 27 now : Rusty Relaxed Social Jazz Karaoke Jams

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


We are running again at two locations (Supreme Restaurant and Bar + Markham)

Hi, I am looking for more jazz players/singers to add to the current 27 (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

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.


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 mistakes here and there 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. You can initiate songs or join in the rhythm section of any song. To avoid creating large gaps between songs which caused us to lose our first location, songs are initiated on the website with the initiator choosing songs out of one of the most popular fake books/song books listed at the top of the song schedule. Initiating a song is easy. Similar to 100s of thousands of vocalists do when they have fun at Vocal Karaoke, I provide you with the information I need in an email and you cut and paste the format and your info into the reply back to me. It is easy. Many have already done this without having any questions. You can participate by showing up last minute but using the email reply to give me the info in advance is a lot easier for you. The song initiator sets a minimum song speed they like to play the song at that is normally below the original recorded speed. This way others who join in the rhythm section know what speed to practice toward. The use of a common fake book / song book lets you know exactly what to expect. You won't get any nasty song speedup surprises during the jam due to the fact that we use BIAB for drums set to the speed on the website or have a drummer who is willing to listen to a BIAB rhythm guitar real instrument track which sets the speed of the song and keeps us from speeding up. If you use BIAB for practice now you might want to think of these jams as a fun step up from your regular use of BIAB. There are easy step by step picture instructions on the web for learning how to read the three website pages and participate (only 3 website pages to learn - home page, updates to the schedule and the schedule). One member followed the instructions and said they are easy to understand. If you use an iPhone or any similar phone learning to participate in our jams will be a breeze by comparison.

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.

HOW THE JAMS ARE ORGANIZED AND SCHEDULED: To provide more playing/listening time during the jam and to reduce gaps between the songs that could cause us to lose the location like happened with the first location, the jam will be pre-planned by placing information about the coming jam in this website In a nice easy to read format, the schedule shows the current scheduled jammers, the songs they are playing, the fake book which has the chords they are using and their current rhythm section info. This will help you decide if you want to attend to listen only or play a song of your choice where you play the melody (solos optional) or play along with someone as a rhythm player also optionally doing solos. Again in a nice easy to read format, the full list of fake-books/song-books I own shows above the schedule. The fake book list has popularity counts to the right of each fake book to help you decide if you should buy it. The BIAB files will also be available for download on the schedule so if you own BIAB ($129 U.S. for basic version) you can see the chords we are using and actually practice along with the backing tracks in advance. You can also send me your BIAB backing track file and I will keep it on file for future jam usage.

INITIATING JAMS AT TWO LOCATIONS ANY DAY OF THE WEEK: On the homepage I will use the top row of the "Jam Information Table" to plan a jam for any day at either of the two locations. Immediately after a jam is completed the "Location" column of the table will say "Announcing soon" and the "Jam Date" column will say "Needs People". While the website is in this state when you click the schedule button you will see a list of songs I can currently play well enough to jam (minimum 2 hours of music but normally more). When I am ready to jam I will send an email with the subject line "Needs People & Place: Rusty Relaxed Social Jazz Karaoke Jams". It will say I am available to jam at either Supreme Restaurant and Bar or Markham. The first person to reply with (some songs to initiate) or (some songs they want to join in on) will suggest a location and day of the week. I will verify it is okay then I will set the top row of the "Jam Information Table" to show the location and date. I will then send a second email to the group announcing the jam location and date while asking them to join in. So a jam can occur if there is only 1 person + myself but hopefully more will join in. I will always schedule the jam at least a week in the future so I have time to learn to play rhythm on any new songs. This way you will never be playing/singing only with BIAB. As people join in to initiate songs or play along 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: When you join the group there will be a little more information provided in the regular participation emails.

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 --Alex, congas/bongos, Toronto --Alexander, trumpet, Toronto --Brian, guitar, Thornhill --Brian, vocals/guitar, Stouffville --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 --Jessie, Tenor sax/Soprano sex, 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. --Narayan, piano, Thornhill --Richie, double bass, Stouffville --Rick, guitar, Markham --Steve, trumpet/keyboards/vocals/guitar, Toronto, --Tom, bass guitar, Toronto --Tony, bass guitar/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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