Most Sunday afternoons you can find me lurking with a rag-tag group of people that are alternately either twice or half my age, under the awnings that surround a small downtown building. On the outside, we look like we might be on break from our AA meeting or waiting for the cannabis clinic to open. None of us look like we should be hanging out together. There are teenage kids in jeans and t shirts, tall men in impeccable suits, and hunched hippies in deer skin jackets with long tassels. From the outside there is no reason for us all to be together, much less for the easy conversation and obvious camaraderie.
Like most things, it's what's on the inside that counts. On the inside of this little building is the Sunday Jazz Jam, an all-comers welcome event that is headed by some seriously talented musicians and filled in by anyone who walks in the door and wants to play. This is not a place for divas or show boaters, though both show up and given their time in equal measure, this is a place for students. This is where you go to see how it's done by the kinds of musicians that play three gigs a week, and figure out your own style. This is where you go to listen to singers find their range, their own unique timing. This is a place to go to listen, to forget about the scene, and to return to the roots of the improvisational Jazz form.
It is a kind of Sunday service, and one that I have come to cherish. It is community, education, fun, and some damn good music. Check it out: