Friday, May 17, 2013

For some, jazz nights can be a sentimental journey

The South County Jazz Club's weekly jam session  has settled in nicely at its new home at the Ramada Inn in Venice FL. There's something of interest each week, either a new instrumental pairing, a fine synergy between musicians, or a tune not heard in a while.

On Tuesday, May 14, there was a bit of each of those ingredients, culminating when two singers took to the stage at the same time. That is unusual for these jams, where
the vocalists tend to get scattered throughout the three sets most weeks.

Ellison, Garber, Goodman, Alexander, Mancini, Hassan
But this particular night, club president (and jam talent coordinator) Morrie Trumble called singers June Garber and Judy Alexander to the stage simultaneously to change things up a bit. The pair blended their talents on the big band classic "Sentimental Journey" and "The Lady is a Tramp." They were backed by the house rhythm section - pianist Tommy Goodman, bassist Dominic Mancini and drummer Dane Hassan - plus tenor saxophonist Tom Ellison, who has a special affinity for Garber's way with a song.

Their first tune was a keen reminder that jam sessions exist for many purposes.
  • Some participants want to display their varying degrees of talent and their love of jazz.
  • Some listeners dig every moment of performance, while others cringe at yet another take on tunes that have been done to death in some cases. (Morrie has a list of banned tunes to help minimize that problem).
  • Some attendees (let's call them The Annoying Minority) consider the music to be mere background over which to dine and chat with their friends - at the risk of being SSSH'd by Morrie or neighboring patrons.
  • Some find the music to be a sentimental journey, particularly when the band digs into what may be a couple's favorite tune, a tune that may have been top of mind since their romance was first kindled decades earlier. Occasionally, somebody turns free space into a mini dance floor. That's fine too.
  • And everyone wants to have fun, no matter how they measure it. 
For jam session reservations (this event draws between 150 and 200 people most weeks), call The Ramada Inn at 941-308-7700.

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