Chicago Rock – all star June Jam
Every month Chicago Rock has an open Blues Jam. I have been only one other time before last week. LZ says Chicago Rock is a kind of Underground Blues place. Local Blues Maniacs go there. I did not know. I did hear something about the style of blues they like from another musician in Kobe. His group did not play it, but our was closer to it. Kobe is where the main stream type players hang out and live. There are a lot of foreigners in and about Kobe. Not a lot go to Chicago Rock. A few , but mostly locals. They are nice people who go there, everyone is always nice to me, that is really all that matters as far as I am concerned. The people do not look for the most part any different, well a few do, but looks are not a way to judge people.
So, yeah I went to the Jam the other week. I went alone, without Doc. M. Just me and my Harps. I did not bring my Bass. I was told about this Jam and asked to come by the owner. I was free that night and could afford the train fare. When I arrived the place was starting to get full up, i hung out by the door and just looked in for a few moments. The owner saw me and came over and showed me a seat , gave me a sweet cake and basically said welcome. I ordered a drink and prepared to watch the group that was up playing.
I short while later a girl came in she looked like she needed a seat I gave her mine and moved into the front room with the band. I watched the next band setup and start. They were different, the guy sang more old standard kind Jazz/pop kind of tune, not really so much blues. He was different looking. He sounded ok.
The next group was changing to come up and one guy recognized me and spoke. This got the attention of the guitar player setting up , we chatted a little bit and his band started. They were pretty good. I wanted to sit in with them but did not want to just intruded since I was not asked. They seemed more like a set band than just an open Jam group.
Meanwhile sitting next to me was a guy putting on stage makeup like a Noh player, heavy white face. I was relived that it was not “black Face” since it was a bLues Bar.
So shortly the owner comes into the back and looks a bit perplexed, I could tell he wanted something about sitting. I motioned that I could move to the other spot, he was pleased with that. He then showed in three girls, who were another group or part of one. I gave one my seat since they were short a seat. The guy I was seating with then gave me a seat that was next to him. A bit of musical chairs. While the band played on. Now the guy i saw put on Whiteface and a dress started dancing around, he was “out there” had on a thong under the dress, he kept pulling up. Very theaterish.
So I watch for a short while longer and shortly later was ready to head home. The owner stopped me and asked me to play with the next group and he called up people. He asked the current Bass player to let me play. I said no, I have my harps I will just play that. So we had a quick formed group and started Jamming. It was good. One earlier harp player decided to join. Not a great player , and the kind that tend to over play. So I laid back a bit. The piano player motion for the other harp player to chill some and let me play more. I was diplomatic and worked with him musically giving him some musical space and I filled in some of the holes. It worked. At one point on another song an earlier singer from another group came up to sing. I had heard him earlier. He had a fair voice not much emotion but his English was good. He did a couple of verses, I motioned I wanted to sing one verse since I knew the song. Everyone was pleased to have a “native ” speaker sing. I did one verse and the piano player did the ending verse. He was quite dramatic singing. It was all quite entertaining.
I had arrived just after 7:00, it was now just after 10:00 I need to head out to the train station. I noticed more new people coming in and another set of people made ready to come up and play. It was quite a night. I had had enough, with the smoke and all besides needing to catch a train. It was and interesting session, women playing Sax, drums and trumpet, I would have stayed longer to see the full array but, it was time for me to hit the road. I will return another time for another Jam.
I am going this Friday coming, to see a woman I met at one of our gigs there. Her band is playing and she is a “homie sista” from Philly. She is a good performer, we did a couple of song together when she sat in with my group. I want to see her band and get a little material for an interview I am planing to do with her for the “Black Tokyo” website run by a friend of mine. She has lived here in Osaka for some 30 yrs, is married to a Japanese and has a couple of kids and also does TV commercials and stuff. Her main thing is singing. She has played a few of the bigger , nicer are clubs and hotels. Something I would like to do, but do not expect to with this current band. Who knows what the tide will bring as I get more established and meet more people.