6 months of the Thursday jazz jam at the Garage – My recapitulation.
Although I don’t remember being interviewed for this I would like to add my own thoughts on why I think this is a great thing for musicians, the community, and listeners:
First, the band is top notch:
Guitar: Alex Nauman, Touting a BA in Jazz guitar from UNC, Alex is fired up and always takes his playing to a new level. In his short time here, Alex has become an integral part of the Billings music scene. Alex is the push behind the Thursday night jazz jam, as well as getting jazz heard in a lot of different venues in Billings. Teaching privately at Hansen Music and his own studio, inspiring many students a year, Alex also freelances in some great bands in the area as well as his very own Alex Nauman Organ Trio.
Drums: Brad Edwards. Brad is the real deal, and the legends that he has played with makes my jaw drop. He has toured all over America with the NRE trio or Nell/Roberti/Edwards trio, playing with cats like Eddie Harris, Woody Shaw, Emily Remler, Mose Allison, and Freddie Hubbard (that is just to name a few!). Brad is one of the most encouraging musicians that I have met and his playing is outstanding! Melodic, sensitive(depending on the crushing), and technical. Brad has played around Billings for decades as a drummer for many bands such as Mumblin’ Eddie, Dan Page and the Barn Cats, ECQ and currently the Alex Nauman Organ trio. Brad is also percussionist for Soul Brat and the Ron Schuster group, and holds the drum major position for the Billings Pipe and Drum Caledonians. We are blessed to have Brad as a part of our community.
Bass: Me… I am not going to write about myself here.
The Jazz Jam is unlike anything that I have seen since I have moved to Billings in 02′. It is a venue for musician to sit in, have an audience, and be appreciated. A player gets to come sit in cold (almost literally because you are in a big garage) with a great group of musicians and show your chops. You don’t get to do that anywhere else. You are exposed and vulnerable, but the people that come to listen are so encouraging. It is like playing for your family when you were a kid. You could really hack it up and people would still give you a hand for trying (hopefully). Over the six month period that Alex, Brad, and I have run the jam, we have met a few new players and new friends, as well as seen many players improve and mature. We recently had our last jazz jam of the season and it was received with huge support and praise from our community. Our biggest support came from the musicians and the dedicated listeners that, week after week, came out and helped us grow and nurture this very cool event. We hope to start again in the fall and continue where we left off. One of my favorite things about the jam is looking out and seeing listeners and musicians of every age hanging out, listening, and supporting each other. Business owners, car salesmen, potters, students, professors, writers, photographers, construction workers, artists, etc. create this community. George M. @ The Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. has been gracious enough to let us do what ever we want. It’s a good time to be in Billings. We all appreciate the support and will see you in the fall!
It is time for us to start up again! November first!