Archive for the 'Wednesday Blues Jam' Category

Wednesday Blues Jam With Kaj

For over six years now I’ve been a regular at the Conway’s blues jam in Milwaukee on Wednesday nights. Last Wednesday, Kaj Anderson drove over to the house and we both went to the jam. It was a good time and Kaj was well received. I introduced Kaj to the host and mentioned we’d like to play in the same set if possible – and that’s what we did. I’m now convinced that Kaj can do “Low Rider” in any situation.
I like this blues jam for a number of reasons: 1. There is no house band that plays first – it’s a jam right from the start. There is a host bass player (Big Fred) who runs the jam, and a house drummer. Two drummers rotate every week so one guy doesn’t have to bring a drum set every week. Most jams have a house band that starts things off and the “jam” aspect is often just letting people sit in with the band. 2. There are no breaks. Having a house band start, then a limited number of jammers on stage combined with breaks can make for long wait if you came to play. Conway’s jam is a first come – first play situation. If you were the first guitarist to show up – you’re on stage when it begins. Being that there are mostly guitarists, the jam runs two players at a time. 3. They give the jammers two free drink tickets. It’s a nice way of saying thanks for coming down. My only criticism is that often it starts late – sometimes as late as 9:30 which is tough on us who work in the morning. Now when Kaj and I were there, it started before 9:00 and we played the 2nd set. We stayed most of the night – went through all the guitar players and Kaj got up a second time.
A humorous aspect of the jam is the blues “nicknames” that are given to the regulars. There’s Big Fred, Wild Bill, Louisiana’s favorite son, Big Daddy, King of the surf guitar, to name a few. One night Fred said to me, “With the way you look and play, you must be from Texas.” (not like wear a cowboy hat or anything….) So I’ve been dubbed “The long tall Texan.” I’ve even had people ask where in Texas I’m from – what do you say? I’m thinking Brownsville….The jam is a nice outlet for me – kind of a guys night out and Holly is used to me going – plus I’ve made a lot of friends. Anyway, since we’re off this weekend, I thought I’d mention the jam and again thank Kaj for making the drive over.

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