Our beginner's Jazz session was fun today, despite the fact that some of our organ fund group could not be with us due to holidays and illness. The small group of us who set everything up in the church had most things done in record time and when John Gates and 4 members of the Open Band arrived soon after 9am we were standing around waiting for more to do! He brought a drummer and 3 saxophone players. In addition, another saxophone player, 3 acoustic guitarists, one bass guitarist, one pianist, one violinist, one clarinettist, 2 flautists and a double bass player had signed up for the workshop and everyone arrived by 10am.
Lesley read out a text message from David and Shirley wishing us well for the event, it was David's idea to ask John Gates to run this for us, and it was a shame that he couldn't be with us playing his clarinet, because it was a relaxed and friendly morning of music making. John started us off with 'I wish I knew how it would feel to be free' (the theme music from the film review TV programme) and we learned how to play different parts of the chords rather than just playing the tune over and over, to provide variety. After a break for refreshments (served by Fiona and Jean) we played 'F Blues ("Tootsie")' and learned to improvise a bit on the F blues scale, a fairly scary prospect for some of us (such as me) though for others (including my daughter, a friend and a colleague) it seemed to come naturally. He then gave us 'Green Onions' which was another piece with improvisation.
It was a gloriously sunny day, so Dave K went into the High street to encourage people to come in for refreshments and music (including some people from a coach party visiting Stony Stratford from the other side of the country), so this gave us a reasonable size audience at noon when we played all three pieces through as a mini performance.
I would like to thank John Gates and his friends from the Open Band who came along to swell our numbers and gave us confidence to experiment with Jazz. I would also like to thank all the organ fund group and helpers, including cake bakers, who kept things going today which enabled us to add another £154.99 to the organ fund (plus another £12 the next morning from the remaining cakes). This was the last of the 2010/11 season of Musical bites, we've already started scheduling dates for the next season of winter coffee mornings with a musical twist, so keep checking the blog and the events listing on the organ fund website for details.