Drummer Jeff Lien started the Facebook group “Jazz Nashville” about a year ago. The group is billed as “a meeting place for professional musicians, composer/arrangers, promoters, club owners, and supporters of jazz music in Nashville. The goal of this group is to promote growth, opportunities, and connection between its members.”
In that time the group has grown to over 500 members, and functions as a bulletin board where members post jazz happenings, gig notices, and whatever’s on their minds. A couple weeks back the group took a step from being a virtual to an actual community: Jeff organized the first “monthly hang.” The idea is to rotate locations each month and create a big crowd at someone’s gig. The first one was at Tennessee Brew Works, where David Williford has hosted a weekly jam. In Jeff’s words, “Think of it as a jazz flash mob of sorts out to support and show strength in numbers.”
The event was a success — there was a big crowd, including many musicians who came to play or to listen and enjoy the food and drink. David Williford led the house band in a set of contemporary original material, and then invited others to come up and play. A variety of instruments and levels were represented (including vocals) and there were several established pros in the mix, including visiting drummer Ben Zweig from New York.
The one sour note was that the jam was to be the last at that location. It was a fitting send-off, and we hope David and his colleagues will find another location. In the meantime, there are some other regular or semi-regular jams around town:
The Nashville Jazz Jam (Saturdays at Christ Lutheran Church, 2-4pm)
The Nashville Jazz Workshop Jam Session (3rd Sunday of each month, 4-6pm hosted by Evan Cobb or Matt Endahl)
The Night Owl Sunday nights (not sure how regular; check schedules)
If you know of others, please let us know!
Photos above: (1) Jeff Lien (2) Doug Mosher & David Williford (3) Graham Gerdeman, Doug Mosher, & Anthony Belfiglio signing the jam list (4) vocalist Erica Wilkes (5) Ben Zweig. Photos by Larry Seeman