The 2018 Jammy Awards at The Cutting Room (9/21) happened a week ago, and we’ve almost fully recovered:) More than 400 people enjoyed the sights and sounds of ten bands playing their hearts out, with new elements (background videos, an aerialist) added to make our silver anniversary event extra special. Of course, the bands raised the bar as well – with one-off setlists, unique arrangements, and special guests. And they were rewarded with the satisfaction of pulling it all off on a high-profile stage in front of a big crowd. Great sound, lots of moving light, fog, and nattily-attired musicians enhance everything, but what what stood out most were the uniformly excellent performances. Cutting Room co-owner Steve Walter (who sees a LOT of fine bands, and always praises the Jammys) said “I think this year’s groups were even BETTER than last year’s!”
There is so much to celebrate at the Jammys (a strong community, diversity of genres, the efforts of musicians of all stripes to up their game), but a few are worthy of special mention. In Individual Honors, our Judges had trouble agreeing on who should take home winged-victory trophies. In the end, they decreed: BEST DRUMMER: Russell Makowsky (The Lizard Kings), BEST GUITARIST: Jason Korfine (Relay, Daughters & Dissidents), BEST BASSIST: Dan Fusco (No Static, The Lizard Kings), BEST KEYBOARDIST: David Kaminsky (The Lizard Kings), BEST VOCALIST: Jon Flores (Mockingbird Hill). Jeff Mucciolo was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, with many of his friends and family members on hand to witness and support – including setting up a campaign to preserve public school music programs in Jeff’s name: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/jeffrey-mucciolo
In Group Honors, No Static execution’s and high degree of difficulty made them the night’s MOST TECHNICAL band, and The Petty Thieves’ hip-hop inflected mash-ups earned them the titles of FRESHEST, MOST FUN, and BEST OVERALL. Personally, I would have been proud to lose to ANY band on that stage – they were ALL worthy.
At the evening’s resolution, we tossed out lots of swag from our sponsors to those who stuck it out all the way to the 1 am finale. Thanks to all who played, attended, cheered remotely, sponsored, judged, and supported this year’s event. The Jammys is a reflection of the vibrancy of our community, and it radiated warmth and positivity. Best of all: We get to do it again next year. As soon as we have some more official photos (for now, we just have the one above), we’ll be sharing them – along with audio and video. Stay tuned.
With the Jammy’s over, it’s time to turn over new leaves: new chapters in a band’s life, new material, new projects. It’s a time of transition, with people exiting one project to join another or start something new, and fresh blood taking their place. It’s therefore a great time to look to join an existing band or to start an entirely new project. If you want to get in on the action, it starts with making yourself visible (and audible): Talk to us, come to an open jam session, put an ad in the next Flurry, come to our next Showcase. The future beckons.
Saturday (9/29): Newbie Jam, under the inspirational guidance of Jimmy Fontanez, 3 to 5 pm at The Jam (541 Sixth Ave, inside The Collective). $15 for members, $25 for non-members. Designed for those who don’t have much experience playing with others, but open to all.
ALSO Saturday (9/29): Rock Jam with Robert Brandow, from 3 to 6 pm at The Jam (541 Sixth Ave, inside The Collective). $20 for Jam members, and $35 for everyone else.
NEXT SHOWCASE: 10/4 at Red Lion, with Tarred N’ Feathered, Bustling Hedgerow, Slowhand, No Mersey, and The Rolling Bones.
The Jam exists largely inside of The Collective School Of Music, which offers some great symbiotic opportunities for jam members and other clients: Private lessons, solo rehearsal space (particular important in a city where few drummers can practice at home at full volume), and visits from prestigious players. I’ve had the pleasure of attending Collective-hosted “masterclasses” (a bit of a misnomer: depending on the artist, they usually combine one or more demonstrations, Q&A, oral history, and life/professional advice) by Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Shawn Pelton (SNL, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, et al), Steve Smith (Journey), Danny Seraphine (Chicago), Keith Carlock (Steely Dan) and many more. Most of these events are free. Take advantage of these opportunities (visit the collective.edu for more information). Isn’t that why you live here?
“Without music, life would be a blank to me.” -Jane Austen