Jam Session Rituals: The Tea Lounge

The Tea Lounge in Park Slope, Brooklyn has a jam session every Wednesday night (9 to around midnight), co-run by trombonist Mike Fahie and trumpeter John McNeil, with whom I've been studying the past year at NEC. It's a relaxed and efficiently-run session that always ends with a rhythm changes that gives everyone who came out a chance to play. But there is a catch: you've only got one chorus, which is a beautifully conceived (and very practical) constraint, I think. The rhythm changes head is always the same, too: "Ow!" by Dizzy Gillespie. I had always forgotten to ask about this head in the past, but finally remembered to ask John about it this past week.

As a sendoff for drum solos (rhythm section players switch on and off over the course of the last tune), they play the first eight bars of "Boppin' a Riff," another rhythm changes head by Fats Navarro:

If you haven't checked out the session, it's definitely worth a trip for the friendly vibe and the high level of playing that takes place.