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Get Up, Get Out, and JAM, Part 2: BaBa's Jam

  03/26/12 14:39, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Review, Dan Grigor, Sound Advice, video, Jam , Tags: baba_s jam, bud hamberg, dan grigor, lady pearl, stony b

Welcome to the next segment in our ongoing effort to promote playing some music with people you don’t know while making new friends and great memories.

Another fun thing about Jams is how they can make any special occasion extra special. On this occasion we celebrate our friends’ anniversary. Fifteen years they’ve been together and BaBa, who hosts a regular blues jam, was delighted to lend her famous jam to celebrate.

Bud and Karen Hamberg are a fixture at live music events in San Diego. Bud hosts Jams and sits in at local venues around the county. Great players from the San Diego blues scene showed up and let them know how much they are appreciated.

BaBa’s Jam is a weekly jam held at the Elks Lodge in Oceanside, CA. Elks lodges are great for jams. They usually have food, booze, a dance floor and regulars to supplement the crowd. BaBa started doing her Jam Nights in Hollywood right across the street from Motown at Sunset and Vine during the 1980s, and she works very hard to make her JAM a great experience for every musician as well as the audience.

An appreciative crowd of Elks and local blues fans grabbed budget-friendly food and drink and settled in at one of the many tables. A bunch of great musicians lined up to play. The lodge seats plenty and has a large dance floor area that we used for the “stage.”

Since it was a special occasion, I brought our trailer full of toys to play with. We got there at the last minute due to traffic and set up in record time. Once everyone had their stuff up there, the stage really looked great. A huge semicircle of amps and cool guitars, a piano and Steve’s very cool retro Gretch set of traps. There were so many amps we had to reroute the lighting to different circuits to leave all the stage circuits free for the players.

We had a little piano music from an Elk in a 3-foot green velvet hat while we set up. It was an eclectic group of really talented local talent and they got to know each other while we warmed things up.

A Baba Jam tradition, Dixie (at left) started us out with some classic a capella tunes we could all sing with, which we did with much gusto. I’m afraid we overwhelmed her a bit, but like a trooper she forged on and we all had fun laughing and singing. It was a great start.

I won’t go into too much detail but, as always, I’m fascinated by the stories. You meet such interesting people at jams. From pros that perform every weekend to weekend songwriters venting their emotions. That night was no different.

San Diego County is, temporarily, home to an incredible bunch of servicemen. Camp Pendleton is just down the road from the Lodge. Music is a way they can escape the craziness and chaos for a bit when they can. It’s cathartic. Active duty Marine Brody Cates opened the acoustic guitar set with a few of his instrumentals and then sang a song for a buddy he lost in Iraq. A beautiful tribute to their friendship, dedication and sacrifice. Story after story, song after song, we jammed, we sang, we laughed as BaBa tried to wrangle a set for everyone there. She did great. As far as I know everyone signed up to play got a shot and rookies got to play with pros and the pros did a great job making everyone feel comfortable about getting up there, supporting the rookies like they were part of their band.

That’s what is so cool. The working stiff who will never have a band gets to have Stoney B Blues back him up or Lady Pearl handle the complicated riffs while you play along on your favorite cover song. Remember what that was like? Remember your very first jam? Did the pros make you feel comfy or intimidated? It should be a healthy mix of the two. You want to be inspired, but you really don’t want to look like an idiot up there. It helps to have folks that know what’s what playing next to you and sharing the spotlight as well as the applause.

Great stories, the fresh-faced Marine, the cancer survivor, the dad that used to be in a killer cover band, whose kids are finally old enough that he can bug out one or two nights a week and jam some blues getting his chops back, looking for a spot, a shot or a drummer to get things started again.

Everyone high-fived and shook hands and traded cards and emails and digits. My conclusion is that BaBa’s Jam at the Elks Lodge is a cool jam and if you are ever in the area you should grab your gear and go. The food is good, {editor add cheapest, bestest BLT quote} and is reasonably priced, as are the drinks. Lots of tables big and small, a comfy bar and an awesome crowd.

I will say this, though: looking back during the one of the last songs near the end of the evening I saw an empty room . It seems the “just listening” crowd had slowly drifted home; we were still playing. The room was empty because everyone there was on the stage jammin’ – a great way to end the night. Another successful little community jam. Like the thousands of little community jams found any night of the week, every week of the year, in every town, everywhere on this planet and all the others that have music.

People gotta play. If there isn’t a jam in your town there is bound to be one in the next town over and you should go there. After your set, you should tell them that you are starting a weekly jam in your town and they are all invited. It’s easy. Find a bar or restaurant or coffee shop and ask them nicely if you can bring lots of people to their joint one night a week to spend money and play music. I bet you can find one. I bet if you get out from in front of the computer and put your pants on and drive downtown you could find one right now. What are you waiting for? Go play something, somewhere with someone you don’t know! You’ll love it.

Some of San Diego’s Blues Icons showed up to share the stage
with great local Jammers to celebrate Bud and Karen’s Special Day

Bud Hamberg – guitar
Brody Cates
- guitar and vocals        Greg Holland - guitar
Stoney B Blues – guitar and vocals        Paul Zamora – bass
Steve Garcia – harp and vocals        Gary Hutcheson – bass
(Lady) Pearl West – guitar and vocals        Mike West – drums
Mark “Woody” Wood – guitar and vocals        Jerry Cox – bass
Linda Berry Kharrazian – vocals        Ginalou Rider – harp and vocals
Steve Bidrowski – drums        Steve Eichinger – guitar
Judith Pico – bass and vocals        Keith Beltran - guitar
Michael Mountain – bass        Dan Grigor - guitar, 12-string, vocals

This entry was posted by and is filed under BFMN Exclusive, Review, Dan Grigor, Sound Advice, video, Jam. Tags: baba_s jam, bud hamberg, dan grigor, lady pearl, stony b

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