Every first Wednesday of the month graduate students of jazz and semi-professional musicians gather at Flushing Town Hall for its monthly Jazz Jam.
Usually the event takes place in the art gallery, but because of the popularity of June’s guests of honor, The Campbell Brothers and Daniel Bernard Roumain, it may be upgraded to the larger upstairs performance space, Flushing Town Hall Director of Education and Public Programs Gabrielle Hamilton said.
So here’s how it goes: musicians come a little early and sign up with their name and instrument — a Steinway baby grand is up for the jamming. The House Band, graduate students from the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College led by musicians Sejin Bai and Evan Jangels, warms up the group. With the guests of honor somewhat at the helm, musicians call out songs to play. Then the jamming begins.
“I want people to know it’s not going to be that complicated. Everyone should just come and play,” pedal steel player Chuck Campbell said. “It’s going to be just like church. People can get up and sing anything, and believe you me they do. They sing anything from a church song to a pop song.”
The Rochester-based Campbell Brothers perform African-American gospel music with electric steel guitar and vocals.
The brothers will also perform on June 8 at 6 p.m. in the Jazz Clinic Concert. Since last fall high school students have migrated to Flushing Town Hall to learn about jazz legends, and how they can incorporate what the greats of jazz did into their own music. The free clinic — free MetroCard included — is funded by the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation.
Roumain, a Haitian-American violinist who has collaborated with Lady GaGa, plays classical jazz style music with hints of his cultural background. Roumain will host a professional development seminar about performing — for artists of all types — preceding the concert at 6 p.m. Call Flushing Town Hall to reserve a spot.
The community-driven event began in the fall and started bulking up in recent months — attracting about 50 musicians, Hamilton said.
“I’m pleased we have this in Queens because often musicians have to go into Manhattan to jam,” Hamilton said. “They also eat dinner in the city. So now they can stay in the borough and get to know their neighbors. It’s a great networking opportunity not only for musicians, but also fans of jazz.”
On top of it all, it’s a cheap night out for jazz fans, just $10; musicians get in for free.
Funding for Jazz Jams comes from the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation with additional support from several other government agencies and private foundations.
When: June 6, 7 p.m.
Where: Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.
Tickets: Free for performers, audience $10
(718) 463-7700, ext. 222