So it took three visits over the least three years to finally find a bar with a bona fide weekly jam session. It turns out it has less to do with Milan being non-musical than to do with the city still remaining closed throughout the month of September for “the summer.” Two years ago the only open jam session I found was amongst the anarchists – and it was great – and last year all I found was a karaoke where they allowed me to play with my guitar. Last night, it was a hugely fun and cool and real jam session, the weekly jam at the Fermento Art&Pub.
Although I had fought through hours of web surfing and spoken to many people in the last three years, I never managed to find anything aside from the aforesaid anarchist jam and karaoke. Oh, I did see an open mic and a jam, but they were closed. Yesterday I managed to find a page that listed jam sessions in Milan, and I narrowed down my choice to Fermento, as the only other that seemed to be happening was more about jazz, Fermento was blues. Of the two, I figured I could find a place in the blues jam better than in the jazz one.
My choice was right. I managed to play “Mad World” and “Crazy Love” with the band, and we did O.K. The band, however, was very interesting. I could hardly have imagined that I would find that the lead guitar player, Fred Pierre Gustave, and the harmonica player were both Frenchmen. They were in fact invited as the feature band of the evening, playing along with a drummer and with the bass player who organizes the jam, an Italian named Lucio “Omar” Falco. Fred PG, as he appears to be sometimes known, is a hot lead player who likes the blues AND French gypsy jazz. He lives in Madrid and plays in Spanish bands, and also all around Europe. He’s on a little tour in Italy at the moment, in fact, and Fermento was one of the stops.
After the feature act – the French harmonica player did interesting French blues songs of his own writing, by the way – the stage was then open to other musicians and there were singers, bass players, harmonica players, drummers, lead players. The whole, real thing. It was so a wonderful evening that I was just buzzing and flying from start to finish. Got a little interview with Omar for my film, too. And they invited me to play with them in Monza tonight, so I could not have dreamed for more. Check in tomorrow to see how the Monza thing goes – if it goes.
P.S., I have once again a very slow internet connection so I have been unable to put up all the videos I wanted to put up.