Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Fermenting in the Fermento Jam in Milan

September 8, 2012

I arrived in Milan, Italy on Thursday feeling like a slug. I had a terrible, terrible night of rolling around in bed unable to sleep – mostly with the thought of the early rise for an early flight and the excitement of going to Milan, one of my worst music destinations of the year. O.K., it’s great if you’re into opera, but I have not even bothered asking La Scala to book me a slot. Instead, I knew I had probably only one shot at playing in Milan, and that would be at the Thursday night open jam session at the Fermento Art&Pub bar.

I had played at the Fermento last year, and I was determined to play there again this year, despite the fatigue. Everything, it seems, is slower in Milan – except the way they drive on the public roads (and the fastest track of the F1 calendar, at Monza – and so I spent all day and night yesterday trying to get my videos up on YouTube for this blog. Only managed to get two of the videos up for the moment, and I have all but given up on the idea of doing the rest. (NOTE: Later in the day I finally got a faster connection and put up more videos.)

Anyway, the Fermento is a great jam, open to all kinds of musicians, but with an emphasis on the blues. That is not, according to Lucio Omar Falco, the organizer, the philosophy of the jam – which is that it is open to everyone – but that’s just the way it turns out. Heavy on the Stratocaster blues and harmonicas, and a number of piano players. Lucio plays bass, and there is a drummer too.

I played my acoustic guitar plugged into an amp, and I had a piano player, Lucio and drummer. I did Mad World, and I was sooooo tired, that it felt quite mad, indeed. And the piano player’s back was turned to me, so I don’t think he noticed the variation in the chord pattern. It’s the same four chords throughout, but not always in the same pattern….

Anyway, I had fun on that, and then jumped into What’s Up! because that is just the same three chords and pattern from beginning to end. It’s a great song to do after a fuck up, because then you can really belt out: What’s going on!!???

There were some fine musicians and the the place was just full of them. It’s like, Milan has far more musicians in it than venues for them to play in. So a jam like this one is very, very popular. And has some good musicians taking part. Not sure what they thought of my non-blues stuff, though…. But I was really happy to have made another recording of me playing with local musicians, as I have been doing on every country I visit this year without fail. Only eight more to go!

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