Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Jammed Up at the Bel-Luna Jazz Club Blues Jam

May 24, 2011

Monday night was my last night in Barcelona, and I headed over to the Bel-Luna Jazz Club for a dinner and to sit in on the Monday night blues jam session. I have found that around the world the word “blues” does not always mean the same thing. Some places it means “rock.” So blues jams vary from place to place, from real and pure blues to pop rock. I prefer the latter for personal reasons, even if I don’t agree with the definition. The personal reasons are that it usually means I can play my stuff at the blues jam. Last night at Bel-Luna, with the exception of the occasional 1950s rockabilly song – I prefer to call that rock ‘n roll, but what the hell – and the occasional boogie, it was really nothin’ but the purest blues stuff.

That meant that I had a great meal – pasta starter, veal main course, sorbet desert, and a wonderful and cheap rioja red – and then I listened to a bunch of the songs and players and I cleared out by midnight. I’d been all jammed up and jammed out, and knew that I would not have a hope in hell of doing anything that would please anyone on that stage. I was tempted like anything, but this was pure, pure blues, and my stuff does not fall into that category at all.

I’ve said it before, that the pure blues jam thing actually tires me out after a while since all the songs sound the same. The players have a lot of fun, but to listen to several hours of the same riffs and chords and leads, and usually lead heavy vocals, doesn’t usually make me feel fresh.

Anyway, there was some nice stuff – and a surfeit of harmonica players, by the way, each with his case full of harmonicas in different keys to choose from. The house musicians – a drummer, bass player and pianist – were fabulous, by the way. And a wonderful club it was, with fabulous old videos of the real bluesmen from the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s running on for hours before the live jam. I loved that stuff.

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