Tapping musicians for a hoofers lounge

This has been sent in by the ever-innovative Andy Williamson. It’s directed at musicians , who should contact Andy. His email is at the bottom of this post. A new venture in jazz and tap…(haven’t Chelsea FC just got into trouble for tapping?)

There’s an interesting new kind of event starting next Tuesday night in Islington. It’s an improvisation workshop/jam session (not open to the public) organised by tap dancers. They want to invite jazz musicians to come along and join them in an evening of experimentation. There’ll be a core 3 or 4 musicians, and others are welcome to come along. It’s limited to around a dozen tap dancers (these places are already sold out), musicians are welcome, at no charge.

It’s happening from 8pm – 10pm on Tuesday 8 September in a rehearsal studio at:
The Pleasance Theatre
Carpenters Mews
North Road
London, N7 9EF
map: http://www.multimap.com/maps/?qs=n79ef – 5mins from Caledonian Road Tube

where there’s a bar and food available.

This idea developed out of a series of classes in jazz & improvisation for dancers I taught this year with Junior Laniyan, one of the organisers of the London Tap Jam at Ronnie Scott’s. At the jam sessions, the dancers just get one tune with no rehearsal time to dance with live musicians. At the classes, I would teach 10 of them at a time about how jazz works with live musicians, especially in a jam session setting. They were left itching to practice more with live musicians, but without any opportunity to do that.

Hence the “Hoofers’ Lounge”. It’s designed to be an informal session, where musicians play, and dancers dance, much as they would at a jam session, but without the pressure of an audience – apart from the other dancers and musicians. The dancers are so keen to get these things going that they’re willing to pay enough to hire the space, and for a few musicians to make up a house band.

During the classes I was blown away by the skill and musicianship of many of the dancers. It’s a really intriguing challenge to play alongside them, sometimes accompanying, sometimes leading and sometimes in a great conversation.

I first came across the concept of a Tap Jam at the Showman’s Lounge in Harlem, New York in 2003, and before that had played with the legendary Will Gaines. It’s great to find dancers in London who are completely clued up about the way dance has always been part of jazz, but who are also trying to find new things to do with it.

More about the thinking behind it from the dancers’ point of view at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113045325967.

Andy is at aw@flatfiverecords.com

Categories: miscellaneous

1 reply »

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