Since moving to Bristol a few years ago I have been to many Bristol jazz jam sessions. Here is my guide to the jazz jams in Bristol, complete with locations, timings and advice. Feel free to comment below if there are any I have missed out that you think I should go to!
The Canteen hosts a high quality jazz jam every fortnight, inviting ‘seasoned players’ to the stage to play after the house trio’s set beginning at 9.30pm. This one would be best to play at if you already have some experience playing jazz in a small-group setting – the musicians play without music and call fast tempos at times! It is free entry, however they ask that you give generously to the bucket to help support the live music
Every Tuesday evening, the University of Bristol JazzFunkSoul Society hosts a completely open jam at Mr Wolfs, encouraging players of all abilities to attend. This is a great jam for beginners to build up some confidence on stage as well as more experienced players who want the opportunity to play on stage with a band, and meet likeminded musicians. There are real books in Bb, Eb and C for you to use. A piano, guitar, bass and drum-kit are provided for the rhythm section, as well as microphones for horn players and singers.
The jams start at 8.30pm with free entry. Every fortnight, a local Bristol band plays a gig after the jam, and on these nights entry is £3. Check out the JFS Facebook page for gig listings.
Hosted by the LBJB’s, every Thursday the Left Bank welcomes musicians to their completely improvised open jam. A backline is provided, and the LBJB’s start at 9pm, with the jam beginning at 10pm. £2 entry, with 100% of door sales going to the artists. Every genre is welcome!
The Fringe jazz jam is a relaxed, intimate jazz jam that takes place every Sunday at The Fringe in Clifton. The house band invites musicians to pay tribute to jazz greats, followed by a jam session. Free entry from 4pm.
Of course, all of the jam sessions above are also open to non-musicians, who are welcome to come and watch the music!