Some More Jam Session Terms Explained

Part of an ongoing series of one.


Soloist: Can only play one instrument at a time, often quite loudly or badly. If talking to a soloist, make sure that you speak clearly, as they are often not good listeners, due to lack of practice. On no account should you mention the presence of a rhythm section, as this might startle them.

Saxophonist: a sub set of soloist. They cannot all put five beats to the bar in a 4/4 tune, but most of them are pretty good at it.

Trumpeter: They can play louder than a saxophonist. They could also play quieter, but no trumpeter has ever tried this in living memory.

Guitarist: A gifted player without whom the entire band would fall to pieces. It wouldn’t matter if they did, because no-one can hear anyone else anyway.. Needs to be attached by some electrical wiring to a large box. Or to a rafter, in some cases.

Bass player: Intelligent, talented, young, good looking, delusional.

Vocalist: someone who is always right. Often sings with a five piece band , all of whom are in the wrong key.

Pianist: someone adept at playing entirely different notes to the vocalist. This is referred to as a “melody”. Often plays the wrong notes, but prefers to call these “altered chords”.

Rhythms section: note the plural. A mildly deranged collection of drummers, guitarists, pianists and bass players who can play different rhythms, and sadly often do. All at once.

Arrangement: A device used by vocalists to confuse everybody. Including the vocalist.

Charts: an indication of what you should have been playing.

Fours: often called by the Captain as a warning that there will be five bars.

Vibrato: Hortense, put that down, it is not what you think . . . TW


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