Anchored by local luminary musicians – including Stan Davis and KJ McNeill – The Muse Open Jam Session at Underground Arts promises to provide one of the best regular free nights of music this summer.
UA founder Michael Thatcher originally envisioned a traditional jazz session, but Muse has evolved to incorporate nearly every musician, and every genre, that walks through the door.
What caused the Muse Jam Session to take a leap forward in popularity?
When we struck on a set house band to anchor the night, that gave it just enough structure to allow people to enter into session and really grow as musicians. Plus, we’ve got really good gear onstage. It’s better than what most people have, so that makes it easy for people to drop in without bringing a whole lot of stuff.
This jam session is more varied in style than the traditional jazz jam night.
In a traditional session, the band jumps into something and a vocalist tries to play off of them in the moment. But we’ve had a lot of singers that want to sing a specific song a specific way. So right now we’re experiencing a bit of a battle between vocalists and instrumentalists. It might mean creating a separate night just for singers.
How does the Muse night relate to your vision for Underground Arts?
We wanted to design a facility that gave the artists what they need – equipment, sound, lights – and let them develop themselves. Most of our regular patrons are performing artists and musicians. That’s the way we like it.
I don’t know of another for-profit venue that blends touring rock bands with local performance – including theater.
If this were just a rock club, I wouldn’t be interested. For me, it’s the entire spectrum of performance that makes it a strong venue. We try to get just a little bit from every section of the arts in Philly.
The Muse – Open Jam Session
1200 Callowhill St.
July 2, August 6, and every first Tuesday of the month