Last night’s jam. Photo by Seth Weiner.
Every Tuesday night drummer Duane Trucks hosts an open jam session at The Five Spot in Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood. Last night was a particularly stellar version of the always exciting and diverse gatherings. His brother Derek Trucks and friend Warren Haynes, each reportedly in town rehearsing with the Allman Brothers Band, showed up to join in the fun. Derek Trucks jumped in boldly first for a version of Dr. Lonnie Smith’s “Back Track.” The relaxed feel of the event seemed to inspire Trucks and all of the musicians to “stretch” delightfully. By the time the improv had moved into Jimi Hendrix’s “Who Knows,” Warren Haynes had joined the revolving ensemble. Bassist Kevin Scott also performed and he served as the unofficial emcee for the weekly jam. In addition, bassists Todd Smallie (Derek Trucks Band) and Ted Pecchio, guitarist Nick Johnson, saxophonist Eric Fontaine, percussionist Gaurav Malhotra all joined The Trucks’ in the spontaneous musical stew. Haynes remained on stage to swap spectacular licks with the elder Trucks and Atlanta ace Johnson, and take lead vocals on what became an extended version of Little Milton’s “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.”
The music extended deep into the night, with bands from throughout the region performing mini-sets of music with surprisingly brief interruptions between acts. It was also streamed over the Internet thanks to one of our most diligent music documenters, the one-and-only ZMan.
Most notable of this section of the evening to this reporter was a reformed version of an old favorite band, The Soundmen – featuring the strangely under appreciated Atlanta guitarist Myles Brown. The current version also boasts saxophonist Jordan Shalhoup, bassist Matt Stallard and drummer Greg Perry. They were joined by Dave Engelhard on sax during the set of original compositions “Elevator Music,” “Stuff” and “Dance.”
While the crowd started to get thin around one am, many of the core musicians remained, including both Trucks. Derek Trucks would ultimately return to the stage shortly after 2 AM in typical unassuming fashion. He sat on a guitar amp during a crazy-fun take on “Spoonful,” but would eventually step up to lead the band through a couple of energy flourishes. Many of the musicians from earlier had returned as well, and they were joined by guitarist Ben Forehand and tromponist Jonathan Lloyd, whose nine-piece band Rock Steady hosts a weekly Wednesday event at the neighboring Star Bar.
The weekly events continue at The Five Spot next week, and the music generally starts at 9 PM. The Soundmen will perform a considerably lengthier set in the same Five Spot on March 31.