Jamming By the Hudson

On Monday evenings in warm weather, a magic moment takes place. People carrying musical instruments and folding chairs start assembling at the Rondout on the banks of the Hudson River in Kingston. Some greet each other as old hands and some welcome newcomers. They come for one simple purpose. Playing music for the sake of playing music with others. Period.

Informal, unstructured, spontaneous. No structure, fees, audience or the producer-types that we used to call “Suits”. 

I met a few of the musicians quite by accident one evening while exploring what had once been the Hutton Brickyard.

As the film below shows, a resort and restaurant had recently opened up on the site of the brickyard kilns and workshops. It was early on a weekday evening and the cavernous shed was practically empty. During drinks and bar snacks we heard soft music coming from a dark corner. The sound was crisp and natural, clearly not from a typical sound system. I mean, we could easily hear each other talk! Totally not restaurant blast-musique.

Curious, I traced the sound to a small group of guys sitting in a circle playing acoustic instruments. One thing led to another and I was allowed to sit in with them and shoot the following film:

We emailed back and forth a few times and they told me that Earl, the accordian and fiddle player was going to call a square dance at Opus 40 Sculpture Park in Saugerties.

How could I not go? Here is the Slide Mountain Band again, taking it to the people, at Opus 40 Sculpture Park.

After a few rounds of vigorous dances when even the statues rocked, Earl asked if people would like to take a rest break while the band played some restful music.

I went back to the Rondout Creek on a Monday evening to film some more jamming but a restaurant adjacent to the park was holding a fund-raiser with a DJ. It made jamming impossible. They decided to de-camp to Esopus, to a park right on the bank of the Hudson. Although the group was small and there were very few in the audience, the lemonade turned out great!

2 thoughts on “Jamming By the Hudson

  1. very special gathering. I have never seen so any people gathered who just love music, and the company of each other!!
    Fantasic footage!!

    1. Bob, Thanks for the comment and I’m delighted you like it! Obviously, I thought it was a special gathering, too.

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