“I’ve been coming to the jazz jam for two years now, and it is hands down the best community of musicians. Everyone is welcoming and supportive. I’ve grown as a musician by coming here.”
— Deirdre (vocalist)
“As a newcomer to DC, I found that the DC Jazz Jam was an excellent way to meet local musicians and make contacts in the DC jazz community.”
— Oren (Pianist)
“The DC Jazz Jam is a wonderful opportunity for jazz lovers to join together and celebrate this great American art form. Musicians and appreciators young and old alike come out to Dahlak to listen, create and improve. It’s a great, friendly atmosphere.”
— Anders (Drummer)
“The hometown of Duke Ellington and the capital of the country that gave the world jazz, Washington, DC, is short on ways for jazz musicians to get to know each other and network. Unlike classical musicians, no DC jazz players I know belong to a union, since the opportunities for them to play professionally here tend to be casual gigs at small venues that can’t or won’t pay union wages. Jazz has thus traditionally required jam sessions to thrive, but a musician arriving in Washington will not find many jam sessions of the sort that nurtured the bebop revolution in 1940s New York.
“The DC Jazz Jam at Dahlak restaurant is a rare and invaluable exception. In the few months I have been associated with it, first sitting in and now as a member of the house band one Sunday a month, I have gotten to know a number of other musicians, which has led to promising musical relationships and the chance to create new music in gigs at several other venues. For the good of the music in what should be the capital of jazz, I hope the DC Jazz Jam will continue to thrive. It deserves the support of everyone who loves the crown jewel of American musical culture.”
— Alex (Guitarist)
“There are few places that still offer live music in the area and even fewer that offer live jazz. The DC jazz jam supports the expression of music as well as a place where musicians can gather to create and refine this craft. In this day of limited interaction between people in the community, this is vital to the growth of the community and vital humanity and life itself. Oh, and we have fun too!”
— Neal (Drummer)
“The DC Jazz Jam has provided a tremendous boost to DC’s indigenous jazz scene. [The] cadre of fine musicians at Dahlak have managed to create a warm, inviting, encouraging, and creative environment at their weekly jam sessions, which is no small accomplishment. Experienced professionals, like myself, attend the jam to relax, stretch out musically, and network with other players. But at the same time, the DC Jazz Jam has proved to be the perfect setting for younger talent to come out, and have some of their first experiences playing in front of an audience and to learn their craft in the laboratory of a nurturing jam session. In this manner, the DC Jazz Jam is but the latest chapter in Washington’s long history with America’s classical music, jazz.”
— Seth (Clarinetist/Saxophonist)
“I have been the drummer in one of the four rotating house bands for the D.C. Jazz Jam for about five months, and I hope to do so for a long time to come. The essence of jazz is improvisation that comes from communication with other musicians. Home practice is important, but jazz can’t be learned practicing alone. For an aspiring jazz musician, whether he or she loves jazz as an avocation or is pursuing music as a profession, opportunities to play with other musicians are essential. Jam sessions provide this opportunity. Without them, playing opportunities would be out of reach for many amateur and aspiring professional musicians. Jam sessions allow a musician to experiment with what he or she has learned, try new things, improve listening, and be creative. I have played and studied jazz drums for several decades, and jam sessions have been essential for my development as a musician.
“The ideal jam session is one where musicians of all skill levels are made to feel welcome in a non-threatening atmosphere. There are only four or five regular jam sessions in the D.C. metro area, and they do not all have this quality. The DC Jazz Jam does. The venue is centrally located in Adams Morgan, the house musicians are accomplished, sitting in is actively encouraged and visiting musicians are made to feel welcome.”
— Alan (Drummer)