Jam Sessions are great examples of healthy friendships

The California Honeydrops play at Terminal West in Atlanta, Georgia. [Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 25600, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]
One of the most fun things I ever did in my years of playing trumpet was sit in on a JAM Session.

A jam session is a relatively informal musical event, process, or activity where musicians, typically instrumentalists, play improvised solos and vamp on tunes, songs and chord progressions. To “jam” is to improvise music without extensive preparation or predefined arrangements, except for when the group is playing well-known jazz standards or covers of existing popular songs. Original jam sessions, also ‘free flow sessions’, are often used by musicians to develop new material (music) and find suitable arrangements. – Wikipedia

For me this is one of the best artistic renderings of what it is like to have good friends.

There are many people who never take their bands out of garages and just enjoy the time of sharing music.

The California Honeydrops’ Lech Wierzynski, on trumpet, plays with Ben Malament on the washboard at Terminal West in Atlanta, Georgia. [Nikon D5, 28-300mm, ISO 9000, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]
This give and take in the Jam Session is where bands form their bonds and write new music.

I get a lot of phone calls where someone is trying to sell me something. The sad thing is that often this is from my “friends”.

I have a small group of friends that just call to catch up and talk about just about anything. We find that our spouses are often reminding us we have been on the phone too long. That is a good friend when the two of you get lost in time.

The California Honeydrops play at Terminal West in Atlanta, Georgia. [Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 20000, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]
Funny thing is that most of my closest friends were also musicians at one time. They understand we need others for our creativity to be pushed and we need the friendship due to how lonely often it is being an artist.

Then there are the formal groups where I worked with people with the hope of building friendships. I served on industry boards and helped with many different conferences for many years.

When I needed to leave those roles for any number of reasons I often sent letters to the group explaining my departure. Sadly only one person at the most ever reached out to say thanks or checking to be sure everything was alright.

Don Rutledge enjoys telling a story at the first gathering of the SBC photographers at Ridgecrest, North Carolina.

I have talked often about my mentor Don Rutledge and his impact on my life and many of my closest friends.

Don had an open door policy. If he wasn’t editing the door on his office was open. He had regular visitors through the years of all different levels of photography. He treated them all the same. Usually he looked at their work then would ask one of the other staff photographers to join him for a few minutes before asking the photo staff to go to lunch with him and the new acquaintance.

One day I was eating dinner with Don and his wife Lucy. I said to them how much I appreciated his openness. Then Lucy got very serious. She was upset at how many photographers came by and Don gave them some pointers and they even went to Black Star, his agency in NYC, to try and take his work. They never came back again and just used Don.

Don bowed his head and felt a little shame. He never stopped welcoming people.

Don was really trying to develop long lasting friendships. He would call photographers and mention he saw their work and compliment them. He wrote letters all the time telling people what he thought and often gave little tips that were most of the time welcomed.

Matthew 22:37-40

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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