The house band and its array of jam musicians that has carried us the blues from the Old Tap House to the Katonah Grill is once again on the move. With the latter recently losing its cabaret license, Guitarist Marty Schechter of Golden’s Bridge, Drummer Gary Schwartz and bassist Rich Kelly have resurfaced in Mt. Kisco on Wednesday nights at O’Malley’s with a tradition that won’t die easy. “Those that like the blues like to keep playing the blues,” is how Mr. Schechter describes their unwillingness and inability to go away.
At 133 East Main Street, where Fitzgerald’s once operated, he says, “It’s a nice room and it’s got good acoustics.” Mostly the same as the previous owners had set up the room – save the plasma TVs stationed at each booth – this venue does give the audience more room to move if they choose to dance.
“We’ll get some people dancing but it depends on the mix. If it’s mostly guys we don’t want to see a lot of dancing,” he can’t help joking.
Currently, it’s a lot of the old guys who form both the audience and the musicians providing the sound, but Mr. Schechter thinks the jam does have a bit of a chance to get the younger generation to share in the joy and the pain of the blues. “When the college kids are playing, their friends come out to support them and by osmosis, hopefully, some of them will get it,” he says.
But joining in for first time musicians does not have to be a painful process if tentative players might be held back by a little stage fright. “Just come out,” he says, “it’s a very warm and fuzzy group of people.”
From there, the regulars know how to ease a new guy or girl into the mix. “You’re up there with guys that know how to play,” he says, “so they’ll hold it together – even if there’s nervousness at the beginning.”
The Blues also lends itself to an open forum not found in the typical rock jam, according to Mr. Schechter. A lot of the music falls into a basic structure, therefore, he says, “Once they’re listening to Blues, it’s easier for things to work when there’s a certain familiarity to the tunes.”
This, in all likelihood, helps out the high school aged performers, who the jam has not left behind either. Still, coming out with their parents on Wednesday nights, he says, “They get to share the experience and learn from people who know more about the business of making music.”
For him, though, the time for picking things up from other talented musicians has probably passed him by. “I might be too old to be learning,” he says, so he’s content to listen and enjoy once the house band bows out.
Networking into other gigs and socializing also will suffice. “It’s like a club with an open membership,” he says. A notion that he gladly extends to the community not only out of self-interest but with consideration as to why live music offers something that the cost effective DJ cannot. “Because, it’s real,” he concludes.
Rich Monetti interview of Marty Schechter