Photo: Josue Ramirez
Live. Eat. Shop. Work. Play. In downtown Las Vegas. You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, the slogan emphasizes the entrepreneurial prosperity and rejuvenation of downtown Las Vegas. With business growth comes culture, and with culture, come inspirational and captivating figures, communities, and places you want to return to again because you can expect an ambiance and a camaraderie.
I wasn’t sure what to expect at 6th/Franklin’s “Jazzy Jam Session.” The home’s hostess Janelle explained that the jam would feature Nate Stratte and Anthony Hall of Spokane, Washington. It’s crucial to have some key players set a solid tone in a jam to keep the sound cohesive and palatable especially when the entire room has the ability to ask to join in. Talk about a potential danger zone. To my delight the core band’s roots exerted a deep funk and blues rock pocket, both playing electric guitar with Anthony simultaneously playing snare with his free hand. They captured their audience and when the hostage situation ended, various people in the room started to ask if they could come up and join their moment. The power duo obliged, and the jam train took to it’s rails. I liked that it wasn’t about inviting people up, you had to just get yourself up there and literally ask another player for the instrument or the mic. I liked that because it kept the grooves solid and only those who dared to jam in serious fashion were integrated, naturally.
Leslie Chan (pictured in middle) took the mic first. I’d met her a year ago and we’d talked collaborating but it never came to fruition so imagine our surprise when the moment come to us naturally. Her voice took me by storm, ranging from soprano to alto effortlessly and the kicker?! She had the nerve to jam with the best of them although she had never improvised before! That kind of moment was what the night was all about to me. I have chills just writing it.
Milu Angelique, Pat Tucker, and Jules Manning of We Are Pancakes were present and eventually worked their way into the jam too. I’d been dying to show them off to the home’s owner Joey Vanas, and was thrilled that he was as impressed by Milu as the rest of us are. Speaking of Joey, the guy is keeping carpet verses wood flooring in his living in room sheerly for the sake of getting the exact room sound he wants…. Mind you that’s a lot of guests by the dozens with their shoes on. I noticed Joey sopping up a spilled beer from the carpet more than once… Now THAT, is dedication to the sound! I think we’ve all seen him pour his heart into this studio and performance space and it is nothing short of perfection.
A little back story for those of you who aren’t familiar with 6th & Franklin, you can book a room there Airbnb.com. The Las Vegas Arts District home has been a hub for creativity of all sorts for years, and now it is inviting the community inside to become the sowing of a greater garden.
Consider the space in the official honing process. This isn’t one genre of a people, style, sound, creative approach… this is the crossing of the minds, the wires, the love.