"We got people that would call a tune in a given key and they'd start playing it in another -- quick adjustments, you know -- or you looked up and there were like five trumpets on stage. And there've been some singers who I could say I'm a singer, too." That's how it was the first night for pianist Stef Scaggiare when he recently took over as host of the Monday night jam sessions at Charlie's, but he applied a bit of organization and the format has been shaping up. Keith Kilgo is at the drums, Tom Williams on bass.
Scaggiare, who has performed at clubs in the area since the early '70s, has backed up the trumpet of Dizzy Gillespie and the trombone of Urbie Green, accompanied the voices of Margana King and Ernestine Anderson and worked under the baton of Aaron Copland.
"I haven't said anything to discourage any of the people who think a little more of themselves than they should, but there were some that sat in that I think won't be back. Maybe it's because they're sort off not in that league. It's really for the people who are players, either professionals or semi-professionals, even amateurs but quite good at it, and not the kind of people who are taking advantage of the fact that, 'Hey, there's an open mike at Charlie's...' We don't get this parade of horn players who are bumping into each other around the stage, which really gets to be like Ted Mack Amateur Hour... Everybody's very friendly, 'Hey, how's it been goin' -- I saw you here last week.'"