The lowdown…

What is Battersea Jazz Workshop?

Started in November 2013, the Battersea Jazz Workshop is a fortnightly jam session held in Battersea, near to Clapham Junction. It’s aimed at musicians who are new to jazz, out of practice, or simply want an opportunity to play in a friendly environment as though no one’s listening.

It’s a very relaxed jam session where we attempt to navigate a few well-known standards. There’s no teaching element, and there’s no pressure to perform – it’s just an environment for learning musicians to get together, exercise their chops and have some fun.

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What’s in the repertoire?

The repertoire is mostly made up of the ‘forbidden’ standards – tunes like Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, Black Orpheus, Straight No Chaser, Song For My Father, All Blues, A Night In Tunisia, Green Dolphin Street and All The Things You Are. Want to know more? Here’s the full list of our repertoire.

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How much does it cost?

The cost of the sessions covers the room hire and a small admin fee to cover marketing expenses such as ad placement or late cancellation fees. The price varies according to the number of attendees, but it is likely to be in the region of £10. Payment is strictly cash. There is a £5 penalty if you cancel with less than 72 hours notice for any reason. Please note that any unspent admin fees will be donated to Sound Minds.

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How do I find out more?

Just sign up for the newsletter. It contains dates for future sessions and has instructions on how to apply for a place. There’s no pressure to attend and you can unsubscribe any time if you don’t feel the sessions are for you. You can also look at the blog, which has details of forthcoming dates, new additions to the repertoire etc. If you don’t receive an email for a while, don’t worry – they only come out about once a month.

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Where are the sessions held?

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Updated December 30, 2015: we have moved.

Thanks to the kind cooperation of Sound Minds, we now have better facilities than ever, based a stone’s throw from Clapham Junction station (about 500m) in York Road.

Address: 20-22 York Road, Battersea SW11 3QA

To walk from Clapham Junction, take Falcon Road. You can also jump on a number of buses (49, 319, 344, 345) that leave from the station end of Falcon Road and will deliver you to spitting distance of the studio in a couple of minutes. The 44 route also runs along York Road, and will drop you outside the studio; it terminates in Tooting/Victoria.

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What time are the sessions?

Sessions run from 7.30pm to 10.30pm.

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What instruments are you looking for?

Battersea Jazz Workshop is for all musicians. Instruments we’ve had to date include drums, bass, piano, guitar, sax (alto, tenor and bari), trumpet, trombone, flute, vocals, percussion and pedal steel guitar. But if you wanted to play kazoo, no one is stopping you.

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Do I need to bring my own instrument?

You’ll need to bring your own instrument, though there is a drum kit, electronic piano and amps for bass, guitar and keyboard, plus a PA and mics. You will be charged for any damage to the kit, so please treat it with respect.

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I’m a singer. What do I need to know?

The repertoire is not all suitable for singers, so you are welcome to sit these numbers out when you come – or to scat. You will need to bring your own lyrics, as they don’t tend to be included with the lead sheets that can be downloaded from the Dropbox. Please expect to have to sing in the key prescribed on the repertoire page, as the group is aimed at musicians who will probably struggle to transcribe accurately on the fly. Places for singers are extremely limited, and vocalists are not accepted on to every session.

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What if I don’t live nearby?

I recommend trying Jazz Rehearsals, based at The Premises in NE London. Hideaway in Streatham also runs a good workshop. Both of these also include some tuition.

What else do I need to know?

There is plenty of free parking nearby. There are tea-making facilities and toilets at the studios. If you use these, please make sure you leave everything in the state of cleanliness you found it (or better).

Please note that there is a strict NO ALCOHOL policy in the studio, though we often gather in the pub around the corner after the session for a refreshing debrief.

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