The Top 5 New York Jam Sessions


Although jamming didn’t necessarily start in New York, there is certainly a huge following, with many locations that are almost dedicated to the art. Jamming, for those who aren’t in the know, originated around the turn on the 20th century and this music is nearly always performed spontaneously. You might be forgiven to think that this is unlikely to sound great; however, the pure rawness of the sound is what many people like the best. To be fair, get a collective of half decent musicians and put them in a room, and 8 times out of 10 the music is going to be interesting!

Mark Carey’s Harlem Sessions

Despite being one of the newest jam sessions in New York City, Mark Carey’s Harlem sessions have proved to be a massive hit! A mix of great artists have graced the stage so far, including:

  • Bertha Hope
  • Braxton Cook
  • Maya Azucena
  • Kebbie Williams
  • Corey Wallace

Others that go to make up the fabric of the Harlem Sessions scene also include members of the United Nations Youth Orchestra as well as dancers, poets and other musicians.

The Shed Harlem

Hosted on a fortnightly basis at Silvana, the Shed Harlem is hosted by Anu Sun. Flocking to Harlem on a Wednesday evening, the night jam session provides the basis for artists to showcase their progressive musical skills. Performers to grace the stage have included:

  • Justin Tyson
  • Robert Glasper
  • Jaleel Shaw
  • Mark Kelly

The Lesson

Found on New York City’s Lower East Side, The Lesson is a mix of hip hop and experimental soul jam sessions. Easily recognized as one of NYC most interesting places, this locale has seen some fantastic artists appear. The background crew work hard to serve the needs of a wide range of next generation artists across a huge variety of genres, including:

  • Funk
  • Jazz
  • R&B
  • Neo-Soul

If you like the idea of an eclectic mix of instrumentalists, vocalists, turntablists, producers and emcees, then The Lesson is a spot not to be missed!

Evolution Jam Session

Located in Greenwich Village on a Tuesday evening is the Evolution Jam Session. The Zinc Bar is normally packed, as visitors witness a collaboration of some of the best sounds that a jam session can possibly provide. Seen as an essential tool in assisting musicians from this field, you simply do not ever know who could show up and take to the stage. Unique enterprises coming from a mix of musicians, the Evolution Jam Session has witnessed some of the most up and coming artists around, including:

  • Robert Glasper
  • Roy Hargrove
  • Chris Dave
  • Maurice Brown

Of course, they are just a small selection of some of the entertainers that are called into this fantastic Greenwich Village venue.

Smalls Jazz Club

Our final offering is another Greenwich Village night club, and it comes in the form of Smalls Jazz Club. Expect to see of the newest talents in jazz looking to effectively make a name for themselves by cutting their teeth on this great showroom. Even if you can’t make it down to the venue, Smalls Jazz Club stream their performances. It is perhaps no surprise that Smalls has developed a huge following, since their inception back in 1994. We hope that you have enjoyed our round up of what we believe is 5 of the very best New York Jam sessions.