660 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30308
Every Thursday, starting at 9:30pm
Cover: $7 plus $5 food/drink minimum
The Churchill Grounds jam session is the real deal. You don't have to be a monster player to jump on stage, but you definitely have to have your *stuff* together. Some excellent Atlanta jazz musicians attend these jam sessions and it's not uncommon for them to play tunes in unfamiliar keys or to even change keys in the middle of tunes. But, don't let that scare you ;-)
TWAIN'S BILLIARDS & TAP
211 E Trinity Place, Decatur, GA 30030
Every Tuesday, 9pm-midnight
Atlanta jazz trumpeter, Joe Gransden, leads a jazz jam session every Tuesday night at Twain's Billiards & Tap in Decatur (about 2 blocks from Decatur Square). The first set starts at 9pm. The house band usually kicks the night off with a couple of tunes and then they open the floor to all jazz musicians. This has rapidly become the best jazz jam session in Atlanta.
The Twain's jazz jam sessions began on April 15, 2008. On the first night, the band included Joe Gransden on trumpet, Tyrone Jackson on piano, Craig Shaw on bass, and Chris Burroughs on drums. Sitting in with the band were a couple of trumpet players, a drummer, and a guitarist. Joe and the band did a great job of making all of the jam session participants feel welcome on stage. This is definitely one of those jam sessions where you can join the band without a lot of pressure. The band sounded great and there was also a good-sized crowd. It certainly looks like this jam session is off to a good start!
Update 7/9/08: The past several weeks at the Twain's jazz jam session have been fantastic! In recent weeks, I've seen all of the following (and many more) show up at Twain's: Takana Miyamoto, Kevin Bales, Russell Gunn, Melvin Jones, Brian Hogans, Lee Hogans, Clarence Johnson, Anton Harris, Wes Funderburk, Mace Hibbard, Che Marshall, Justin Varnes, Ede Wright, Laura Coyle, Kemba Cofield, Janet Metzger, Louis Heriveaux, John Sanford, Kenyon Carter, Kinah Boto, Bernard Linnette... and that's IN ADDITION to the great house band of Joe Gransden, Tyrone Jackson, Craig Shaw, and Chris Burroughs! If you're familiar with the Atlanta jazz scene, you can see that just about every great Atlanta jazz musician has showed up at the Twain's jam session. This is definitely the place to be!
931 Monroe Drive, Suite C-103, Atlanta, GA 30308
Every Wednesday, ~9pm-midnight
The Apres Diem cafe in Midtown Atlanta has a jazz jam session every Wednesday night starting around 9pm. The jam session is hosted by GSU educator and jazz guitarist, Dave Frackenpohl.
Rick's comments from 2007
I recently saw my first jam session at Apres Diem. On that night there were about a dozen jazz musicians who came to jam, including Danny Harper, Kermit Walker, Dave Bass, and Derrick White. It was great to see and hear so many local musicians. As is the case on most nights at Apres Diem, the place was packed. As far as jam sessions go, Apres Diem is probably a good place to play and hangout. The musicians are supportive and it definitely beats playing to an empty house. However, if you're going to Apres Diem with the hope of watching the band, be prepared to stand in the bar area all night. You can only see the band from the bar and during the entire time I was there all of the bar seats were taken.
QUEEN OF SHEEBA
1594 Woodcliff Dr. N.E, Atlanta, GA 30329
Every Thursday, starting at 7pm
Located in Decatur, the Queen of Sheeba restaurant features a jazz jam session every Thursday night.
THE VELVET NOTE
4075 Old Milton Parkway, Alpharetta, GA, 30022
Every Thursday, 8pm-midnight
The Velvet Note jazz club, in Alpharetta, hosts a jazz jam session every Thursday night.