The gang was all there – Memphis Ukulele Flash Mob, Men With Soul, Lewis Center Wolfpack, Riviera Holloway, Barbara Woods, Doris Webb, and Lazarus Settle.
It was just another Saturday afternoon at the North Branch Library, but there was nothing ordinary about the Jam Session. This unlikely mix of musicians and vocalists treated the diverse gathering of young and old with a winning blend of sultry blues, gospel favorites, and soulful ballads
“We have a jam session every now and again to bring together music lovers of different cultures and racial backgrounds,” said Johnnie Mosley, the teen librarian at the North Branch. “Everybody always has such a great time, and I even get to play drums. It’s wholesome entertainment for our children and teens. And we get to show by example that although we are different, North Memphis a loving and united community.”
The first Jam Session was staged two years ago when Mosley thought it would “be great to bring together musical guests and musicians from various musical and racial backgrounds just to see what would happen.”
There were a few musical surprises, including a great solo by a student in middle school, Bryson Richmond. The mistress of ceremony was Evelyn Taylor, author, mother, and comedian.
“All guest groups and solo singers were asked to prepare songs that everyone could join in,” said Mosley. “There was a diversity in the music and audience. There were blues, soul, country, pop, and gospel.”
The program ended with everyone singing an old gospel staple, I’ll Fly Away.
Karol Hogan, North Branch manager, said the next Jam Session date has not been set, but everyone is asked to check MemphisLibrary.org for information on future jam sessions at the North Library.
“These programs bring our community out to the library, and it’s always standing room only,” said Hogan. “I think for all the singers and musicians, the jam sessions are enjoyable because music helps everyone, no matter how different they are, to find common ground. Making great music together is something everyone agrees on.”