This past Sunday night, I had the pleasure of jamming with the guys from MiMo at the Pub at the End of the Universe. MiMo (Music in, Music out) is a relatively new band in the Portland jam scene, but they are making big strides in a short amount of time. Guitarist/vocalist Jordan Inglee has a contagious enthusiasm for playing and building up the scene. He found me on Facebook and when I told him I was coming to see him he invited me to jam on a few tunes.
I listened to the demo tracks on their myspace page and liked their takes on the Beastie Boys’ instrumental soul groove Sabrosa and Herbie Hancock’s jam-session stalwart Chameleon. Jordan put them on the setlist and sandwiched their original tune Barfly in between. I had heard Barfly on their myspace as well, though it seems to be gone now. It’s a fun latin-flavored jam vehicle with a few quirky stops that I was able to either remember or clue in on. Nick, Devin and Josh created a thick, funky groove that was easy to lock into, allowing me to listen to Jordan’s solo phrasings and interact with some percussive color. Having never even met the guys face-to-face until that night, it sure felt like we had played together more than a few times. I hope it sounded that way, too.
As I write this I’m reminded of a conversation I had with one of many drummers who have auditioned for Mystic Canyon over the years, one who played really well with us but ultimately never joined. He used to say our music was very intuitive, that was why his playing fit so well. I remember thinking at the time that he had just found a polite way of saying “predictable.” But now that I’ve had the experience of jamming on stage with new friends on a song I had only heard once before, I can appreciate what he meant. Barfly is in no way predictable, but the quirky bits made perfect sense, happening exactly where they ought to happen. Good music can have a way of sounding familiar even when you’re hearing it (or playing it) for the first time.