The JSJBF’s local competition

The Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation’s local competition to pick the New Jersey band to send to the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee in January 2020 is only 3 weeks from tomorrow.

WHERE: at Paul’s Tavern,1705 Main Street, Lake Como, NJ

WHEN: October 19 from 1-7 pm.

COST: $15 admission at the door.

We have 11 bands competing this year. Band members should arrive at least an hour before their scheduled set time.We generally follow the same procedures that the Blues Foundation uses for the competition in Memphis:

Scoring Criteria:

Scoring will be based on the system utilized by the Blues Foundation. The categories include: Blues Content, Instrumental and Vocal Talent, Originality and Stage Presence and are defined by the Blues Foundation as follows:

  1. Blues Content: Everyone has his or her own interpretation of what is or is not Blues. Any given three-judge panel will include members with varying opinions covering the spectrum of blues whenever possible, from the most traditional to southwest blues, jump blues, swamp blues, rock/blues etc. Bands should pick their songs carefully.Judges will be unimpressed with song selections that are uninspired( they refer to this as the “No Mustang Sally Rule.”)
  2. Vocals: The Act’s vocal skills.
  3. Instrumental Talent: The Act’s instrumental talent.
  4. Originality: Original work is encouraged. Cover tunes are allowed but playing recorded rendition of lick by lick is discouraged; will not be looked on favorably by the judges and will be reflected accordingly in the scoring. When doing a cover you need to “make the song yours,” e.g. Hendrix’s cover of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”
  5. Stage presence; This category relates to how “sellable” a band may be.

The raw scores are based on a scale of 1-10 points per category.The Blues Foundation provides the judges the following information on what the raw scores mean:

  • 1-3 points  – Typical of a beginning blues band
  • 4-5 points  – Typical of a local weekend band
  • 6-7 points  – Typical of an advanced local band but not yet ready to headline a major blues club
  • 8-9 points  – Typical of the quality of blues artists who headline major blues festivals
  • 10  points  – Typical of those who play the main stage at major blues festivals.

Those raw scores are then adjusted by a ” weighted multiplier” of X-4 for blues content, X-3 for originality and X-2 for instrumental talent, vocal talent and stage presence.

Penalty Points:

Of the 10 the Blues Foundation uses, we only enforce 2.

  1. You will be deducted 1 point if you finish 3 minutes or more before your allotted time performance expires. This has to do with people wanting to see certain bands and missing them because of short sets.
  2. You will be deducted 1 point for every 10 seconds you go over your 25 minute set time.

The Blues Foundation deducts points if you fail to acknowledge a song is a cover and /or not giving credit to its originator. We don’t but to get in the practice for Memphis, let the judges know when you’re doing an original or covering another artist’s song.

Each set will be 20 minutes with a 10-minute change over between sets. More detailed information about backline, scoring and penalty points will be sent in a day or two.

Although you’re playing TO the audience you’re playing FOR the judges, so there is no advantage to any particular set time. Crowd response is not a scoring factor. In fact, several times the first band on has won our competition. The 3 judges will be Lou Acevedo, Pat Arochas and Janet Goodwin Musso. (Greg Gaughn is the backup judge if needed).All 3 have judged multiple competitions in past years and several have attended the competition in Memphis.

Please start notifying your fans and posting on social media that you are participating and provide the date, time and place of the competition. The more people that come out the more money the Foundation and the winning band will receive. And remember, only band members and judges get in free. Volunteers ( yes even me ) wives, girlfriends, significant others, etc., will all have to pay the $15  admission. Children under 21 are permitted and will receive special colored wrist bands. Also, make sure your September 2019-August 2020 band dues of $75 are current or paid on or before October 19. You have to be a current member of the Foundation to compete. You can mail in your payment to:

Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation, PO Box 8713, Red Bank NJ 07701 or bring it with you on October 19.

Please email me back with the name and cell phone number of the band’s contact person and make sure I have your band name listed below the way you want it to appear.

Set Times

Here are the set times ( I’ve tried to take care of all the special requests due to other gig starting times, family events, etc.):

  • 1:00            Introductions by MC Eddy Cooper
    1:10-1:35   Jump Back
    1:45-2:10  Fish Eyed Blues
    2:20-2:45  VyntEdge Rock n’ Blues Band
    2:55-3:20 Tom Craig Band
    3:30-3:55  Kelley Ellis and Flynn
    4:05-4:30  SlideWinder Blues Band
    4:40-5:05  ShadeTree Mechanics
    5:15-5:40  JR Harrison Trio
    5:50-6:15  Bullet Proof Blues Band

Let me know if you have any questions. My cell number is 732-245-9932. I’m looking forward to watching all of you perform on October 19.
Gene Iadanza, JSJBF IBC Chairperson