Bands forming sessions and Bands formed out of sessions.
I’ve touched on this subject before but I feel it could be worthy of further discussion.
We’ve agreed (or disagreed) that there is a place for all types of arrangement as regards sessions. However, my ideal scenario is basically a few people(friends or otherwise) meeting together(regularly or otherwise) for a “tune” without any preconceived plan regarding arrangements, set lists etc. It’s basically a spontaneous affair. Of course, if the participants attend regulary, many of the same tunes and sets will come up. The mainstays may or may not get paid but it’s the music that’s the important thing.
However, many sessions are formed by “bands” who use them to rehearse or air their repertoire. These might still be open to other musicians and they can “join in” if they know the tunes but I think such arrangements can be a bit restrictive and feel a bit “cliquey”. In other cases, musicians in a session may find that they like each each other musically and a band will form out of a session. I don’t mind this so much and there have been some good outcomes over the years; eg in Edinburgh we’ve had Jock Tamson’s Bairns, Fine Friday etc who formed out of Sandy Bells sessions. That’s fine but I feel they should then “move on”(which they both have) rather that change the dynamic of the session too much.
A third scenario, and one which I feel is the worst of all, is when bands are “planted” in a pub under the guise of a “session”. They will sit in the corner and plough through their previously rehearsed programme and “the tourists” and, maybe some of the punters, will think it’s great. This sort of thing is, unfortunately, on the increase and actually encouraged by projects such as “The McEwan’s Sessions” which have caused so much controversy here in Scotland.