Roger-Z "Jam Master Roger-Z"

"Jam Master Roger-Z"

Thursday, 8:30P @ Victor's Hawthorne 914-769-1817
500 Commerce St. Hawthorne, NY 10532

Interview by Roger-Z (11/15/12)

More Sugar: Tell me about your blues/rock/reggae jam.
Roger-Z: I host the jam at Victor's in Hawthorne, NY on Thursday nights from 8:30 - 12 pm along with my partner, drummer Rudy Feinauer (Tramps Like Us, Gil Parris). Each week we feature a different vocalist/guitarist. Guest artists have included Gil Parris, Tom Dowd, Johnny Feds, Mike Murphy, Petey Hop, Dave Fields, Chris Vitarello, Rich Kelly, Hank DeCora, Thomas Lloyd, and Al Bazaz (from "No Discipline"). I believe that a good house band draws people to a jam. Each week, Mr. Feinauer and I learn five songs that our guest has requested. Our opening set includes one or two songs of my choice and four by the artist. One night, we called a drummer up to jam and he said, "No thanks. I didn't come to play. I just came to watch Rudy!"

More Sugar: How do you put together your jammers -- first come first serve, musical compatibility, ability?
Roger-Z: We owe our primary allegiance to the listeners. We strive to produce beautiful music. We never want to drive our audience away due to loudness or non-musicality. To that end, we attempt to put together sets composed of like-minded musicians. We will surround a younger player with veterans. We use first come, first serve as guidance, not as a firm rule. We aim to give all jammers (including singers) three songs whenever possible. To that end, we ask players to moderate their solos so that the set does not run too long. We encourage the professional musicians in the area to drop by after their own gigs and join us in the end of the night house set.

More Sugar: What expectations does the club have?
Roger-Z: Alex Mora, the owner of Victor's, really loves live music and wants it to succeed at his club. You can tell he has great ears by the acts he books on the weekend. But he runs a business. As a rule of thumb, for every dollar he pays a band, he needs to make two in order to break even. Bottom line, the jam has to put butts in the seat. Otherwise, we get canceled.

More Sugar: Talk about you Cable/Internet Program, "WorkingMusicians."
Roger-Z: I host TheWorkingMusican cable/internet show which features live music and interviews with tri-state area working musicians. We record in the downtown White Plains Community Media Studio. Past guests include The Dwellers, Three For All, Slippery Chickens, Terry Silverlight, Blues Buddha, Sarah Chesler, Amy Kerwin, Chris Fox, Pete Hop, Will Van Sise, Ten Feet Deep, and many more. View current shows at For a full list of programs, please visit

More Sugar: How does your black belt in the martial arts affect your playing?
Roger-Z: Iíve trained in Tae Kwon Do for over twenty years, mostly at in downtown White Plains. In March 2007, I earned my Fourth Degree Black Belt from The World Taekwondo Federation. Martial arts has strengthened my body and sharpened my reflexes. This allows me to play more precisely, more in the pocket, and more in the moment. Some call Tae Kwon Do sparring "physical chess". The same principals apply to playing in a band. Except that instead of trying to trick your opponent, you aim to unite the group in harmony. The bassist acts as the glue between the drummer (who drives the bus) and the guitars and keyboards.

©2012 Roger-Z