By Quentin Young
If you play an instrument, it doesn’t matter what it is or how good you are, Otis Taylor wants to jam with you.
Taylor, an internationally known blues artist who organizes the annual Otis Taylor Trance Blues Jam Festival, said what he enjoys most about the event is when people come out to be part of the music, regardless of what they have to contribute.
“We had a lady come with a professional kazoo (last year),” Taylor said. “The point is people can bring anything.”
The festival, now in its fourth year, is scheduled for 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at eTown Hall in Boulder. Attendees may participate in workshops during the day, which culminates with a “Grand Jam” from 7 to 9:30 p.m. The whole thing is meant for all ages, all instruments, and all abilities.
“Music brings a sense of community,” Taylor said.
But some people might go to the festival just to check out its lineup of musicians, who happen to boast quite a lot of ability, including the likes of Janiva Magness, Ron Miles, Daniel Sproul (of Rose Hill Drive), West Water Outlaws and Cassie Taylor, Otis’ daughter.
The Los Angeles-based Magness is an award-winning blues singer, and Miles is a Denver-based trumpet player with a national presence.
Brandon Niederauer, an 11-year-old guitar phenom, recently was added to the program. He already has performed with Taylor, Col. Bruce Hampton and other elder veterans of the stage.
“We have a lot of younger, up-and-coming musicians this year,” Taylor said.
This is the fourth year for the festival. At one time, Taylor staged it at the Boulder Theater, but eTown’s space is better suited to the event, he said.
“I like keeping it more intimate,” Taylor said.
Taylor lives in Boulder, but he has spent much of the past several months overseas, playing to audiences in France, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe.
One of the festival’s workshop subjects is songwriting. Asked what advice he gives to aspiring songwriters, Taylor said he tells them not to worry about rhyming and but to focus on telling a story.
“Try to write the truth,” he said.
If you go
What: Otis Taylor Trance Blues Jam Festival
When: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8
Where: eTown Hall, 1535 Spruce St., Boulder