Raven's 7th Annual Jam For Cans
By Phil Chesnut
Last Thursday, Puget Sound's vast list of blues talent again showed their generosity by donating their time and talents to the legendary local blues benefit, Jam For Cans, helping to make it another huge success. Featuring over 30 of the area's top note benders playing to a standing room only crowd, this annual blues marathon demonstrated once more why this event annually wins the WBS Best Event BB Award.
Supported by a blues savvy multitude of fans and their contagious spirit of giving, this year's Jam For Cans certainly surpassed all expectations. Thanks to the hard work of Sheri and Raven Humphres, who annually invest a great deal of time, energy and their own money to ensure a first class show. Naturally Raven's chores for JFC are on the musical end, however the daunting task of promotion and sponsorship is all carried on Sheri's shoulders. A true PR ace, who's promotion skills are easily equal to Raven's sax talent, Sheri's chores begin about 8 months before the next jam. The perfect Yin to the perfect Yang. Thanks to Sheri and Raven, this benefit of the blues has long reached a level that few others will ever approach, because this rare, invitational jam not only celebrates the spirit of the music but the spirit of giving as well and that through our beloved music, we have the opportunity to truly help those that are less fortunate.
Of course an event of this magnitude deserves an equally top-notch host/venue, with Seattle's favorite juke joint, the Highway 99 Blues Club being the perfect fit. The Highway 99's bosses, Ed and Steve have not only been more than eager to help support this worthy cause, they've gone out of their way to accommodate not only the giant list of musicians, but the uncommonly large and thirsty crowd as well. Thanks in large part to the outstanding staff at the Highway 99, every thing seemed to be running smoothly.
Also running smoothly was Raven's stage. Legendary for running the hardest, one day, mainstage of the year, Raven masterfully assembles a half dozen sets and always finding the best players to compliment each other in his notoriously horn fat, instant ensembles. Quickly segueing between various sets and making sure that everyone gets to bust a lick, unlike his incompetent artist, Raven leaves no one out.
Filling all of the other gaps and needs of a major event like this is our own venerable, Washington Blues Society and their fantastic volunteers. A great addition as partner or sponsor for any blues based program, the WBS has long showed it's value and experience at any blues event.
The blues was born a century ago, through a dedication for the music and with a spirit of faith, hope and charity. It's nice to see that this spirit and dedication is still alive and that this essence of the blues, via Jam For Cans, has once more come full circle.