The Story of how the Lab Session got started – by Jim Crozier
As for my main project these days (November 2017), the Wednesday Night Lab Session, I started after I retired from the Florida Department of State in 2013. I was talking with Jay Pelham of Bird's Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack about doing something regular there. He suggested the Wednesday Happy Hour time slot. I agreed to give it a try, with absolutely no idea of what I wanted to do.
I started out with a four week commitment on October 30, 2013. I did a solo show for a couple weeks, but it was clear that that was not going to draw a sustaining crowd, so on the third week, I invited Kevin Robertson - a well-known local guitarist that I had never played with before. It went well and we were going to repeat it the following week, but he had neglected to clear the date with his better half and had to bail. At the last minute, on the morning of the last Wednesday of the run, I called Neal Goree, another young, hot, guitar player that I had never played with. He agreed and we had a wonderful time. At the end of the night, I told Trey David (another Bird's partner) that I would probably be back in February. That said, I just let the idea percolate for a while.
On February 5, 2014, I did, in fact return to Bird's and announce the Wednesday Night Lab Session - something different every week. My documentation doesn't go back quite that far, so I don't know what I did those first couple of weeks, but it has been a great run - and will continue as long as I can and wonderful North Florida musicians continue to want to come and play with me. I maintain the calendar at http://jimcrozier.com/lab/.
2017 & 2018:
In the second phase of the project I got a little more structured in that each guest got to try anything, except fire me.
by Jim Crozier, each week features a different guest
- the style changes depending on who the guest is:
a hot picker or singer? a songwriter? a band? blues? jazz? bluegrass? Americana?
has evolved over the years and now presents the guest with the
opportunity to try something new:
as a duo with Jim, or to invite other musicians to join the session to form a new, or established band.
At the end of 2019:
After 5 years, it is settling in a bit more. A few specific ensembles have begun to take shape, most notably the Lab Cats, but also a new jazz project with Shannon Stoval, and something out of Old Porch Swing. It will still depend on the featured guest (star) model, but bring back some of the standing ensembles more often.
Things pretty much went on that way until the middle of March in 2020 when the COVID-19 Shutdown started. I carried on by learning how to produce a Facebook Live version of the show from my studio. This continued for 12 weeks while I learned the basics of TV production, but it got to be too much to carry on. I really did enjoy learning what it takes, learning the tools and all, but in the end, it is a lot of work and not nearly as much fun as playing on stage with my friends.
During that time, there were a few Guerilla Vidio Sessions featuring the Lab Cats, Old Porch Swing, and another combination or two. but mostly we hunkered down and got in some much needed practice time.
Then, as of June 16, 2021, the Lab Session is back at Bird's, picking up right where things left off. Hooray!===========================