There's a few good spots in Camden for Jazz, it goes with the 'alternative' populous that inhabits NW1.

The Green Note Jazz Jam
This happens on Sundays fortnightly (that's twice a month) I went once...dressed in a pink shirt, beret, cravat and elegant scarf. I looked the part and everyone definitely thought I was cool.. anyway, the quality of the jam was good.

Not particularly well run; you just hopped up when you felt like it and blasted a tune. I remember the pianist playing one chord in first position the entire time during our rendition of Mr P.C. which made it sound naff...depends on who's there.

I also had to sit through 2 hours of the house band...while good the night was billed as a jam session.

The Blues Kitchen
I used to live just down the road from these guys, and went there more for the fine selection of whiskies and rather attractive bar-staff than the actual music. However they do run a couple of jam nights - Sunday's from 6pm.

Its a blues jam. So unless you can put up with 4 hours of 12-bar blues and pentatonic/blues scale abuse avoid!

The quality of the blues was actually OK as blues goes. But for a cynical blues-hating old man like me...

The jam itself is very well run, with an announcer and clip-board and everything.

A side note: I've just noticed that swing patrol teach there Monday's. I went to a few of their lessons a while back which were tons of fun, full of beautiful women and easy to join in on. Plus Scott is a good bloke so go along if you fancy learning some scintillating dance moves.

The Jazz Café
Don't let the name fool you. Jazz does not occur here. They sold out and have no souls.

The UCLU Jazz Jam
While not technically in Camden its close enough. This is every Tuesday during term time on the 3rd floor bar (Phineas) of the UCL Union building from 8pm.

Its mostly populated by students at UCL from the jazz society. There is a wide mix of skills there and its very much a free-for-all. Worth going to, if not just for the gorgeous students and cheap booze.

I recently started reading "Jazz Anecdotes - Second Time Around" by Bill Crow A great collection of stories from when Jazz was all the rage - and its proponents honoured with whimsical stories, anecdotes and jokes. 

Here's some of the best:

African Drums
Deep in the African jungle, a safari was camped for the night. In the darkness, distant drums began a relentless throbbing that continued will dawn. The safari members were concerned, but the native guide reassured them. "Drums good. When drums stop, very bad"

Every night the drumming continued, and every night the guide reiterated. "Drums good. When drums stop, very bad."

Then one night the drums suddenly stopped. The guide look frightened. "When drums stop, very, very bad!" he exclaimed

"Why is it bad?" asked a member of the safari.
"Because when drums stop, bass solo begin!"

The Vocalist
A vocalist hired a pianist to accompany her at an audition for a night-club job. After listening to a couple of songs, the owner said, "Can you sing 'When Sunny Gets Blue'? Its my favourite song. If you can sing it, you're hired."

The singer whispered to the pianist "I don't know it all the way through." The pianist said, "I know it. Go ahead and start, I'll prompt you." 

Reluctantly, she began: "When Sunny Gets Blue..." She looked at the piano player for help, He whispered confidently, "B flat minor ninth."

The Salesmen
Two salesmen were having a drink at a bar. One claimed he was successful because of his ability to relate to anyone. "Whatever their IQ I can talk to them on their own level." His friend wanted a demonstration, so he tapped a stranger on the shoulder.

"Excuse me, what is your IQ?"
"It's about 200."
The salesmen immediately engaged him in a discussion of nuclear physics.

The next candidate admitted to an IQ of 100. The salesman launched into a discussion of politics and ecology with him. 

Finally the man at the end of the bar was asked his IQ. He said "Oh, I suppose its about 34."

The salesman said "What kind of reeds do you use?"

Big Band Drummer
A big band drummer was having time problems. He kept pulling the tempos down - playing slower and slower. The rest of the band urged the leader to get rid of him. 

The leader talked it over with the drummer, who made frantic efforts to keep the tempos up where they belonged, but he couldn't seem to stop dragging. Even his fills and accents were late. Finally the whole band threatened to quit, and the leader reluctantly fired the guy.

The poor guy was so despondent that he went down to the railroad tracks, and threw himself behind a train. 

Frustrated Jazzer
A musician who had spend many years trying to break into the big time was feeling very depressed. He'd been turned down by every record company in the business. Seeking a perverse revenge, he booked a recording studio and told the engineer to record exactly what he would say, then copy it onto a thousand compact discs and send them to all the recording executives in the country. 

In the vocal booth, once the red light came on, he ranted. "This is a message to all you sycophantic, talent-less bastards who have ignored me all these years. I dedicated my life to writing beautiful, emotive, soul-touching music, and all you idiots do is bin my tapes and sign pretty boy-bands and the Spice Girls. Well, I've taken all I can of your puerile, shallow industry, and it's YOU who've driven me to it! Goodbye, murderers of art!"

And with that he pulled out a gun, and blew his brains out. The sound engineer said from the booth "Okay....that's fine for level. Want to go for a take?"