Wednesday, January 16, 2019
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20190109 McAllenMobile IMG 6279This was no normal jam...if anything, it was the Rock 'n Roll/Big Band All-Star Jam. About 15 musicians set up on the stage at McAllen Mobile Park and, well, they jammed like they were on a red carpet.

Among those who arrived at the invitational event include Jay and Tammy, Jean-Louis Lavoie, Howard O. Bedient, Pat Arguello, Deanna Nelson, Wild Bill and Susie Q, Del Puschert – all musicians with great experience, immense talent and a deep passion for music.

20190109 McAllenMobile IMG 6225Jay and Tammy Roy drove from Port Isabel just to spend three hours with fellow musicians and more than 200 people who packed the dance hall for this special treat. The duet, who last year performed for their 30th, and final, season in the Valley, were in town to play in Port Isabel for a New Year's event. They have performed in 49 states (Hawaii still on the list), nine provinces (only Saskatchewan remains) and several special events and national and international festivals.

“That was a wonderful group. We were really glad to be guests there and invited to come,” said Tammy, adding that they decided to stay home these days and work on their music business and relax on their two acres where they spend time feeding the deer, foxes and other animals they share the land with. “This was a lot of fun.”

Puschert, a one-time saxophonist for Elvis Presley, almost brought the house down with his solo during Ray and Jane Kumor's rendition of “Mustang Sally.” While his 85-year-old body carried him to the mic, by the time he was done jamming and swaying and putting on a show, there was no doubt that a younger man returned to his seat. Puschert literally breathed an exciting life into his instrument and that energy carried throughout the crowd.

“I love playing with good musicians,” he said. “This is fun.” Puschert could be heard on many songs doing fill, adding some improv and having as much fun as those on stage, those in the crowd and those dancing on the dance floor. The show was a Who's Who of Valley Musicians (at least part time).

“I have to take a moment to talk about this guitar player next to me,” said Jean-Louis Lavoie, the park's regular guitarist who played along, Jay Roy. “This man is one of the classiest guitarists, one of the most professional musicians and nicest person I have met. He can really play it.”

20190109 McAllenMobile IMG 6254“Hey, what about me,” Tammy joked from across the stage, bass in hand. Then a special improv joke session took place that kept the crowd laughing and made it seem like that group had performed together for years.

While country jams are the mainstay of jams across Winter Texan parks in South Texas, the rock 'n roll jam seems to be building momentum and trending. Green Gate Grove in Mission recently started one and Casa del Sol will take over the jam that was held at McAllen Mobile Park, which runs its rock 'n roll jam from November through December and begins it again in March. Host and trumpet player Pat Arguello said that over the years the jam has transitioned from a big band/rock 'n roll jam to almost explicitly rock 'n roll. That in part is due to a different generation – and how could anyone not like the lineup.

20190109 McAllenMobile IMG 6307Some of the performances included Puschert with “After the Luvin',” Howard O. Bedient with “Route 66,” Arguello with “Caravan,” Lavoie with “It's All Right, It's Ok,” Dean Schilling with “Little Runaway,” Lily and Bob Wiebe with “Sea Cruise,” Gerry and Eloise Rutherford with “Can't Help Falling in Love,” and Jane Kumor performed “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” among many others.

“It was a really good jam,” Arguello said. “Jay and Tammy being in town and showing up just made it extra good. It was a lot of fun.”

“There were a lot of good musicians and we really enjoyed being there,” Jay said. “I was infringing on Jean-Louis' stage so when he let me go, I played – it was stage etiquette and it was fun. There were top-shelf musicians there, for sure and we were proud to be a part of it.”

The rock 'n roll jam will continue at 1 p.m. Saturday at Casa de Sol, located at 400 N. Val Verde Road, Donna.

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