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Researching Jam Band

After observing jam band in a previous entry, this is work of research. Brief history of jam band can be found here, with mentionings of the Grateful Dead and Phish. Researched jam band concepts included extended soloing, jamming, and improvisation. Jam band is always a changing style with few static characteristics including heavy lean on improvisation and willingness to try new things.

Multiple different genres of music have been created in the United States. Since the origin of jazz, music has really taken off. The creation of rock'n roll in the fifties is the biggest influence on any style since jazz. Rock'n roll has so many different takes it would take multiple days to describe them all. Jam band is a genre that has solid roots decades ago. Although this genre was never in the spotlight especially, it has always had a progressive attitude and thriving fan base. Jam band is always a changing style with few static characteristics including heavy lean on improvisation and willingness to try new things.
Jam band key authoritative sources are not typical of music styles. The Rolling Stone magazine is one of the basic sources of the time and has and continues to provide coverage of the genre since its conception. Although jam band has distant influence and roots in classical music, one aspect that is different is that it is not nearly as clear as classical music. Jam band has no huge authority. There are definitely not as many scholars who special in jam bands as there are classical music specialists. Jam band has been influenced largely by The Grateful Dead and Phish. They provide very detailed aspects of what jam bands were to be like for the entire existence of the genre. There are some authorities in jam band but not nearly to the extent of other genres. Jam band has established itself enough to have his own awards called the Jammys (Rogulewski).
Jam band has a history as old as some of the best styles of rock'n roll ever. Jam band has a history dating back fifty years. Jam band is a unique style. Although jam bands are very easily distinguishable, the varying styles of individual jam bands have quite a range. The music that describes Jam Bands cannot be defined in a single sentence. It is a combination of multiple styles. Jam band has heavy influences in jazz and blues which eventually lead to rock'n roll. The first band of the jam style was The Grateful Dead, in the late sixties. Jam band itself can be broken down into sub genres. Jam bands based in rock is the main type, but the style of rock can vary. The range of jam band can go from rock in the truest sense of the word, to the folk side of jam band, all the way to the free jazz players of jam band who explore the “out there? of the genre. When the Dead stopped touring in the nineties, Phish took over as the poster child for jam band. (Marino) At this time, other jam bands received huge support including Widespread Panic and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Since its conception, jam band has had close ties with the liberal side of politics. The followers of jam band are not all scholars, but are music lovers who appreciate people who are good at their instruments and have enough talent together to entertain thousands of people at once.
The tradition of jam band originates back to the 1960's. Most of jam band history is dominated by the separate reigns of two great jam bands, The Grateful Dead and Phish. Although these are not the only two great jam groups, they are some of the most influential. The Grateful Dead were originally classified as psychedelic rock but the term jam band definitely describes the Dead. The Dead were a group considered int the jam band style because of their love for extended jams in improvisation over consistent backgrounds of chords and melodic patterns. Phish was a quartet that was so full of ideas the jams could last for many minutes, and it is easy to tell why they are considered a jam band. Widespread Panic, and similar bands that followed like Absolute Grüv, maintained their popularity because of an extremely strong fan base. Widespread Panic was influential in their instrumentation and their ability to wow audiences in concert. (Freedman)
As with most intensely observed genres, the jam band performances are characterized by common ideas that do not have to explicitly defined for the next generation to understand. The things that truly set jam bands apart are the actual jams. These jams present the musician extended time with one simple idea to expand and express what they want to. The extended solos are what jam band is all about. Musicians in this genre must have a wealth of knowledge about music. They often plan songs and solos in specific keys and they must know what notes to play and where to play them. The art of jam band requires lots of practice, especially jam practice. Jam band is not about the head, or melody, but rather it is about the extended solos and jams that make the bands good and the genre unique. Musicians can prepare for performances by practicing the songs and playing through the solos. Although solos in concert and in jams tend to be improvisation in its entirety, good musicians will have ideas about what they what to play beforehand. They will know the feel and where they want to take the solo that way they have a direction to the solo instead of randomly trying to feel where they want it to go.
As rock'n roll become popular, it was listened to by both black and whites (Rock AND Roll). Jam band became popular at a time when this was also true. Jam bands were listened to by black and whites. The demographics of listeners and people of the style is fairly mixed. Although when it was getting started, it was separated between white bands and their listeners and black musicians and their listeners. Jam band was never about following social norms and the music showed it. It was wild and out there at first, no one expected a style could last that was based on simply soloing and jamming. Obviously bands like The Grateful Dead were instrumental in paving the road for further musicians in the style. The music wasn't created for the norms, it was created for what was felt to be right at times, which is why jam band could be so different. There was always a new feel for the music for each situation and the broadness of jam band expanded.
The history of jam band is one full of interesting points, stories and facts about a genre willing to take extended improvisation over rhythm grooves. Jam band has been dominated by two bands, the Grateful Dead and Phish, each with with an intense fan following they keep the music alive. Jam band has been going strong since the sixties and is now dominated by various bands but none as powerful as the original two. Jam band is a genre rich with history and filled with fabulous bands and great fans. It is a style based for the individual solo and the group jamming to show of the musicians skills in a way that is easily done by a group.
Works Cited


Freedman, Laurence J. “Influential jamband moe. invades the Michigan.? The Michigan Daily. November 4, 2003. michigan>
Marino, Nick. “The jam band scene improvises.? The Phish Archive. Boston Globe. February 23, 2003.
“ROCK and ROLL, an Introduction.? By Micheal Campbell, with James Brody. Second Edition. Thompson Schirmer; USA, 2008.
Rogulewski, Charley. “My Morning Jacket Lead Jammys.? The Rolling Stone. February 24, 2006. lead_jammys >


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