Jam band: Difference between revisions

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A '''jam band''' is a musical group whose live albums and concerts relate to a fan culture that began in the 1960s with the [[Grateful Dead]], who held lengthy improvisational "[[jam session|jams]]" during their concerts. These include extended [[musical improvisation]] over rhythmic [[groove (music)|groove]]s and [[vamp (music)|chord patterns]], and long sets of music which often cross genre boundaries.<ref name="wiajb">{{cite web|url=http://www.jambands.com/jamband.html|title=What is a jam band?|accessdate=2007-02-02|publisher=Jambands.com|archiveurl = https://web.archive.org/web/20070124191643/http://www.jambands.com/jamband.html <!-- Bot retrieved archive --> |archivedate = 2007-01-24}}</ref>
 
The jam band musical style spawned from the [[psychedelic rock]] movement of the 1960s. The Grateful Dead and [[The Allman Brothers Band]] became notable for their live improvisational jams and regular touring schedules, which continued into the '90s1990s. This influenced a new wave of jam bands in the late '80s1980s and early '90s1990s, who toured the United States with jam band-style concerts, such as [[Phish]], [[Blues Traveler]], [[Widespread Panic]], [[Dave Matthews Band]], [[The String Cheese Incident]], and [[Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit]]. The jam band movement gained mainstream exposure in the United StatesUS in the early 1990s following the rise of Phish and the Dave Matthews Band as major touring acts and the dissolution of the Grateful Dead following [[Jerry Garcia]]'s death in 1995.
 
Jam band artists often perform a wide variety of genres. While the seminal group, the Grateful Dead, is categorized as [[psychedelic rock]],<ref>[http://www.britannica.com/psychedelic/bands/gratefuldead.html The Grateful Dead] {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20071015204231/http://www.britannica.com/psychedelic/bands/gratefuldead.html |date=15 October 2007 }} ''Britannica Online'', Retrieved 17 September 2007</ref> by the 1990s the term "jam band" was applied to acts that incorporated genres such as [[blues]], [[country music]], [[contemporary folk music]], [[funk]], [[progressive rock]], [[world music]], [[jazz fusion]], [[Southern rock]], [[alternative rock]], [[acid jazz]], [[bluegrass music|bluegrass]], [[folk rock]] and [[electronic music]] into their sound.<ref name="wiajb"/> Although the term has been used to describe cross-genre and improvisational artists, it retains an affinity to the fan cultures of the Grateful Dead or Phish.<ref name="Relix, all issues">''[[Relix]]'', all issues.</ref>
 
The third generation of jam bands appeared in the late 1990s and early 2000s, many inspired by Phish and other acts of the second wave. These included [[Umphrey's McGee]], [[Dispatch (band)|Dispatch]], [[Assembly of Dust]], [[Gov't Mule]], [[O.A.R.]], [[The Breakfast]], [[The Derek Trucks Band]], [[Agents of Good Roots]], [[Benevento/Russo Duo]], and [[My Morning Jacket|My Morning Jacket.]] Additionally, groups such as [[The Disco Biscuits]] and [[Sound Tribe Sector 9]] added electronic and techno elements into their performances, developing the livetronica subgenre. The early 2010s saw a fourth generation of jam bands, including [[Dopapod]], [[Pigeons Playing Ping Pong]], [[Twiddle (band)|Twiddle]], [[Moon Taxi]] and [[Spafford (band)|Spafford]]. Members of the Grateful Dead have continued touring since 1995 in many different iterations, such as [[The Dead (band)|The Dead]], [[Ratdog|Bob Weir & Ratdog]], [[Phil Lesh and Friends]], [[Donna Jean Godchaux Band]], [[7 Walkers]], [[Furthur (band)|Furthur]] and [[Dead & Company]]. Members of other jam bands often perform together in various configurations and supergroups, such as [[Tedeschi Trucks Band]], [[Oysterhead]], and [[Dave Matthews & Friends]].
 
A feature of the jam band scene is fan taping or digital recording of live concerts. While many other styles of music term fan taping as "illegal [[bootleg recording|bootlegging]]", jam bands often allow their fans to make tapes or recordings of their live shows. Fans trade recordings and collect recordings of different live shows, because improvisational jam bands play their songs differently at each performance. By the 2000s, as internet downloading of [[MP3 music|MP3 music files]] became common, downloading of jam band songs became an extension of the [[Cassette tape|cassette taping]] trend. Bands also distribute their shows online, sometimes within days or hours.
 
== History ==
 
===Modern use and definition===
[[File:CK5 rocking the light board.jpg|thumb|right|300px|[[Phish]] is an example of a "jam band".]]
In the 1980s, the [[Grateful Dead]]'s fan base included a large core group that followed their tours from show to show. These fans (known as "[[Deadhead|Deadheads]]") developed a sense of community and loyalty. In the 1990s, the band [[Phish]] began to attract this fan base. The term "jam band" was first used regarding Grateful Dead and Phish culture in the 1990s. In 1998, [[Dean Budnick]] wrote the first book devoted to the subject, entitled ''Jam Bands''.<ref name="Budnick">Budnick, Dean (1998). {{cite book|url=https://archive.org/details/jambandsnorthame00bud |url-access=registration |page=[https://archive.org/details/jambandsnorthame00bud/page/68 68] |quote=Jambay. |title=Jam Bands: North America's Hottest Live Groups Plus How to Tape and Trade Their Shows|publisher=ECW Press |accessdate=2013-07-23|isbn=9781550223538|year=1998}}</ref> He founded Jambands.com later that year and is often credited with coining the term.<ref>Peter Conners ''JAMerica: The history of the jam band and festival scene'', Da Capo 2013 p. 68,70</ref> However, in his second book on the subject, 2004's ''Jambands: A Complete Guide to the Players, Music & Scene'', he explains that he only popularized it.<ref>''Jambands'', Dean Budnick, Backbeat Books, 2003, p. 241, JAMerica, p.79.</ref>
 
''[[Rolling Stone]]'' magazine asserted in a 2004 biography that Phish "was the living, breathing, noodling definition of the term" jam band, in that it became a "cultural phenomenon, followed across the country from summer shed to summer shed by thousands of new-generation hippies and hacky-sack enthusiasts, and spawning a new wave of bands oriented around group improvisation and super-extended grooves."<ref>{{cite web|url=https://www.rollingstone.com/artists/phish/biography|title=Phish Biography|website=Rolling Stone|accessdate=29 April 2018|url-status=live|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20090414030730/http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/phish/biography|archivedate=14 April 2009|df=dmy-all}}</ref> Another term for "jam band music" used in the 1990s was "Bay Rock". It was coined by the founder of ''[[Relix]]'' magazine, Les Kippel, as a reference to the 1960s [[San Francisco Bay Area]] music scene, which included the Grateful Dead, [[Jefferson Airplane]] and [[Moby Grape]], among many others.
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Although in 2007 the term may have been used to describe nearly any cross-genre band, festival band, or improvisational band, the term retains an affinity to Grateful Dead-like bands such as Phish.<ref name="Relix, all issues"/> Andy Gadiel, the initial webmaster of Jambands.com<!-- who went on to found JamBase-->, states in Budnick's 2004 edition of ''Jambands'' that the music "...had a link that would not only unite bands themselves but also a very large community around them."<ref>''Jambands'', Dean Budnick, Backbeat Books, 2003, p. 243.</ref>
 
====Ambiguity====
[[File:Cream on Fanclub 1968.png|thumb|Cream performing in 1968]]
By the late 1990s use of, the term ''jam band'' became usedapplied retroactively in jam band circles for bands such as [[Cream (band)|Cream]],<ref>[http://www.jambands.com/Columns/PBuzby/content_2005_11_13.00.phtml Cream 2005] {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20071015200411/http://jambands.com/Columns/PBuzby/content_2005_11_13.00.phtml |date=15 October 2007 }} Pat Buzby, JamBands.com, 13 November 2005, Retrieved 10 September 2007</ref> who for decades were categorized as a "power-trio" and "psychedelic rock", and who when active were largely unrelated to the Grateful Dead---, but whose live concerts usually featured several extended collective improvisations. In his October &nbsp;2000 column on the subject for ''jambands.com'', Dan Greenhaus attempted to explain the evolution of a jam band as such: <blockquote>"At this point, what you sing about, what instruments you play, how often you tour and how old you are has become virtually irrelevant. At this point, one thing is left and, ironically, after all these years, it’s the single most important place one should focus on; the approach to the music. And the jamband or improvisational umbrella, essentially nothing more than a broad label for a diverse array of bands, is open wide enough to shelter several different types of bands, whether you are The Dave Matthews Band or RAQ."<ref>[http://www.jambands.com/Columns/DGreenhaus/content_2005_10_12.00.phtml The Jamband Backlash: Where did Things Go Wrong?] {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080820063606/http://www.jambands.com/Columns/DGreenhaus/content_2005_10_12.00.phtml |date=20 August 2008 }} Dan Greenhaus, ''Jambands.com'', Oct 2005</ref></blockquote> [[Jammys|The Jammy Awards]] have had members of non-jamming bands which were founded in the 1970s and were unrelated to the Grateful Dead perform at their show such as [[New wave music|new wave]] band [[The B-52's]].<ref>[http://www.phisharchive.com/articles/2002/jammymtv.html Anastasio, Phish Win At Jammy Jam] {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20071015194657/http://phisharchive.com/articles/2002/jammymtv.html |date=15 October 2007 }} Jon Wiederhorn, ''MTV News'', 4 October 2002 Retrieved 4 October 2007</ref> The Jammys have also awarded musicians from prior decades such as [[Frank Zappa]].<ref>[https://www.rollingstone.com/artists/frankzappa/articles/story/9385057/my_morning_jacket_lead_jammys My Morning Jacket Lead Jammys] {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20090510113156/http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/frankzappa/articles/story/9385057/my_morning_jacket_lead_jammys |date=10 May 2009 }} Charley Rogulewski, ''Rolling Stone'', 24 Feb 2006 Retrieved 4 October 2007</ref>
 
The Jammy Awards have had members of non-jamming bands which were founded in the 1970s and were unrelated to the Grateful Dead perform at their show such as [[New wave music|new wave]] band [[The B-52's]].<ref>[http://www.phisharchive.com/articles/2002/jammymtv.html Anastasio, Phish Win At Jammy Jam] {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20071015194657/http://phisharchive.com/articles/2002/jammymtv.html |date=15 October 2007 }} Jon Wiederhorn, ''MTV News'', 4 October 2002 Retrieved 4 October 2007</ref> The Jammys have also awarded musicians from prior decades such as [[Frank Zappa]].<ref>[https://www.rollingstone.com/artists/frankzappa/articles/story/9385057/my_morning_jacket_lead_jammys My Morning Jacket Lead Jammys] {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20090510113156/http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/frankzappa/articles/story/9385057/my_morning_jacket_lead_jammys |date=10 May 2009 }} Charley Rogulewski, ''Rolling Stone'', 24 Feb 2006 Retrieved 4 October 2007</ref>
 
====Debate====
[[File:Derek Trucks Band2.jpg|thumb|right|200px|The Derek Trucks Band]]
Some artistsArtists such as [[The Derek Trucks Band]] are known for resisting thebeing labelled a jam band label. [[Dave Schools]] of [[Widespread Panic]] said in an interview, "We want to shake free of that name, jam band. The jam band thing used to be the [[Grateful Dead]] bands. We shook free of that as hard as we could back in 1989. Then [[Blues Traveler]] came on the scene. All together, we created the [[H.O.R.D.E.]] tour, which focused a lot of attention on jam bands. Then someone coined the term jam bands. I'd rather just be called retro. When you pigeonhole something, you limit its ability to grow and change."<ref>Bob Makin [http://www.jambands.com/oct99/features/widespread.html Widespread Panic: Against the Grain] {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080513123025/http://www.jambands.com/oct99/features/widespread.html |date=13 May 2008 }} ''jambands.com'' October 1999</ref> An example of a prior-era band that gained the label "jam band" through an active affiliation with the 1990s jam band culture is [[The Allman Brothers Band]]. However, [[Gregg Allman]] has been quoted as recently as 2003 by his fellow band member [[Butch Trucks]] in stating that rather than being a jam band, The Allman Brothers are "a band that jams".<ref>''Jambands'', Dean Budnick, Backbeat Books, 2003, p. XII</ref>
 
Although Trucks suggests that this is only a difference of semantics, the term has a recent history for which it is used exclusively. An example of this discernment is the acceptance of [[Les Claypool]] as a jam band in the year 2000.{{clarify|date=September Though2020|issue=can fameda person, a singer-songwriter, be a jam band? Perhaps this needs to be restated.}} Though fromknown anfor entirehis decade with [[Primus (band)|Primus]] (a band that jams) and solo works, it was inafter he creatingcreated the [[Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade|Fearless Flying Frog Brigade]] with members of [[Ratdog]] and releasingreleased ''[[Live Frogs Set 1]]'' that as Budnick haswrote stated:had "marked [Claypool's] entry into [the jamband] world."<ref>''Jambands'', Dean Budnick, Backbeat Books, 2003, pp 248-9</ref> Budnick has been both editor-in-chief of Jambands.com and executive editor of ''[[Relix]]'' Magazinemagazine.<ref>Melinda Newman "Jam Bands Weather Economic Uncertainty With Ingenuity and Loyal Fans," ''Washington Post'' 9 August 2009, Blake Gernstetter "Relix Remix: Music Mag Relaunches Under New Ownership" Mediabistro.com, 4 May 2009 {{cite web |url=http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/relix-remix-music-mag-relaunches-under-new-ownership_b11670 |title=Archived copy |accessdate=2017-05-16 |url-status=live |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20141226215650/http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/relix-remix-music-mag-relaunches-under-new-ownership_b11670 |archivedate=26 December 2014 |df=dmy-all }}</ref>
 
===Mid-1960s{{ndash}}Midmid-1980s: Thethe Grateful Dead & The Allman Brothers Band===
[[File:Jerry-Mickey at Red Rocks taken 08-11-87.jpg|thumb|right|[[Grateful Dead]]'s [[Jerry Garcia]] and [[Mickey Hart]] performing on 11 August 1987 at the [[Red Rocks Amphitheatre]] near [[Morrison, Colorado]]]]
 
The band that set the template for future jam bands was the [[Grateful Dead]], founded in 1965 by legendary [[San Francisco]]-based guitarist [[Jerry Garcia]]. Although their studio albums enjoyed only modest success, and they were never an AM-radio favorite, "The Dead" attracted an enormous cult following, mainly on the strength of their live performances (and live albums). Drawing inspiration from [[the Paul Butterfield Blues Band]]'s improvisational 1966 epic "[[East-West (The Butterfield Blues Band album)#Content|East-West]]" and [[Eric Clapton]]'s short-lived (but influential) supergroup [[Cream (band)|Cream]],{{citation needed|date=August 2014}} the band specialized, in concert, in improvisational jamming. They played long two-set shows, and gave their fans a different experience every night, with varying setlists, evolving songs, creative segues, and extended instrumentals. Their loyal fans ("Deadheads") followed them on tour from city to city, and a hippie subculture developed around the band, complete with psychedelic clothes, a black market in concert-related products, and drug paraphernalia. The band toured regularly for nearly three decades, except for a hiatus from 1974-1976. The eventual heirs to this "Shakedown Street" fan culture, [[Phish]], formed in 1983 at the University of Vermont in Burlington. They solidified their lineup in 1985 and began their career with a few Grateful Dead songs in their repertoire.
 
[[The Allman Brothers Band]] were also considered a jam band, particularly during the [[Duane Allman]] era. Songs such as "[[In Memory of Elizabeth Reed]]" and "[[Whipping Post (song)|Whipping Post]]", which were 5–7 minutes long on their studio albums, became 20-minute jams at concerts. The Allmans even performed a 34-minute jam with the Grateful Dead in 1970. Their 1972 album ''[[Eat A Peach]]'' included "[[Mountain Jam]]", a 34-minute instrumental that was recorded live. The 1971 live album ''[[At Fillmore East]]'' featured a 24-minute version of "Whipping Post", and a 20-minute version of [[Willie Cobbs]]' "[[You Don't Love Me (Willie Cobbs song)|You Don't Love Me]]".