Linking jam bands and jazz from a variety of perspectives, historical and otherwise.
Jazz, like the Grateful Dead, has never been particularly easy to define. It seems jazz, in its most simply defined meaning, is improvised music. The Grateful Dead have been called a thousand different things since its official formation in 1965, but has rarely been called a jazz band. There have always been and will always be heated debates about which years were the best, which tone of Jerry Garcia's was the best, which keyboardist was the best. I've heard it all: endless interpretations and conversations that go on for hours at college parties and crowded parking lots of Phish and ...read more
The author Kurt Vonnegut once said, Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow." The art of improvisation does just that: it makes the soul grow. The soul of the improvising performer is constantly stretched and twisted in search of that unnamed spiritual experience in which lasting art is created in one passing moment. Improvisation allows a musician to take the risk and venture into dark waters in the hopes of a triumphant return so that he may inform his fellow musicians that the water is fine. Nowhere else in music ...read more