Is "jamming out" neccesary to you?

blastbeatkeeper

Senior Member
Hey everyone. I wanted to touch upon a subject that I feel is a neccesity when I play in a band: jamming out. Just improvising, and jamming. Is this important to you guys? why, or why not?

I feel like its a very important of a decent band to be able to show up at a rehersal, and say, you know what? Im sick of playing our material. Lets jam for tonight. Just play something(whether it be yourself, the drummer, the guitarist, bassist, keys or what), and see where it goes. I know that when the band that I was in(that just recently broke up) started out, we would have 2 practices a week; one for our material, and then a jam session practice, where we would just improv, record the whole thing, and then listen to the session, and write songs out of it. When the original guitarist quit, all of that went out the window. The replacement didnt improvise well, so all the jaming and fresh stuff went out the window. It kind of bummed me out not being able to jam out, but it was fine. I just started adding bits and pieces to the songs we already had written. I even rewrote my drum part to a song that I had been playing for a year and a half, just due to the amount of stuff I have learned over the past 2 years or so.

What do you guys(and girls)think? Is it imperitive to be able to jam out and improvise> Or is it something thats not that important?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's not necessary, but can be spontaneous and fun!

Bermuda
 

steverok

Silver Member
It's not necessary, can be productive, but can also be a crutch. I actually don't like the term "jam". When people say "oh you're jamming with them", or "let's jam", that has a negative connotation for me. It sort of means "let's goof off to a bunch of meaningless riffs that would bore the hell out of anyone listening". My preference is that a band has one or more imaginative songwriters, and that you play to an arrangement and performance of a real song, with lyrics, vocals, and dynamics. When it comes together, it is so much more rewarding and powerful than just noodling around to some repetitive groove.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
not everyone has the luxury of time to say....hey lets not work on what we are payed to play and just mess around.....

but it sure can be a hell of a lot more fun

I also understand that not everyone has the luxury of being payed to play

so to me .... neccesary ? no

often preferred ? yes

when skilled musicians get together and freestyle great things can happen
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
I see jamming as exercise/practice. It's important in regard to development but as a performance, it rarely sounds all that great to the audience. Even those "all star" jazz jams are often lacking to me. I think what may seem like "magic" is just the perception of the person doing it. But to the listener it can appear indulgent and somewhat "cheap" since it's essentially just "faking." I much prefer working on tight arrangements.

Case in point, The Grateful Dead followed a "stream of consciousness" and often improvised for extended periods. Meanwhile, Ian Anderson was known to be a rehearsal maniac, often practicing for up to 10 hours a day molding every note exactly how he wanted it. The results speak for themselves.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
I see jamming as exercise/practice. It's important in regard to development but as a performance, it rarely sounds all that great to the audience. Even those "all star" jazz jams are often lacking to me. I think what may seem like "magic" is just the perception of the person doing it. But to the listener it can appear indulgent and somewhat "cheap" since it's essentially just "faking." I much prefer working on tight arrangements.

Case in point, The Grateful Dead followed a "stream of consciousness" and often improvised for extended periods. Meanwhile, Ian Anderson was known to be a rehearsal maniac, often practicing for up to 10 hours a day molding every note exactly how he wanted it. The results speak for themselves.

agreed

the masters are the ones who allow you to believe they are free jamming ... meanwhile almost everything they are playing is well rehearsed
 

Bull

Gold Member
Jamming is how my bands have always written tunes. Very seldom has anyone ever brought in a finished piece.
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
agreed

the masters are the ones who allow you to believe they are free jamming ... meanwhile almost everything they are playing is well rehearsed

True also. Even with a lot of what Miles did, which sounded so free. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and where he was going to do it.
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
Jamming is how my bands have always written tunes. Very seldom has anyone ever brought in a finished piece.
That's cool as a jumping off point, but at some point it has to get "finished." So again, people hearing the jam are hearing the searching, along with the mistakes. A performance is that "finished" product.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
It can be a lot of fun and improve everyone musicially IF they all enjoy it, have good enough technical skills and are table to improvise. If not, it can be boring and stressful.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
if every player in the room does not have big ears.... "jamming" will be unbelievably pointless and amazingly irritating to anyone listening

I have found that while listening to most bands "jam" 90% of the time each player is listening to themselves and waiting to throw in that lick they have been working on instead of trying to create a cohesive unit by letting everything settle in.
 

wsabol

Gold Member
If you and the other musicians know how to "jam", than it can be fine. Jam bands and jazz musicians know how to just improvise and jam whatever they want and have it be interesting, clean, and fun. I agree, MOST "jams" are very directionless and filled with meaningless show-off-ness. All of that is very annoying. But jamming is a very valid way to make music if you know what you are doing.
 

blastbeatkeeper

Senior Member
Ok, maybe I got the terms jamming out and improvising confused....heres what I really meant....
Just jamming. I know theres such a thing as improv jazz, jambands and stuff like that. I just meant, laying down a fat groove, having someone come in and play a riff along to the groove for 4 bars, 8 bars 16 bars...whatever. Then a little eye contact, and switch it up. Maybe speed up, maybe breakdown....whatever.
I didnt mean in a jamband/improv kind of way. I cant stand any sort of freestyle jazz/fusion I have ever listened to. It sounds like a mess. I need a groove for something to sound appealing to me.
 

steverok

Silver Member
I just meant, laying down a fat groove, having someone come in and play a riff along to the groove for 4 bars, 8 bars 16 bars...whatever. Then a little eye contact, and switch it up. Maybe speed up, maybe breakdown....whatever.
I'm in a situation where we pay to rehearse, and I don't want to pay for that. I suppose sometimes a real song may come out of that, but probably not very many good ones. What your describing will eventually just turn into some riffing solo-ing deal, again, totally boring to anyone listening. Write songs, real songs, it's not about chops, or fat grooves ... it's about feelings, man !
 

wsabol

Gold Member
Ok, maybe I got the terms jamming out and improvising confused....heres what I really meant....
Just jamming. I know theres such a thing as improv jazz, jambands and stuff like that. I just meant, laying down a fat groove, having someone come in and play a riff along to the groove for 4 bars, 8 bars 16 bars...whatever. Then a little eye contact, and switch it up. Maybe speed up, maybe breakdown....whatever.
I didnt mean in a jamband/improv kind of way. I cant stand any sort of freestyle jazz/fusion I have ever listened to. It sounds like a mess. I need a groove for something to sound appealing to me.
I think you are confused as to what jazz is and how jazz/funk/fusion jambands work. Because its pretty much exactly what you described. The messy really out-there jazz you are referring to is probably less than 1% of whats been done in those genres, but still, if you know what you are listening to, you'll see that it too is pretty similar to what you described.
 

jackie k

Senior Member
Jamming is a creative process. Aot of the jazz improvisation is a fancy way of saying jamming. Musicially the term would be ad lib, meaning play what you think would or should sound good with the song or music. You do things always in the context of the music, meaning it should compliment it, or dont do it. The older rock groups would play their songs (Alman Brothers, Greatful dead....) and in the middle of the song or part of the song get into a jam. When you are playing a song in the band and you realize the audience is feeling it and you want to stretch it out for a little longer, a minute or two, your lead guitar player does a creative lead (you have no idea what he is going to do) , I will play off of him, fill the spaces making him sound better (could be a crash hit somewhere, a short fill), and you and the rest of the band are backing him up, thats pretty much getting into a Jam. Jams dont have to be long to be considered a jam, all it is, is when the band is making it up all together on the cuff, at the moment. Jamming is just another creative part of music.
 
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Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I was under the impression that if I don't jam, I'll die.

I would jam in a house, I would jam with a mouse, I would jam in a box, and I would jam with a fox. I would jam in a boat; I'd even jam with a goat. I would jam here, and I would jam there, I would jam anywhere.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Seems to me that most of the musicians who like to jam aren't usually as good in the songwriting department. Almost like there's this inverse relationship between the two. There are two guitar players that I play with (different bands) that are probably the best songwriters I've ever played with, but neither one can jam at all - not even a little bit. That means no solos or anything off the cuff. Ever. In a way I wish they could because it would be really helpful for avoiding full-on train wrecks when things get sketchy - but I'd rather have extra rehearsals to stay tight than rely on a jam-ability with these types. There's lots of people who've mastered the art of jamming, but precious few who are their equals on the writing side.

For me, I like having a road map so I know where the song is going. As a youngster, I cut my teeth drumming with jammy types so if I never did that again, I'd be okay with it.
 

wsabol

Gold Member
I was under the impression that if I don't jam, I'll die.

I would jam in a house, I would jam with a mouse, I would jam in a box, and I would jam with a fox. I would jam in a boat; I'd even jam with a goat. I would jam here, and I would jam there, I would jam anywhere.
I think there are pills for that...
 

Bull

Gold Member
That's cool as a jumping off point, but at some point it has to get "finished." So again, people hearing the jam are hearing the searching, along with the mistakes. A performance is that "finished" product.
Oh,I wasn't implying that we jammed onstage . It was/is all in the rehearsal room. Those jams get edited and arranged into songs.
 
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