I have a new passion, as of yesterday. I’ve been gorging on a very niche form of music: jamming between strangers. I didn’t just discover this yesterday. I’ve been participating in it for over twenty years, but I just discovered the YOUTUBE videos. That’s the thing about random jamming with strangers: they’re unplanned. There’s little recording of this, unless you happen to be, say James Brown, Prince, BB King and Michael Jackson. (OK, they weren’t strangers, but just enjoy the damn video).
So now, with video camera cell phones everywhere, this whole art form, which has existed only in vanishing, isolated moments in space and time, is suddenly recorded, and callable at whim – we can see just how much fun is being had out there.
Check some of these out. This is what music is all about to me: improvisation without a net; sharing; creating as a team; opening minds; breaking down barriers; and pure joy.
So much to love in this! Look at that face on the second sax player as he gets ready, he KNOWS something special is going down. The first guy ALREADY has the train dancing and bouncing. Then in comes the second gun-slinger, and it is ON and everybody knows it. Listen to that clapping! That is a sophisticated audience there. Make sure you wait for Part 2 in the video, it just blows the roof off. And again at 3:40.
Or check this one:
This last is a public piano in Amsterdam. You can Youtube a whole range of stranger-jams at that piano, or any of the other public pianos which have been sprouting up. That’s cool.
Myself, I am a lousy musician across a wide spectrum of instruments. I love playing. I am least bad at harp (harmonica), then probably piano. A step down in bad is my ukulele, and then my sax playing, and then a level below that are vocals and drums. I’ve been known to play bass, but that’s below the range of the chart. -Eleven.
The great thing about a harp is that it travels with you, so wherever I am, if the situation comes up, I am equipped to make music. This has led to some of the greatest memories of my life, these impromptu jams. On a beach, a street corner, a subway stop, or, of course, in a bar or on any other stage, THERE is music. There’s the spark, someone has begun. There’s the opportunity: if one more musician, armed and in-the-mood walks by, there’s the fire, and the magic.
I am in love with this form, and look forward to discovering more gems like these! Be a part of it!