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Neil Young & The Art of Jamming

October 21, 2008

This weekend I had the privilege of seeing Neil Young in concert. It was a surreal experience.

I have always been a fan of Mr. Young’s, but only now do I really understand him. He is famous for his hit songs (Heart of Gold, Old Man, etc) but what he should also be famous for is his Jamming ability.

The whole entire show felt like it was dictated by whatever whim struck Mr. Young. In between one of his songs I could hear him instructing his band on which song to do next. It felt like there was no set list at all. Just Neil Young and a band that knew exactly how to roll with him.

‘Cinnamon Girl’, was epic. Neil took extended solos and traded them off with his other guitarist. The band listened and understood what he was doing, where he was going, and what he wanted with each song they jammed. ‘Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World’ ended up being nothing short of a grunge guitar solo orgy.  The audience knew, that this is what he loves, and what he was born to do.

In our hunt to write a hit song, or to create a three minute nugget of musical gold, we often forget the simple pleasure that is Jamming.

Jazz and Blues, arguably the foundation of modern music, haves always had Jamming as their bread and butter. Today’s musicians need to remember that. Music is not only about communicating with the audience; often it’s about communicating with fellow musicians. It’s getting to know your players on deeper and more personal levels.  Jamming is the language that is spoken between us all.

So if you’re in a band, and you’re rehearsing, or practicing, most of the time then you should consider start adding a full-on Jam to your schedule. Jamming will tighten your players, bring your musicians closer together, and best of all, create mind blowing new music.

Don’t think about, don’t ask questions. Just do.

Take Control of Your Music,


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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 25, 2008 10:07 pm

    I totally agree. When a band takes a risk and puts it all out there in a jam, it is often the audience that gains something in return. On tour, Bob Dylan would play his songs differently every night and his band was forced to really listen and become engaged in the music in order to follow Mr. Dylan’s lead. Perhaps that is one reason why his concert are so good.

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