The term “jamming” had been applied for decades to loose, largely improvised interactions among musicians, usually in an informal setting. In the 1920s, jazz musicians would interact after their regular gigs to drink, laugh and play. This aesthetic also became integral to the development of bluegrass in America and Cuban music in Havana, and has since informed rock, soul and hip-hop.
The roots of the rock jam-band scene can be traced to the mid-‘60s with the Grateful Dead and Cream, and developed into a genre in the ‘90s when a new wave of rock improvisers arrived.
In the late ‘90s, the Soulquarians — a loose collective of artists rooted in the hip-hop and neo-soul movements — collaborated on a series of musical jams that resulted in groundbreaking albums for artists such as the Roots (“Things Fall Apart”), D’Angelo (“Voodoo”) and Erykah Badu (“Mama’s Gun”).
Here’s a timeline of the modern-day jam-band scene in rock, soul and hip-hop:
By Herb Greene, Wikimedia Commons
Live from Madison Square Garden 12/30/2019
December 30th remains the most storied date in Phish history. The trend continued in a big way in 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where the band delivers a set worthy of hyperbolic praise. The epic show has a special feeling right from the start, as Phish opens with “Wilson,” just as it did 25 years prior at its Madison Square Garden debut.