Ten jam bands to watch in 2014
While the peak of the jam band scene was arguably reached somewhere in the middle part of the last decade, there are no shortage of excellent bands playing today and releasing new music who blend different genres of music together and improvise freely on stage. Granted, not all of these acts fit neatly into the hippie-dippie definition of a jam band, but all of the groups here give a sense of freedom at their shows through improvisation and exploration. Here are the ten jam bands to keep an eye on in 2014.
The Hammond B-3 takes center stage for McTuff, the exciting power jazz trio from Seattle, Washington. Things stay high tempo, as a monsoon of improvisational solos and licks are tossed into the sound. Despite the music being all instrumental, the music these guys create really resonantes. Most of the messages seem to be "go conquer the world" due to the majesty of the Hammond B-3, and that sounds good to us.
9. The Quick and Easy Boys
Hailing from the bustling jam-band scene in Portland, these high spirited musicians take funk and honky-tonk and combine them with psychedelic jams to create a unique, catchy sound that is more musical ride than composition. Falsetto '60s soul vocals add an extra exuberant touch to the mix, and the fast pace keeps the energy level at a ten throughout the show.
Taking the composed sections of songs just as seriously as the improvisation makes this fairly young band from Buffalo, New York, sound polished and more experienced than it actually is. Blending musical genres like funk, jazz and psychedelia together, the band's sound stands out for the repetitive rhythms that builds into elaborate grooves.
7. The Stepkids
Mixing psychedelic cues and compositional influences from Frank Zappa with '60s soul sounds and vocals, the Stepkids sound unlike anything out there. They have gained a great reputation for live shows that captivate all the senses, with acid-drenched projections smoothly blending in with jazzy R&B stylings. The act's most recent album, Troubadour, was released last September to much acclaim.