Can The Jam Band Genre Recover Its Groove?

Since the days of the massive upsurge of rock and roll music in the mid 1960’s, the “jam band” has been a venerable institution of the form. Groups, such as Moby Grape, Grateful Dead, Spooky Tooth, and many others have long been regarded not only as innovators within the rock and roll field, but also as masters of composition and improvisation.

As a result, groups who fall within the “jam band” genre of rock music have always earned a respect and legitimacy with both the public and many critics that few other popular musicians can match.

However, within the past few years, many outstanding members of the “jam band” community have begun shutting their proverbial doors to the public. For example, The Allman Brothers Band recently concluded a world tour that group members have confidently claimed was the last such undertaking for the long running group.

Meanwhile, surviving members of The Grateful Dead, one of the original and most emblematic of the “jam bands” of the golden era, have also announced that a series of upcoming concerts will be their last. As such, many fans of this form of music are wondering if its best days are now unquestionably behind it.

Can The Genre Make An Emphatic Comeback?

One of the leaders of the “jam band” community has been Boyd Tinsley. Boyd has long been known to the public as the electric violinist in residence with The Dave Matthews Band.

However, in the past several years, Tinsley has also released solo recordings and toured as the leader of his own group. He is one of a select group of improvisational masters whom the community looks eagerly to for fresh leadership and inspiration.

Is There A Tipping Point For This Music?

Boyd and others, such as the String Cheese Incident and Snarky Puppy, have been cited by many critics and commentators as the heralds of a whole new movement within the “jam band” genre. The popularity of these groups has certainly reignited interest in the music as a whole.

It is to be hoped by their many legions of loyal fans that this new found popularity does not represent a proverbial “tipping point” for the genre as a whole. Whether these new pioneers of the form can resurrect the once omnipresent popularity of improvisational, “jam” oriented, rock remains to be seen.


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