"Blind Date Jam" is an exciting musical project to share with you. I've had this idea for a few years and have finally gotten around to trying it. Let me attempt to explain it. Over the last 42 years, I've been involved with many different musical productions for TV, video, and film. Traditionally and appropriately there is always a great degree of organization, rehearsal, preparation and pre-production detail that goes into these endeavors. All of us continue to enjoy a well crafted live, musical performance on TV, video, film, etc. During these rehearsals there are inevitable breaks and down time while technical issues are sorted out. Often these require the musicians to stay put on the set, instruments in hand and wait. Occasionally one of the players will start a cool, off the cuff riff and others will join in, in an impromptu jam session that can be quite inspired. Of course, the audience never hears or sees this. Not burdened with arrangements, beginnings, ends or any type of required structure, these jams can be free, reckless and fun.
A few years ago I was in a fantastic band that Patti Scialfa had put together to do some live TV performances. We were promoting a great album of Patti's songs that we had recorded with her. I was playing some B-3 organ which was big fun for me. Along with Steve Jordan, Willie Weeks, Mark Stewart and Cliff Carter, all fabulous musicians, we seemed to be quietly jamming a lot on TV sets while waiting for the next run-through. I was thrilled to be a part of such impromptu, special musical moments and it reminded me of many other moments like these, gone un-recorded and never shared. I kept thinking in the back of my mind that music fans would enjoy seeing this kind of interaction amongst great players.
So I started planning the "Blind Date Jam" sessions in the back of my mind. Where players get together with no rehearsal, no plan, no pre-production, and challenge themselves to jam on the spot and rely on years of musical experience and instinct to create something special. Just show up with your instruments, no plan but to improvise inspired music with friends for a couple hours, play free with no rules but to be your creative self, enjoy and express your musical gifts and go home. Not all musicians are comfortable with that type of jamming but I know many who are, including me.
So, I finally got it together to start this project out in our home garage studio in Arizona. I did some demos years ago with Mike Smith who is an extraordinary musician and has remained a good friend. Mike's pedal steel playing is magnificent. During these old demo sessions I had challenged some local players to learn and play some new songs quickly (which they all did well) and it seemed like Mike might enjoy the "Blind Date Jam" format. We discussed it in advance of course and he seemed open and excited about it. The "no homework or rehearsal" aspect of it is bound to appeal to almost any musician, myself included! Anyway, I put a team of friends together to do a basic home recording and video taping of two impromptu hours of jamming with Mike. Jamie Weddle and John Ramirez handled the recording and Tony Hartman did a three camera shoot and the digital editing to put it all together with Jamie's mixes. I bounce between acoustic, piano, electric and singing while Mike jams along on his pedal steel. I had hoped to get 40 to 50 minutes of inspired playing and interaction to present to you, the audience. Turns out we got an hour and 20 minutes of musical jamming that represents the concept as I've explained it.
You'll see me presenting ideas on the spot to Mike, talking through the chords briefly and launching in to each piece. It's primitive, rough and inspired jamming that I feel and hope you as music fans will enjoy. I hope some of you decide to check it out. I'm very proud of this first, "Blind Date Jam" session and hope it leads to more of them. If you try it and enjoy it, please spread the word for us as this is an extremely grass roots, homegrown endeavor. Thanks again to Mike Smith, Tony Hartman, Jamie Weddle, John Ramirez and Dick and Linda Bangham for their great help in getting this idea from my musical mind to our website to share.
And big thanks to Amy, Maria, Omar and all the dogs for helping us pull this off in the comfort and privacy of our home.
–Peace & Believe, Nils
The complete Blind Date Jam #1 Session is two downloadable quicktime movies, Part 1 is approx 50 mins, and part two approx 20 mins. Please make sure you have the current version of Quicktime to view the videos. Any problems contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!