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McL

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« on: November 16, 2004, I:36:10 PM »
mostly trying to explain to the novices...

The formula for Jimmy Stewart has changed so much over the last 3 years. Giving a standard definition, doesn't necessarily do it justice.

The jamming is not always linear. Some bands touch on the concept of non-linearity. Some do it with much greater depth and style than others. You've heard bands jam where someone starts up a riff, and everyone starts playing said riff. Simple stuff. Someone starts playing the outlying chords, somebody starts soloing. Voila! You're a jamband.

What UM does on a consistent basis, and with fluidity (which is where people get confused), is create a longer riff, that spans an entire measure, or longer. By doing this, you give the rest of the band more room to work with and create. And create they do. When no longer confined with a quick repeating riff to play off of, the other 5 members are able to create their own textures that build off the original riff. And, with each completion of the section, they go back to the top to repeat it (hence the non-linearity). Allowing for futher coloration and characterizing of that little piece of music. Then take it where it may. Sometimes modulating it through different keys or changing the tempo/dynamics of it. After they're done toying with said section, they just move along to the next section by holding out a chord (you'll see jake do this a lot. Like he's wiping off the table).

For the most part a Stewart is designed to have at least 2 separate sections. This is where it really starts to get fun. And where UM really distances themselves from the pack. The Bounceback jam. After leaving the first section (as discussed above) they'll move along to wherever they go next (usually playing off the last outlying chord of the previous section). Another sections is started, built upon, and repeated a few times. Now here's where the pure beauty of it all comes in. When they get to the end of this 2nd section, instead of going back to the top, you'll see Jake lean backwards. And instead of repeating section B again, they're now back at A. Playing it even tigheter and with more flair than they did their previous attempt 3 minutes before. Then another few runs through that, Jake leans back, and then they're back in section B, playing it, again, better than they had before. So what they do, is build 2 unique sections of music together, seperately.

Instant composition. That's the difference. They don't just improvise, they create unique pieces of music night in and night out.

And some of you wonder why UM fans can get frustrated when people say they don't know how to jam. Their methods are refined to a point well beyond anything most of us has heard.

Jazz Odyssey:
the line between Stewart and JO has slowly erased (by our footsteps, by our footsteps...) or at the very least become very cloudy (you know like when you erase pencil with those shitty smooth erasers? like that). JO is more straightforward, no bounceback involved. Usually less signals involved.

Pony basslines: You've heard them. You know them. He's always trying to work new ones into jams as possible songwriting fodder. So if you hear him repeat something from a previous show, don't feel like you're getting slighted because he's not up there improvising as much as the others. They aren't chosen at random. And plus some of them are just such tight grooves that they're worth playing multiple times, just to see how different versions unfold.

written out stewarts: from time to time, the band will write out sets of chord changes, as well, a general idea of how they'll want to play said section (drum n' bass, ambient, uptempo...) Or on the even rarer occasion Jake might bring something to the table, maybe a section that he's been working on. Written out stewarts, you'll hear the band make changes during which there's no way any band could just decide to change sections like that. It's not *pure* improv. It's kind of like an outline for improv. Mostly for creativity and melody making, not soloing. To possibly take that section and turn it into a song in the future.

Bayliss vox -
all fans of improv love the feeling of living in the moment of the music. From time to time, BB will take a jam even farther and start spouting out lyrics (sometimes improv, others from his apparent 'lyric notebook', like passages he's working on putting into songs). When the band gets locked in, sometimes, he's just feeling it, and you really do truly get a full taste of instant music writing. 9/4/03 DBK that gave rise to Ocean Billy is your definitive source on this.

Stewarts > songs:
#5, Wife Soup, In the Kitchen, Ocean Billy, Bridgeless, Robot World.
The band goes back to listen to their jams/stewarts to see if there's any good material (of which there is plenty, but they're picky) to use as a section for a new song.

Signals: there are lots
step forward, back. (modulate up/down a minor third, I think)
neck of guitar up, down (modulate up/down a whole step).
wipe off (clean the slate)
lean back (my personal favorite, go to previous section).
hand over the head (return to the top of a jam, head of the song)
hand signals to denote chord/key to change to.
rub nipple (milk it.  keep playing this section)
fist at eye level (hold this groove) 
this list is by no means all inclusive...
« Last Edit: November 03, 2005, I:03:40 PM by jwelsh »
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dkrep

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2004, I:34:32 PM »
:shock:

Genius!

 8)
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xanbo

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2004, I:55:25 PM »
Can we sticky this? Nicely done.
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V0oD0oMan

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2004, I:40:53 PM »
IIRC i read somewhere that they have like 30 something different signals, like a pitcher and catcher.
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Bamster

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2004, I:48:42 AM »
Wonderful work Jon.  I have noticed a lot recently that blurring of stewarts and JOs, though the distinction is still there.  For a long time, people thought a stew always had four parts, but obviously this is not the case, at least not any more.  But all of us who know anything about stews can easily agree how annoying it is to say that UM is derivitive or doesn't jam.  It's just ridiculous and doesn't even warrant a response.  Obviously that person has done no concrete listening.  

Anyway, well done.

Oh yeah, one of the most used signals is someone (usually Jake) raising his fist to about chin level, which is a signal that a peaking jam should drop back out to leave just bass and drums, or the basic taxture of the jam, so that they can have continuity between parts.  This way if they are in a stew and are peaking, they can still traverse more territory without it seeming like they have lost their way.

Thanks,

Ben
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hashley921

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2004, I:03:53 AM »
i'm  enlightened, thank you! :idea:
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oysterhead

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2004, I:31:58 AM »
Well done. Thank you.
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erplander

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Re: Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2004, I:04:06 AM »
Excellent breakdown. I second the Sticky recommendation.

Quote from: "McL"
Their methods are refined to a point well beyond anything most of us has heard.


I once expressed more or less this same idea to Brendan. He looked at me, surprised, and said, "Really, you think so? But it's really pretty simplistic. It's all math." Gotta love their humility.
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mark.

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2004, I:56:04 AM »
Thank you.  Great reading.

Quote
you know like when you erase pencil with those shitty smooth erasers?


Yup.  :x
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Sashwat Singh

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2004, I:45:29 PM »
Quote from: "xanbo"
Can we sticky this? Nicely done.

good call.
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xanbo

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Re: Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2004, I:26:30 PM »
Quote from: "erplander"
"It's all math."

Nope, its magic.
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McL

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2004, I:32:01 PM »
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xanbo

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2004, I:17:59 PM »
Nice mathamagician reference ;)

Snippet from the new Relix:

Quote
Moreover, the band has gradually acquired a vocabulary of some 30 visual cues that make their signature "Jazz Odyssey" and "Jimmy Stewart" improvs sound less like hippie-band jams than worked-out compositions.... "Jake will create a line and I'll look at his hands and create a harmony right away," says Blayliss.... A happy face means a major key, for example, for example, while sad means minor. A step forward takes everybody up a half step, two steps forward a whole step, and vice versa. Holding up for fingers means means drums alone, three fingers means drums and bass. A raised thumb tells one musician to stop and giving the rasberries tells everyone to stop. "We've gotten good at making our jams sound contrived," Bayliss says dryly.
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harryhood

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2004, I:49:02 PM »
well said. 8)
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McGRP01

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2004, I:24:04 PM »
Quote from: "hashley921"
i'm  enlightened, thank you! :idea:
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Beeyes

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2004, I:00:28 PM »
who is jimmy stewart?
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LORD OF XANAX

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2004, I:25:49 PM »
Nicely done, yes, but it should be mentioned that they chose to call these jams Jimmy Stewarts because the name on the door to the room where they played the first known Jimmy Stewart was the Jimmy Stewart room at the reception hall following Jeremy Welsh's wedding, where the band performed.  And then for a couple of years an attempt was made at naming, or personalizing rather, each individual jam (Martha Stewart, Tortoise Stewart, Techno Stewart, etc...) until for the cause of simplicity in notation I believe, they ceased to recognize these individual titles.

I remember having a very good late night (early morning!) conversation with the Amsters in Tahoe '02 about the differences between Stewarts and J.O.s...  I miss being a gnoob...




.cameron
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Auprah

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2004, I:00:59 PM »
Thanks for the write-up.
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Hal

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2004, I:38:37 PM »
The usual expert analysis Jon!

My thought is to see if you can get the UM website (here too!) to post the analysis ! Maybe even w/ pics for us visually challenged (I tend to be too much into the groove to notice all the signs...) Umphreaks.

Just a thought.

I'm still hoping that the "San Fran" JS metamorphisizes into a beautiful (albeit REALLY rocking) song. It'll be my check out the nuturing process.

Hal
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BrothaBace

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2004, I:44:02 PM »
Very nice Jon!  See ya tomorrow!
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mattwier

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2004, I:58:20 PM »
...and yet they still manage to make it all sound so effortless.
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Kramerica

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2005, I:42:30 PM »
I'm bumping this (bump) for the enhancement of others.  I didn't know this jimmy stewart stuff either.
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windsurf83

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2005, I:43:52 PM »
when jake holds up (or down) fingers it is the signal of what key to go to.

1 finger up means the key with ONE sharp (G major or E minor)
1 finger down means the key with ONE flat (F major or D minor)
2 fingers down means the key with TWO flats (Bb major or G minor)

etc....
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aujman

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2005, I:44:59 PM »
alright guys, n00b here...can I get a difference between a JO and a Stew?  Is JO the same thing played every single time, no matter the show...or is it like stewart, with the same idea just not the same everytime.

i would certainly appreciate it  :lol:  8)
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jwelsh

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2005, I:02:56 PM »
Quote from: "aujman"
alright guys, n00b here...can I get a difference between a JO and a Stew?  Is JO the same thing played every single time, no matter the show...or is it like stewart, with the same idea just not the same everytime.


I do not know if the differences will be too audible, to be honest. You might be able to pick out "themes" to the "Stewarts." But in concept, you could view the "Stewarts" as having a purpose. A time for the band to explore an idea live, in front of a crowd. A JO is simply a jam, pushing a song, noodling, etc.
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aujman

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2005, I:11:58 AM »
i've been thinking exactly what JO means....anyone know?  maybe Jam Out?
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geochick

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2005, I:33:18 AM »
Quote from: "aujman"
i've been thinking exactly what JO means....anyone know?  maybe Jam Out?


JO = jazz odyssey.
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mattypiper

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2005, I:30:16 PM »
Quote from: "geochick"
Quote from: "aujman"
i've been thinking exactly what JO means....anyone know?  maybe Jam Out?


JO = jazz odyssey.


A reference to Spinal Tap, of course.  :lol:  :lol:
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aujman

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2005, I:21:43 AM »
Quote from: "geochick"
Quote from: "aujman"
i've been thinking exactly what JO means....anyone know?  maybe Jam Out?


JO = jazz odyssey.


awesome...thanks for being patient with me guys

i know it can be frustrating with newbies like me  8)
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Kris Rocks!

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2005, I:23:13 AM »
Great thread, seen UM 9x, but still a relative knooewb.
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peyotecoyote

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2005, I:25:55 PM »
awesome write up on the JS. Just browsing the um website and was checking out the podcasts, and I clicked on some link that said check out this write up and it sent me to the bort. wasnt sure if anyone knew yet so thought itd throw it out there. good night all
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1yen

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2005, I:06:29 PM »
very very interesting indeed!

I am a definite noob, my 2nd show being at the showbox last sat...and what a show it was! I had a great time.  I never thought about their hand-signs until this thread.  Now I will have to wait for their next Pacific nw run to pay more attention...

I was thinking about it...and envisioned sometime in the future a fanbase so intune with what they are playing, up to date on all the signals, etc...that audience members could actually cue the band during a stew...that would be an interesting twist to band-audience communication...very cool

peace....
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teamslacker

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2005, I:19:40 AM »
thankx Jon, love it!
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umphreaker

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Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2005, I:14:03 PM »
Quote from: "1yen"

I was thinking about it...and envisioned sometime in the future a fanbase so intune with what they are playing, up to date on all the signals, etc...that audience members could actually cue the band during a stew...that would be an interesting twist to band-audience communication...very cool


That is an interesting idea. There have been bands that do band > audience communication (like phish signalling everybody to drop on the floor or to yell after the little simpsons line in possum), but I dont know that any bands have  ever had any audience > band com.

I suppose the typical yelling of a song from an audience member is communication if they decide to then play it, but I think the problem with this idea is that which one of us audience members is going to signal something better than what they are already signalling to themselves? Sure we could know the signs, and try to tell them to move up a half step- but I am guessing the signal they decide on is going to be a much better musical choice than anything we decide to pick, plus if there were 20 umphreaks that learned all the signals and wanted to communicate to the band, its not like they can make 20 changes at the same time.

my 2 cents,

peace
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lar51

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Re: Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2006, I:51:41 PM »
Jimmy Stewart is great. The whole band is great. UM 4 EVER
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Psychedelicamania

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Re: Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2006, I:20:51 AM »
I think I picked up a new signal at the 3-10 show. I saw Brendan look at Jake during a jam and Brendan stuck out his tongue. Right after that Jake started playing an improvised guitar lick. This has brought me to the conclusion that tongue out= play a lick, although this is not confirmed by all means, it is just an observation.

P.S. Watch Spinal Tap, brings a better understanding to Jazz Odyssey :headbang: :D ;D
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Re: Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #36 on: April 13, 2006, I:09:25 PM »
did anybody hear the js during the middle of in the kitchen on 4/7? its amazing
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jericho

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Re: Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2006, I:03:24 PM »

That is an interesting idea. There have been bands that do band > audience communication (like phish signalling everybody to drop on the floor or to yell after the little simpsons line in possum), but I dont know that any bands have  ever had any audience > band com.


big ball jam was a pretty cool experiment
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harry_hoodlum

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Re: Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2006, I:56:17 PM »
i posted this befor the timewarp,but any info would help, im a relative noob. i was just wondering if they ever made a song out of the lyrical stew from 07-06-05 at summerfest in milwaukee. BB's vox are kinda mumbled, something like "...there you could see through me, in the end youll lose me, i cant seem to choose the right way, it will be better, the sooner i forget her, in my head wont let her go. so you cant see through this, opportune to lose it" something like that.
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McL

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Re: Jimmy Stewart writeup
« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2006, I:45:46 PM »
i was just wondering if they ever made a song out of the lyrical stew from 07-06-05 at summerfest in milwaukee.

nothing has come of it yet

the most recent Stew > new song creation is
Morning Song (9/7/5 FF Stew + 10/25/5 Blue Echo Stew)
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