It's time to double clutch and jam the gears, cut the apron strings, and kick out the jams, m****rf***ers! The Roc City Pro Jam -- the now-weekly open jam that rotates venues -- has reached its plateau. Or maybe its ceiling, depending on how you look at it. This is a wonderfully organic event that takes on a professional-player edge without getting too high tone. Anyone can get up and play, but you've got to step high. The level of talent runs high here. The problem is, basically, there ain'tno words. Each jam is groove or beat-centric to exalted heights, and within these goalposts it shines supernova bright. But to avoid the comfort and bloat from this position, some melody needs to be introduced. It could be freeform freak-out, classic Sinatra, Gregorian chant, anything, but it's structured where there's an additional challenge and the endings don't resemble a plane overshooting the runway.
I came to this realization Tuesday night while killing Kenny with a pinball and after dominating the slot-car track at Rock 'n' Roll Ron's while the jam shook the walls at a packed Skylark Lounge. Members from local bands like The Goods, AudioInflux, the Teressa Wilcox Band, and Teagan and the Tweeds all got up and played in various configurations. And it seems some are inching in a more structured direction already as several saxophones wailed wantonly around more than just righteous riffs. My suggestion to the wigs that run this shindig is to give the recently assembled ensembles a chance to get their assorted ya-ya's out, rocks off, and grooves on, but throw them a curve ball. Spin the wheel and predetermine the groove the group has to adopt. Metal mavens? Give them a reggae beat. Long-winded jammers? Assign them a three-minute pop tune. And so on. Remember, it's all one big song, and we're all just trying to carve out our own little piece.