Boulder musical mix-and-match

Rock fusion band Jet Edison leads multi-band jam session

Jet Edison, organizers of the superjam
Photo courtesy of Jet Edison

Take that basement jam session with a few musically inclined friends and imagine it 10 times bigger, 10 times better and at the Fox, and you´ve got the Jet Edison Summer Superjam.

Jet Edison and the Fox Theatre will bring some of Boulder´s best-known young bands together for a giant jam session June 27. The show, which will include 10 bands and more than 20 musicians, is a celebration of the city´s local bands, says Alex Johnson, drummer and manager of rock fusion band Jet Edison.

Boulder´s a small town with a similarly sized music scene. It´s inevitable that bands run into each other. Jet Edison´s Phil Johnson, who plays the keyboard and sings, and Alex Johnsons have played with guitarist and vocalist Matt Flaherty of Hot Soup and bassist Zach Jackson of Technicolor Tone Factory. Flaherty has worked on side projects with Technicolor Tone Factory guitar player Jarrod Guaderrama and Nick Dunbar, the mandolin player of Mountain Standard Time. The web of connections among bands makes the super jam an obvious outcome.

In the show, one or two members from 10 bands will be mixed up. The musicians will form different groupings to play different songs, so the guitar player, bassist, drummer and vocalist playing one song may all be from different bands. The set list includes classic covers from bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd as well as original songs from the bands involved. The new combinations of musicians and genres will put a fresh sound on even classic songs.

“Everyone’s going to add their own flavor and sound to each song,” Guaderrama says. He and guitar player Jackson will lead musicians from other bands in Technicolor Tone Factory’s original song “Funky Grass.” “If I was in the audience, I’d be hearing a Hot Soup song, and I’d be like ‘Oh, that’s Hot Soup,’ but it’s not really Hot Soup because it sounds different. It’s going to make things really interesting.”

Not only will the bands put a new spin on classic and original songs, the musicians will cover an eclectic grouping of genres. Many Boulder bands add elements of other genres to their songs, and the Superjam will emphasize this fusion. From Rocky Mountain freegrass to funk-rock fusion, most genres will have a place at the Superjam.

The jam session setup is expected to give the event a fresh feel and wide attraction. While most genres will be covered in some way, providing something for everyone, audience participation will also be key, says Dunbar. The audience will have a chance to build a band, choosing the song and members of bands that will play it during the Superjam. Involving the show’s audience is intended to reflect the support the bands get from their followings.

“People want to support you,” Dunbar says. “It’s hard to make it in music, but we don’t choose music, it kind of chooses us.”

Technicolor Tone Factory | Photo courtesy of Technicolor Tone Factory

The unique setup means a lot of planning for Jet Edison’s members, who had to pick all the bands and organize the set list and different groupings. With more than 20 musicians and a long set list, the planning took a lot of work.

“The amount of organization that’s gone into this thing is pretty funny, because musicians, we’re kind of all over the place a lot of the time,” Guaderamma says. “So for all of us to organize this, especially with how many people are actually involved, it’s pretty awesome. You definitely have to herd some cats.”

The jam session allows Boulder’s musicians to play with their peers and get more exposure outside of individual shows. The support within the community is the underlying theme of the event itself, Johnson says.

“These are top-notch musicians,” Johnson says. “We look up to these guys, and it’s just such a great community. It’s fun to finally play with some of the people that are on this list.”

The Jet Edison Summer Superjam takes place at the Fox Theatre on Thursday, June 27. Cold River City opens. Doors at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of show, plus $2 for under-21 tickets. 1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-443-3399.