I’m always on the lookout for new music resources to learn from, and one that I’ve been LOVING recently is the YouTube channel Studio Jams. The concept basically takes a beefed up version of a jam session and films it: for each episode, they gather a group of elite jazz musicians (most of whom have never met or played together), put em in a great recording studio, and see what happens.
There aren’t really musical equivalents to the jazz jam session. Unlike musicians in other genres, the jazzman’s primary pursuit is improvisation – drawing on a wide knowledge of standards from the American songbook and history of the art, these sessions make up the music as they go along (tempo, feel, who solos and how long that solo lasts, trading off one another, etc). It’s spontaneous creation by experts in spontaneity, and the goal is total free expression.
These have been going for years, so there’s a movable feast of tunes to choose from. Players have included people like guitar legend Pat Martino and saxophone virtuoso Grace Kelly (who you’ve probably seen in Colbert’s house band). But it doesn’t really matter whether or not you know the players – you can flip to any clip and they’ll be ripping hard.
The sessions themselves take place in a variety of studios, much like Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways concept: Sigma Sound in Philadelphia, SubCat in Syracuse, Forge Recording Studios in Oreland, and many others.
There are plenty more great sessions to dig into, so check out Studio Jams’ channel at this link.