This review of Join The Jam is a contribution from Deanie Richardson, fiddler with Sister Sadie, and prominent session player and instructor in Nashville. She has recorded and performed with top country artists and bluegrass acts alike, and has very few peers in the music business.
I was given a copy of Annie Savage’s second book in her Savage Fiddler Method instruction series. This latest book is called Join The Jam! A Method of Jamming for Traditional String Players and I admit, I was intrigued, so I spent some time with the book and method.
After all, who doesn’t want to join the jam?
Annie’s method offers a great approach to learning solos to songs. I love how she’s created an index of licks to use in solos or for backup/fills. I use the same kind of approach; building a repertoire of licks to use in solos and fills. I do wish there had been more bluegrass standards included, but I appreciate what Savage has created and the variety she presents for players who may come from a variety of influences and genres.
The most common thing I’m asked when teaching my students is, “How do I learn to play with a band, a singer, and take solos or do backup fills?” This book will help anyone get started. Annie’s done a great job showing the player how to begin that process.
Annie’s method offers some creative and unique tips. Using the blues scales to create a more bluesy or “darker sounding” solo is very useful.
The arpeggios and scales are imperative when moving toward becoming a solo-taker. Annie has included both in a way that will get players started.
She even includes some twin fiddle options which help when trying to put all of the pieces together. The student’s ear can begin hearing how each note works together to make a chord.
Jamming and taking leads can be a challenging thing for some students to grasp, but I think Annie has done an incredible job helping the learner make more sense of it all by breaking it down into understandable … and fun …steps. I can definitely recommend Join The Jam! A Method of Jamming for Traditional String Players for fiddlers who want to begin, or deepen, their understanding of how to play with others, and how to really enjoy the way music is meant to be shared.
As a string player, I must add that I love Annie’s philosophy of “total world domination through small vibrating wooden boxes!” … that’s good stuff right there.
Join The Jam is available from Annie’s web site for $24.99 plus shipping, and from music retailers who stock bluegrass titles.