Tuesday, August 9, 2011

That's My Jam!

This past Sunday we had the privilege of opening for Charity & the JAMband at Park Chalet on the western edge of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  Charity Kahn and her band have been hosting shows almost every month for the past few years featuring a fabulous assortment of kids & family music entertainers.  Through her tireless efforts to bring the joy of music to young people, Charity has amassed quite the following of little fans that have taken her various music & movement classes & camps
     Her fans were great to us and were quick to start dancing as we began to play.  It was also the first time I ever had a toddler try and slip me a $20 bill during a song. I later found out it was her father’s attempt to tip us!
     We rarely get to perform on a bill with other kids & family acts so it’s always enjoyable for me to try and learn a thing or two about how to connect with young audiences by watching some pros.  This was the fourth time I've seen the JAMband perform and I’m impressed at their consistent dedication to the groove.  It’s a cliché in the world of children’s music to say your music appeals to both kids and their parents but in the case of Charity and the JAMband it’s absolutely true.   
     The JAMband is made up accomplished Bay Area musicians who are not only seasoned professional musicians but also engineer/producers who know their way around crafting interesting arrangements.  With Daryn Roven on guitar, Paul Lamb on bass, Hud Bixler on drums and Danny Zingarelli on assorted percussion (and Kaossilator!), the band effortlessly switches between rock, funk and folk/bluegrass genres - nice for those of us with short attention spans.
     Of course, what sets the band apart from other kids & family bands is the quality of songs.  Charity lyrics promote love & peace and the joy found in exploration and the commonalities that unite us all.  What I really enjoy is the vocals.  Charity has a voice that I can only describe as “bubblegum”.  It’s a joyous/childlike voice that seems to be also shared by her singing partner, Laurie Pomeranz.  Charity and Laurie's voices fit perfectly together and almost sound like the same voice double-tracked.  You can’t help but smile at the beautiful harmonizing and I found myself laughing during the times they’d adopt southern accents and sound (to me) like dueling Victoria Williams’.
       If you live in the Bay Area you owe it to yourself to come out to the Park Chalet to enjoy a Charity and JAMband show.  They have a couple more shows left in the series with the next one featuring the East Bay’s delightful family music band, Octopretzel
     Here’s a little video I made with my iphone using the ‘70’s setting of the 8mm app which seemed to fit the band vibe. It’s a performance of their #1 Sirius/XM Satellite Radio hit, “Amazing Rocket Ship”.