John Popper: Robert Mecea/AP Wide World
July 11, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

KICK OUT THE JAMMYS As Prince once sang, ”Did you come to jam, baby? Oh, yeah!” At the second annual Jammy awards — held June 28 at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom — a packed house got its groove on to a diverse, exciting, well-conceived lineup of performance-oriented artists. Sponsored by Jambands.com, Relix magazine, and promoter Peter Shapiro, the awards honor the ever-growing improv-based jam scene. Bluegrass favorites the Del McCoury Band teamed up with pedal-steel guitar great Robert Randolph and DJ Logic. Michael Franti and Spearhead sat in with the Tom Tom Club for a 20-minute cover of Mariah Carey’s ”Fantasy” (which samples Tom Tom Club’s ”Genius of Love”).

Lake Trout was joined by Marky Ramone and the Misfits’ Jerry Only. Les Claypool played with Junior Brown and Paul Shaffer. John Popper and the Disco Biscuits covered Jane’s Addiction’s ”3 Days.” Organ trio Soulive got a little help from the Roots’ Black Thought and the Meters’ George Porter Jr. For anyone who still clings to outdated hippie-rock stereotypes, the show was a convincing argument for the scene’s increasing vitality and significance. ”The whole vibe, the sense of community, the vibrancy of this scene…it’s exciting,” says Claypool.

”It’s becoming this hub for any type of music. Now, it’s more the way you approach the music than the style of music. It’s about keeping your parameters broad, opening up the songs, improvisation.” As for the actual awards, Phish’s ”Farmhouse” won for best studio album, Les Claypool and Frog Brigade’s ”Live Frogs, Set 1” was acknowledged as best live album, and the Meters were recognized for lifetime achievement. Memo to cable execs: Let’s see the third Jammys on TV!

Reporting by Evan Serpick

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