Representatives of Jam Bands

Our second part of trying to find out which are the best bands live that perform the best jam sessions will take a look at some unique artists that highly improvise their music whilst they are playing on stage. Included in this blog is Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic and the Cream.

Gov’t Mule

There is one artist that deserves to be on every Jam Band Hall of Fame and that is the highly talented guitarist Warren Haynes. Following the demise of Duane Allman he stepped into the breach to fill the hole left by him in the Allman Brothers Band and also took over from Gerry Garcia in the Grateful Dead. Warren Haynes is the man behind Gov’t Mule and they play the best of both the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead. The band are truly magnificent live as you never quite know what they are going to play but be assured whatever it is it will be brilliant.

Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic might not be the best known band in the world but to their followers they are the best band ever. Their highly popular Red Rock gigs have developed a loyal following over a thirty year period, and most of their fans love their live gigs.


One of the most powerful live bands ever was made up of just three musicians, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. Together they formed Cream and basically most of the music they played you would class as Jams. Even though tracks such as Wheels on Fire and Toad were recorded in the studio if the tapes had been running a different night then the results would have been quite different. Cream grew a massive fan base in the 1960’s and any of their fans would tell you that you had to see them live to fully appreciate the band. The three musicians were all virtuosos in their own right and knew their instruments inside out.

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead remain an enigma, the broke every rule in the musical book when Gerry Garcia first put the band together and rewrote it as they thought it should be. Their live sets were the inspiration for an army of devoted fans to follow them. At one stage they were so popular that their gigs were causing the establishment great concern. Many of the live concerts were attended by crowds that were just too big to enter the venues and unfortunately this caused many crowd control problems with local police forces.

Their two hour long live sets would alter wildly from one night to the next and improvisation was the name of the game every time they played live. Most of the time it seemed like the band simply walked on stage and saw where the music took them. The Grateful Dead must go down in history as the best jam band ever and many performers today try to emulate their live performances. Jerry Garcia obviously must take most of the credit behind the success of the band and his name will live long in the Jam Hall of Fame.