Posted by: Brad Nixon | September 30, 2020

Putting the Band Back Together: Quarantine Edition

One of the most memorable aspects of my corporate career was not about my job of writing or producing video or events.

My employer, a large technology services company, had about 90,000 employees around the world.

About a dozen years ago, a handful of colleagues on the east coast of the U.S. — acquainted with one another — were also musicians. They proposed finding other musicians amongst the company’s work force. Most employees were technologists or engineers of some stripe. Were there any musicians among them?

The goal would be to have a well-rounded representation of voices and instruments, bring everyone together at the firm’s annual technology conference and perform together.

The call went out.

After a great deal of planning, painstaking development of arrangements, and solo, remote practicing by each member over many months, a couple dozen former strangers arrived for the conference, rehearsed during free time away from the meeting (sometimes quite late, sometimes very early), and went onstage at the final farewell gathering for the conference.

The Global Jam was born.

The Global Jam
The Global Jam

The Global Jam was a feature at company events for a number of years. The level of musicianship was high. With a focus on danceable music (the scene was, essentially the conference’s farewell party), the band performed 30 or more numbers each year.

Vivek (Australia) leads the Global Jam in a number

Numbers ranged from well known rock n’ roll to ambitious arrangements of BIG performance numbers that capitalized on the depth of the group. Talented singers in every range, a horn section with saxophone, trumpet, trombone, backed by guitar, bass, percussion.

Global Jam
Global Jam

All things pass. Eventually, the company shifted away from holding the event. Global Jam became a halcyon memory for the several dozen colleagues from perhaps 20 countries who participated during the run.

I last wrote about the band at this link.

The Global Jam

Now … The Quarantine Edition!

Early in 2020, as all of us around the world turned to remote conferencing and virtual communication in the face of anti-virus lockdowns, our music director saw an opportunity: Get the band back together … virtually.

And So It Was.

During a series of video conferences, former band members in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, U.S. and Vietnam (I hope I didn’t miss one) discussed how to accomplish this, chose a number to perform, and started working out individual parts.

Here’s one example of a call I’ve labeled to show locations.

If it hasn’t occurred to you, time zones were an issue: The local time for those gatherings ranged from nearly midnight in Australia to 6 am in western North America.

Then the Real Work Began

It was up to each member to learn, practice and synchronize their part with the master recording, a well-known popular song.

Each player recorded their section and sent it to our producer/editor in the north of Spain, who’d volunteered to take on the task of synchronizing and arranging onscreen something in the neighborhood of 70 discrete tracks of audio and video.

And Now, Ladies and Gentlemen …

… From living rooms, basements, back yards and home offices around the globe, recorded individually, but playing ensemble …

… The Global Jam performing “Band on the Run,” by Paul McCartney and Wings.

I hope you’ll play the clip. Credits identifying the players and their respective countries appear at the end.

It’s good to have the band back together again!

How are you dealing with this virtual world? Please leave a comment.

© Brad Nixon 2020. This recording is strictly for the personal enjoyment of the Global Jam, its members and friends. No commercial application is permitted. “Band on the Run” words and music © Paul McCartney. Any commercial use of the words or music without express permission are prohibited by international copyright covenants.


Responses

  1. This is just so cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jeanne. It truly is an impressive group of players. An absolute thrill to’ve been part of it.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I am so happy you are doing this now at your age rather than drive. 👼Angels who guard you when you when you drive usually retire at 65. Your music however is like a fine wine. Only getting better as it ages. If you take your band on the road you could pass for the UN. What an advantage been there got the blanket.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to hear from you, James. The members of this band put in lifetimes of effort to master their music, aside from their professions and time for personal life with families. It was a privilege to stand onstage with them and PLAY. And wonderful to still do this, at some incalculable distance.

      Like

  4. So great to see the band together again in this perfect performance for our times. Cheers to all! And thanks for the fun of being your videographer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful to have my own videographer, who made me look (and sound) as well as it could be done. You stand on the shoulders of giants I’ve worked with in that field.

      Like

  5. You clearly had a terrific experience making music with that group, and it’s great that you were able to have a little fun putting together an entirely new version of your music-making. I had seen the Angel City Chorale’s similar production, and I’m sure there must be many groups giving these virtual productions a try.

    As for dealing with ‘this virtual world’ — it’s not my thing. I’m sticking with the real world, and enjoying it immensely. I’m probably one of the last people in the world who hasn’t “zoomed.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t have to Zoom. Just keep writing, my friend. I’m happy to hear from you.

      Like

      • For the first time since this all began, music and zooming combined in my mind in a different way. Remember this? Clearly some people in the comments thread had the same thought, long before I did!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hah! That’s a killer. Thanks.

        Like

  6. Well done! I thoroughly enjoyed this! Seeing you all share your talents and joy from across the world has put a smile on my face. Great job on the guitar, Brad, and thank you for sharing this with us. Stay safe and well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Stacy. They’re a great group of people, with some extraordinary talents. We’ll never all be together again, but they demonstrated the same level of dedication to making music, even at such enormous distance. They’re all gratified to have people enjoy the number.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Still love this idea! The time zone issue hadn’t occurred to me so I found that part particularly interesting. Loved the performance!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And we loved doing it. People up late, up early, around the world, making music. A day on which it was good to be a human being.

      Liked by 1 person


Leave a Comment. I enjoy hearing from readers.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Categories

%d bloggers like this: