By Charlie Matthews
Do you Jamkazam? I do, and it is amazing. Jamkazam is a free app for your computer or tablet that allows musicians to play music together in real time from different locations as if they are sitting in the same room. The app boast high-quality audio and video with low latency, enabling musicians around the globe to play seamlessly in groups or “sessions”. If you have an audio interface, an instrument, and a microphone, you have everything you need to Jamkazam.
Jamkazam works very much like a social network, allowing musicians to chat, “friend” other musicians, form bands, and schedule sessions to play in. While in a session, you can broadcast or share, in real time, the music you are working on or record it on the fly. Don’t forget the video! If you have a built-in camera on your computer, or a usb-connected one, you can stream yourself and watch others in your session!
To keep everything under control and mixed to your liking, Jamkazam has developed an on-screen mixer that each user in a session can control at his end. It is laid out very much like every other virtual mixer you have ever seen with volume sliders, mute, and pan knobs one can control with a mouse click. While in the session, you can upload an audio file to play along with or import one of the many “jam tracks” (not free) offered by Jamkazam. If you’re a music instructor, there is a whole section dedicated to setting up classes (and earning cash) on the platform, too.
Regardless of your style or your ability, there is a place on Jamkazam for you. I have played with musicians from London, Nashville, New Orleans, and Los Angeles (without ever leaving my music room!), and very rarely was there a hiccup. I have played rock, blues, R&B, reggae, and metal, and I can honestly say I had a blast each time. I am a bass player, and although I don’t sing, I always hook up a mic so I can talk to the other musicians. Speaking of the musicians, I have played with guitar players, a violinist, drummers, rappers, disc spinners, keyboarders, and once with a guy who played harmonica. These musicians ranged from professional session artists to beginner players and everywhere in between.
In all fairness, it’s not all perfect. Sometimes the bandwidth gets crazy and you need to reset on the fly. Sometimes the video gets a little wonky or the audio gets robot-like. But the guys who run Jamkazam are constantly working to get the bugs out. It seems like they are always releasing an update and there is a robust forum of people willing to help. All in all, I would at least recommend you downloading it and trying it out. I bet if you do, you will be asking your musician friends…..do you Jamkazam?