I’m always excited about playing live shows, but this one is a little special.
On Tuesday Sept 7th, I’ll be playing at the Beta Lounge in Berkeley with trumpeters Jason Parker and Dave Hoffman, guitarist Rob Michael, and bassist Steve Uccello. This gig will be the first time group has ever played together. In fact, most of us have never even met in person before – we all met each other on Twitter.
Twitter, for those that don’t know, is a social networking site that allows users to post short (140-character) updates in response to the question “What are you doing right now?”. Much has already been written about Twitter (including a terrific book), so I won’t try to go into the details here, but in my experience, Twitter has been by far the most powerful tool I’ve seen to help me connect with people with common interests.
Take the guys I mentioned earlier. When I first started on Twitter, I ran some searches for “music”, “jazz”, and “piano”. I can’t remember which of these guys I found first, but I started “following” them (i.e. telling Twitter that I want to see their updates on my home page) and they followed me back. Then I noticed who they were exchanging messages with and picked up the trail of breadcrumbs from there. The end result is an informal community of folks sharing the ups and downs and joys and trials of life and music, moment to moment.
And, unlike any social networking site I’ve been part of before, the connections made online often lead to connections in The Real World: like, for example, a gig.
Jason, who lives in the Seattle, “tweeted” that he was going to be in the Bay Area in early September and asked who was going to be around. Rob suggested that three of us should play together and maybe have Steve join us. Jason then asked Dave to jump in too. We went back and forth on dates and eventually found one that worked for everyone. This conversation unfolded of the course of a few hours (all on Twitter of course).
Jason contacted the Beta Lounge, as he had performed there a few months ago with his band, and they agreed to host our “tweetup”. This will be a great venue for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they have wifi available. That will allow us to stream the gig over the web, so that our other Twitter friends from (literally) across the globe can join in the fun as well.
But quite apart from the Music-2.0 nifftiness of this gig, it’s exciting for me for personal reasons as well. Over the year or so that I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve not only enjoyed conversing with these guys, I’ve also come to have tremendous respect for them as musicians. These guys are all working pros and have some great recordings available for download (Steve’s album “Symmetria” was playing pretty much constantly when I first got it).
Twitter has actually become the main way I discover new music: my iPod is slowly being taken over by the folks that I meet online, music I never would have heard anywhere else. The artists I listen to are people that I have a personal connection with, people I chat with almost daily.
And now I not only get to meet them in person, I get to jam with them as well. How cool is that?
If you’re in the Bay Area, I hope you’ll be able to come by the Beta Lounge next Tuesday night. If you can’t make it, you can still watch it on the web (if the Gods Of Technology are smiling that night), and I’m sure there will be tweets a-plenty as well. I don’t yet know what the URL for the stream will be, but I’ll post it on (you guessed it) Twitter once I know, and to Facebook as well. See you there!
(For you hard-core Twitter users, look for the #SSIJ hashtag (“Secret Society Of Internet Jazzers”) to join in the fray.)