Open Jam Gives Local Musicians a Chance to Collaborate

When he isn’t playing in STARPARTY, Jonathan Steinberg busies himself with a very different kind of task: getting musicians and music fans around town together in one spot to improvise and collaborate. This project is called Open Jam, and Steinberg sees it as a chance for people to gather in a positive environment.

“The goal of Open Jam is to bring together both musicians and music enthusiasts in the community in an open, informal forum that is fun, safe, and free,” Steinberg says.

Open Jam has been running now for about a year. Steinberg’s interest in hosting such an event comes from his own past experiences as a once-fledgling artist. “As an aspiring musician and a newcomer to the scene in Denton ten years ago, parties that offered this type of jam atmosphere really helped me embrace music as a form of expression,” he says. “That has been something that I want as many people to experience as possible.

The spirit of Open Jam is one of spontaneity and acceptance. Anyone is welcome to join, regardless of his or her skill level. Every Wednesday night at 9:30, participants gather at Abbey Underground to sign up before the event begins. Steinberg explains that participants can sign up as individuals in search of fellow “jammers” or sign up in groups. “Each group of jammers will have about three songs and then pass the stage to the next round of musicians,” he says. Open Jam isn’t totally freeform, however — Steinberg, Paulo Castillo, and William Luis de Alcuaz serve as the “house band” for the night, acting as backup for artists who might want or need them. They even offer their instruments to attendees who don’t have their own.

Steinberg says Open Jam newcomers can expect to hear an entire spectrum of genres and aesthetics onstage. “It’s an opportunity to play with new people and different types of music that [people] may not have otherwise had the chance to,” he says.

Open Jam starts at 10 PM every Wednesday night at Abbey Underground, and runs until the venue closes at 2 AM. 


Header image design by Brittany Keeton