While the idea of “Jam bands” is nothing new, along with the weekly jams that occur at a myriad of bars and venues around the QCA, this scene may be new to many of you. I am surely someone who views this scene from the outside far more than I participate in it directly, but it unquestionably holds the hearts and ears of thousands who call these cities straddling the state lines between Iowa and Illinois home
Taking inspiration from the long-practiced technique of free improvisation, Room to Improv rose from the local QC scene in September of 2022, playing and recording several performances that are concocted spontaneously on the spot by a bevy of musicians you would surely recognize if you frequent the weekly jams that occur along the Illinois edge of the river. The band currently consists of Michael Brock on percussion, Beth Lizano provides vocals, Jack Hill brings the bass, Logan McDaniel on guitar, with Joe McKinney and Jacob Palmer on drums and keyboards respectively. Several members actually help host the Wednesday Night Open Jam at Bent River Rock Island, and percussionist Brock helps with the Monday Night jam at O’Keefes, the latter being the host of a 3 part concert series that Room to Improv put on across the summer months. There’s a chance you unknowingly walked into one of these planned, unplanned performances, as the group created a musical triptych beginning in June and July, with the final audio “rubber match” of sorts coming to blows at the end of August. All three of these performances can be listened to and watched online through their YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/@THEROOMTOIMPROV). In addition to the music each of these three events featured live painting from Kate Zimmerman, with each night coming to a close with completed pieces of art that surpassed the confines of a single medium.