Chris Jones posted this review on the Eurotraders mailing list, and gave me permission to repost it here. “Life Is a Jam” was recorded in December 2009. It is available for download, and I have a few actual (pressed) CDs left from a limited run.
I’ve been on a bit of Gans binge lately and today has been ‘Life Is A Jam’ day.
When I first got this, I thought, “WTF, it’s only got three tracks on it – and they’re all the same” but, believe me, those three tracks are all absolutely excellent and all very different – despite sharing the same name.
The three tracks are all versions of David’s ‘Life Is A Jam’ song, but they’re alternate takes and have a very different feel one from another. They all start in a similar manner – with David singing his remarkable upbeat and amusing lyrics (some of the rhymes are really superb and very witty) whilst accompanying himself on guitar. But this isn’t a solo album as he’s joined by a rather talented quartet: Mark Karan on guitar, Mookie Siegel (David Nelson Band) on keys, Joe Kyle Jr (the Waybacks) on bass, and Dave Brogan (Django) on drums.
The basic premise of the song is that life is going to throw all sorts of shit at you and that you have to learn how to improvise your way through it. If you do, you’ll get that much more out of it.
The song has a very cheering rhythm to it and you can’t help but tap your feet. The lyrics kick in and the foot-tapping is accompanied by smiles. Then, after a few verses, the jams start – and pretty soon you’re just totally into the groove as the band is on fine form on all the tracks. It’s always a joy to listen to Mark Karan, and he’s really on top form here – smooth and easy, and very relaxed. In fact this band sounds as if they’re a permanent grouping, rather than a bunch of guys who occasionally play together when they’re not playing with someone else.
The downside of the CD is that with a total length of around 26½ minutes it’s too damn short. You just want it to go on, and on, and on.