Spafford Shares Bloomington Live Recording Featuring All-Improv Sets

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A special Spafford show took place on Tuesday at The Bluebird in Bloomington, Indiana; where the band played two completely improvised sets for the assembled Spaffnerds. The jam quartet posted an official audio recording of the concert on YouTube just in time for this week’s Full Show Friday column.

Spafford opened with what they’ve dubbed the “Bloomington Jam.” Guitarist Brian Moss laid down a funky guitar line the four-piece used as a springboard to begin the 65-minute improvisation. Moss and band mates bassist Jordan Fairless keyboardist Andrew “Red” Johnson and drummer Nick Tkachyk quickly built to a euphoric peak.

The band latched onto a different groove that served as the basis for the second movement of the “Bloomington Jam.” Eventually, Johnson led a move to a new key Spafford explored for over 10 minutes. Tkachyk kicked into a rolling beat that marked the start of yet another segment. Moss fronted a build to a rolling boil filled with fretboard fireworks around the 40-minute mark before the band explored a more laidback progression before hitting yet another peak. Johnson then stepped up with funky clavinet work that paved the way for a rollicking dance party groove that closed the “Bloomington Jam.”

Spafford picked up where they left off for their 70-minute, all-improv second set, aka the “Bluebird Jam.” Nick provided a four-on-the-floor beat that laid underneath the untz-y, Disco Biscuits-esque first 15 minutes of the seamless exploration. It was then Fairless’ turn to guide the jam into psychedelic territory complete with Moss utilizing an envelope filter ala Jerry Garcia on “Shakedown Street.” It was around the 27-minute mark that Spafford changed direction once again into Talking Heads-like terrain. Brian Moss starred on the next segment which was a blissful major key affair that was followed by jamming on a reggae groove. Another guitar-fueled peak came ahead of a jam on a “The Other One”-esque space. The “Bluebird Jam” concluded with a potent bit of improv that garnered cheers from the crowd. For the encore, Red led the group through a cover of Alex Clare’s “Too Close.”

Setlist & Full Show Audio

Set One: Bloomington Jam

Set Two: Bluebird Jam

Encore: Too Close

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