By Paul Siegell
Review by Pete Mason, Albany, New York, author of PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish and PhanFood: From the Kitchen Pot to the Parking Lot
Poetry is the music of the written word and Paul Siegell creates a concert in his book Jambandbootleg. Throughout the 120 page book, poems of varying length but few over a page, a varying and eclectic prosody frames musical moments and the trips in between that Siegell has experienced, in parts reminiscent of e.e. cummings and William Carlos Williams. There is fun with punctuation intersplicing the words, creating artistic accents to select lines, using “subgenerational”, patterning the words of a poem into a musical design and leaving a punctuated fish as a coda to a page <*(((><, with periods making as bubbles.
In a way, this book is musical poetry, covering live music experiences from Big Cypress to Coventry, Disco Biscuit shows and music festivals, the random trips and in between adventures we all experience and remember but don’t share with anyone, errant musings while exploring and the improvisational structure of the live music community and lifestyle. You don’t need a bookmark to read Jambandbootleg, simply pick a page and read, put it down and return to a new page or revisit the same poem and catch something you missed before.
This is poetry for the music fan, especially those who are jamband fans. It provides a flow that connects with the freeform improvisational structure of jamband music. You can ignore the label of the music if you want to – it’s the improvisation of the words as he writes that makes it similar to the deep exploration certain bands like Phish, Umphrey’s McGee, The Disco Biscuits and others utilize in concert and draws the fans in, deeper still to the song.