Jam Club and UB Improv come together to create 'Jamprov'

In perfect harmony


On one side of the room sit actors, preparing themselves by outlining the skits they’ll be performing within the hour. On the other side, students start to assemble a drum set, plug in amps and tune guitars.

Although the two groups are preparing in different ways, they’re both getting ready the same event: Jamprov.

On Monday night in the Student Union Theater, UB’s Jam Club and UB Improv collaborated for their second Jamprov event. The groups alternated half hour sets. The collaboration was organized to bring exposure to both clubs, as well as give members the opportunity to perform in front of a small crowd.

“We’re basically doing the same thing, just using different mediums,” said Jeremy Landau, a junior international business major and the president of Jam Club. “The collaboration was a match made in heaven.”

Jam Club and UB Improv are both improvisation clubs, allowing members to experiment with their medium – music or comedy.

“Jamming” is when a musician will improvise instead of performing pre-written sheet music or tabs. The instruments usually involved in jam sessions are guitars, keyboards, basses and drums. Sometimes, only a single instrument will play but usually, members improvise together creating a harmony of individual sounds and ideas.

Jam Club meets on Sundays in the Student Union.

UB Improv meets on Mondays in the Student Union in a workshop format to teach those interested the nature of improvisation.

Actors in UB Improv play skill-building games to help teach members how to become comfortable on the stage and how to naturally formulate dialogue with one another. New participants are always welcome to join warm ups, which include ice-breaker games.

“There are different kinds of improve: short form and long form,” said Corey Reisman, a senior political science major and the president of UB Improv. “What we focus on during meetings is long form, which is more internalized. Short form is what’s entertaining, and gets the audience involved. That’s what we perform tonight – something that the audience can get into and participate in.”

Jamprov opened with a four-person group from Jam Club, consisting of two guitars, a drum set and a bass. The group worked together to find harmony by starting in the same key, and switching between which instruments were leading, or performing solos.

Then UB Improv took the stage. They played games such as “pan left,” “director’s cut” and “line blind.” All the games required audience participation – the actors on stage performed scenes based on what audience members would shout out, or in the case of “line blind,” wrote down on slips of paper.

The audience laughed as UB Improv created comedy from their ideas.

The groups are planning their third Jamprov show to be on April 20 to further improve the structure of the event and help participants be more comfortable on stage.

“We’re hoping that for our next show, we’re going to find a way to combine what we do and what [Jam Club does] together,” said Rachel Sawyer, a senior English major and member of UB Improv. “Maybe we’ll have them play while we perform, or something similar to that. We want to perform together at the same time.”

Jam Club is also looking to collaborate with other on-campus organizations, like the Royal Pitches or the Buffalo Chips, UB’s female and male a capella groups, respectively.

Be it with music or acting, improvisation is a skill that takes practice and Jamprov allows the groups to explore their chosen mediums.

The combination of the two into one show sheds light to not only the difficulty of performing on the fly but the beauty of natural harmony between performers.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com