AT THIS MOMENT, A GROUP OF jazz and pop musicians is gathered in a studio, laying down a funky beat and improvisational riffs. What's new about that? In this jam, the players are thousands of miles apart, and the studio exists only in cyberspace.
Some 15,000 professional and amateur musicians have signed up with www. resrocket.com, a virtual music studio that bills itself as "the biggest band in the world." Playing electronic instruments that use the MIDI (that's Musical Instruments Digital Interface) standard, they can jam 24 hours a day on the Internet site run by San Francisco-based ResRocket Inc.
The company has compiled some collaborations onto a CD scheduled for sale in January. A sample: eJam, an instrumental by a drummer in San Francisco, an organist in Paris, a horn player in Hull, Britain, and a jazz pianist in Chicago.
To listen to ResRocket music, you need Macromedia Inc.'s Shockwave media player. Joining a session requires downloading free ResRocket software. Public jams are free, or you can rent a private studio for $100 per year, which is how ResRocket makes money. In January, ResRocket will upgrade its software to add digital audio and voice. So log on, and start jamming.