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Characterized by Rolling Stone as a pioneer band, Phish is believed to have spawned a wave of improvisation based bands that stress extended, unplanned grooves. The band was formed at the University of Vermont in 1983 and the line-up was solidified two years later featuring Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell, and Trey Anastasio. They officially broke up in 2004 but have since reformed and returned to a full schedule of tours in the summer and fall seasons. Unlike many other well known bands, Phish was promoted almost entirely by word of mouth and trading live recordings, a practice often done now through the internet instead of at concerts. This further fuels their honorary title as the improvisational music pioneers with the influx of unsigned bands getting recognition quickly through mediums other than radio and television time.

Their music is loosely defined as alternative rock or jazz fusion, but the members make a point of genre hopping and sampling from other music styles so any label would eventually be incorrect. Phish released their fourteenth album, Joy, in September of ‘09. Their songs have since appeared in video games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero World Tour. Given the immense amount of compositions written by the group, totaling almost 650, it’s hard to provide any one song or album that “sums up” Phish, and the better goal would be to find what genre the band doesn’t sound like since it diminishes with every new album.

 

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