Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam
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Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam

Montclair, New Jersey, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Montclair, New Jersey, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Children's Music


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Still working on that hot first release.



Jason Didner always hoped that becoming a father would mean sharing his musical gifts with his child in some way. But playtime and outings with his daughter, now 2, have had a compelling effect on the music Jason creates. "When I come into her world, I often come back with a souvenir - a great song idea," he says. "And she's given me some absolute gems. She loves when we go looking for the moon, but we can't always see it at night because of clouds or the lunar cycle. That led to 'Peek-a-boo Moon.' And it just grew from there."

Jason's parenting and musical missions are joined by his wife Amy, who co-writes the lyrics and brings a wealth of early childhood teaching experience to bring each song's purpose into focus, whether it's teaching counting and nature in the same song ("Five Sea Lions") or social and moral development ("Let's Share Our Toys"). Amy also choreographs the audience participation elements of the live shows, coming up with simple gestures to teach the young concertgoers and providing props to act out the lyrics.

The band, the Jungle Gym Jam, fuels Jason's rock-based musical energy and propels his friendly, singable melodies. Guitarist/singer Casey McCleary brings a glowing harmony to the vocal lines. The interplay between drummer Ross Kantor and Jason provides rhythms you can clap along to, but you'll delight in their subtle shifting of beats, accents and volume to keep things interesting. Bassist Judy Helbig adds that "bounce" that will make kids want to get their bodies moving (and some grown-ups too!) Together, the band's grooves express an authentic feel in the styles the songs call for, whether it's ska, country, folk, or straight ahead rock.

Jason remembers how important his childhood experiences were in his musical journey, and he brings those memories to the music he's creating now. The music from the movie "Grease" captured Jason's imagination at age 8 and made him want to play rock'n'roll ever since then. He and Ross played Van Halen's "Jump" at each other's Bar Mitzvahs as the iconic song rocketed up the charts.

In young adulthood, even as Jason pursued rock intended for audiences his own age, he often brought his guitar to the school where his mother taught, giving songwriting workshops tied to the curriculum, and providing patriotic music for Flag Day. When he married Amy, also a teacher, he was a frequent guest entertainer/educator at her schools too, from pre-school through 5th grade.

He's had songs played on National Public Radio. His comedic country offering, "You Can't Get There from Here in Jersey" was a perfect fit for (in fact, written for) Car Talk, a talk show featuring two wise-cracking mechanics with sound advice for cars and day-to-day life. (Your kids may know the hosts as the voices of Lightning's original sponsors for rust cream in the first "Cars" movie). Aside from fronting the Jungle Gym Jam, Jason also leads Jason Didner and the Drive, a band whose material covers more adult themes. This band primarily performs at Parents Who Rock events, fundraisers that give back to the Montclair and larger New Jersey community. With The Drive, Jason has given the NJ Jackals minor-league baseball team a theme song and participated in a live telethon to raise funds and efforts for Hurricane Sandy relief on the Jersey Shore.

Band Members