The Jim Weeks Philharmonic is not your gorp-munching, Birkenstock-wearing, burned out older brother's jam band. For seniors Eric Davich, Dan Wilson, Ely Delman, and Philip Friedrich, exploration into the world of musical improvisation and pursuit of the sublime, elusive "groove" is far more profound.

"When we're jamming, it's like a conversation," said Davich, the band's singer and lead guitarist. "It's like right now I'm talking, sometimes you're talking, sometimes we're talking at the same time, sometimes we're arguing."

This conversation, which is going on its fourth year, began between Wilson and Friedrich during the fall of their freshman year. As hall mates in Maine Hall, they bonded over their mutual passion for music. The decision to start a band followed naturally, and after a brief flyer campaign to recruit a bassist and a second guitarist, Delman and Davich were welcomed into the group. Wilson and Friedrich's proctor that year? A "larger-than-life" football player by the name of Jim Weeks, whom Davich described simply as "the kind of guy worthy of naming a philharmonic after."

"We were having trouble coming up with a name for the band," said Wilson, "so we just ended up naming it after him."

"We owe a lot of our musical inspiration to his persona," added Friedrich.

The band's influences are not limited to its namesake. Musically, its members draw inspiration from bands such as Led Zeppelin and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and from genres spanning from funk to folk and even African and Cuban music. Davich and Wilson are in Bowdoin's World Music Ensemble together, and have studied African drumming and Caribbean music.

"[That experience] has certainly influenced my interpretation of rhythmic structures," said Wilson, the band's percussionist.

As for its own music, the band prefers not to be limited by a specific genre. It has performed funk-themed gigs, classic rock standards, and even Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body," which they arranged last year in collaboration with Tauwan Patterson '08, and which Delman described as a "guilty pleasure." When pressed, Wilson categorized the band's sound rather ambiguously as "funky space-pornography."

"We really go back to the origin of the universe when we jam," he explained. "We recreate the emergence of form from chaos."

"The beauty about jamming is that you don't know where you'll end up," said Delman. "There's a lot of groove between all of us."

The members of the Jim Weeks Philharmonic refuse to discriminate against any single piece of music based on its author or genre, so long as it meets one critical criterion: it has to "groove." Delman, Friedrich and Wilson explore this notion every Thursday evening on their WBOR radio show, "Raiders of the Lost Groove." Like the music of their band, the part-time disc jockeys do not limit themselves to a specific style, boasting an extraordinarily diverse palette.

After three years together, the musical discourse among these four music lovers has not yet turned stale. Familiarity has caused their dynamic to mature, and each member seems to have fallen comfortably into a role within the band. Delman, on bass, describes himself as the primary "groove-setter." Friedrich, on second guitar, fancies himself an "adder of texture and color." Wilson identifies himself as the "foundation."

Davich, the "front man," is the band's only music major, and, it seems, the studious moderator of the band's interplay. His training is evident as he tunes his guitar by ear and uses it to make insightful remarks as the Philharmonic embarks on one of its long musical conversations. Davich also provides vocals to the band, and although he has no history in singing (except for one very, very brief stint with campus a capella group Urses Verses), he does not shy away from attempting to imitate the glass-shattering vocal acrobatics of AC/DC and Bon Jovi.

After beginning its career with a flurry of gigs that numbered up to six in a single week, the Jim Weeks Philharmonic has recently grown more obscure. Wilson and Friedrich took semesters off last year, and the remaining members of the band played sparingly in their absence. As a result, the group that took home first place in the "Battle of the Bands" and opened for Dilated Peoples at BEARaids their sophomore year remains largely unknown to the majority of underclassmen.

But for the Jim Weeks Philharmonic, making music isn't about recognition or competing for the limelight.

"Music is about self-expression," said Wilson. "It's about creating something that's never been heard or experienced before."

"It's about finding the groove," said Delman.

He added, "Jerry lives."