"JAZZ IS DEAD promises to be one of the year's highlight events for the DEAD and jazz communities."
- Ian D'giff/Long Island Village Voice
"I haven't witnessed such a vibrant DEAD scene since JERRY's passing."
- Steve Bloom/High Times on the Variety Playhouse show in Atlanta, GA
"JAZZ IS DEAD not only exceeded my expectations (the crowd went wild!) but so did ticket sales. The show sold out and I hope we have JAZZ IS DEAD back to the House of Blues in the near future."
- Michael Yerke/House Of Blues, Chicago, Ill
"JAZZ IS DEAD would not normally be the first show I would choose to go to, or at least drive two hours for. I was, however sucked in. It is definitely a creation worth seeing, no matter what your musical taste."
- Big Shout Magazine on the Keswick Thr. show in Phil., PA
"You don't have to be a Deadhead to dig this musical event."
- Natalie Davis, Baltimore City Paper
"It was awesome to see such incredible musicians taking the DEAD'S music and spinning it into their own magical expression, putting a hip jazz twist into it."
- Neil Wigenbach/KPFT, Houston, TX
I. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MUSIC: Led by highly stylized, virtuoso guitar player JERRY GARCIA, San Francisco’s GRATEFUL DEAD formed in 1965. Their music was a unique amalgam of bluegrass, folk, blues, motown & rock and roll, evolving to later include elements of jazz - the latter particularly, as regarded their penchant for free-form improvisation. In their time, GRATEFUL DEAD were the highest grossing concert attraction in the history of the touring talent industry, an unexpected statistic, when measured against ‘mediocre’ record sales. There are two reasons to explain this: First, GRATEFUL DEAD performed more than anyone else - three major tours (approx. 100 shows) a year since the advent of ‘arena rock’ circa 1972. Whereas THE ROLLING STONES or U2 for example, easily out grossed THE DEAD in any calendar year, the latter two (as with any major attraction) chose to tour every three to five years on average. Beside the physical demands of the road, no arena/ stadium sized attraction would dare tour in consecutive years, fearing depletion of market demand from overexposure. Second, GRATEFUL DEAD played long shows (3 to 6 hours), consisting of two sets with an intermission - working from an active repertoire of over 100 original compositions and cover material ... reprised differently from show to show, in off times bizarre & unexpected medleys - segue ways interwoven with lengthy, jazz-like, ‘psychedlic’ improvisations & dynamic drum solos. Over the course of a thirty or forty city tour, no two shows would be alike. On top of all of this, the band allowed ... even encouraged the fans to tape record the performances - unheard of in a record industry whose chief fear was ‘bootlegging’. Yet, instead of 'bootlegging' (selling the clandestinely recorded tapes for profit), the fans codified the phenomenon ... recounted orally from fan to fan, musically from tape to tape.
II. BACKROUND: On August 9, 1995, at the age of 53, JERRY GARCIA died from heart failure in Northern California, where he was born and began an American musical legacy that is sure to reverberate down through the generations. A short time thereafter, GRATEFUL DEAD announced that it's existence as an ongoing, performing entity, was at an end. In the wake of these events, some remaining DEAD members and close musical associates that had played with GARCIA in other projects endeavored to continue the journey. In 1996, the DEAD's BOB WEIR and MICKEY HART created "Further Festival," a revolving retinue of Artists that had admired GARCIA and the spirit his music embodied. This ensemble featured JAZZ IS DEAD co founder, WEATHER REPORT bassist ALPHONOS JOHNSON (who had previously toured and recorded with BOB WEIR).
At the beginning of 2015, the surviving members of GRATEFUL DEAD announced historic “Fare Thee Well” (farewell) concerts) … inspiring JAZZ IS DEAD to reform and likewise celebrate GRATEFUL DEAD’s 50th Anniversary.
III. OVERVIEW: JAZZ IS DEAD, "Explorations Into the Music of GRATEFUL DEAD” embarks from the compass point of GARCIA and company's most complex and audacious material, culled from many periods of their storied history. From there, the musical heading is unknown ... each performance, promising inspired improvisation and new discovery ... crafted by a line-up of stellar players.