January 28, 2010

The Dead and Jazz

This post came out of a discussion about whether the Dead were influenced by Miles Davis, particularly his fusion period.
There is a lot about the Dead's jazz (and other) influences in the first parts of my Dark Star piece, including the encounter with Davis:
I haven't repeated those quotes here, so this piece is meant as kind of a postscript....

The Dead were fans of Miles' music - Lesh in particular has spoken about how awed they were about playing after him at those Fillmore '70 shows, and how much he admired that kind of music. (At the time, it would've been new to him - Bitches Brew was only released in April '70.)
From Lesh's book:
"As I listened, leaning over the amps with my jaw hanging agape, trying to comprehend the forces that Miles was unleashing onstage, I was thinking, 'What's the use? How can we possibly play after this? We should just go home and try to digest this unbelievable shit.' This was our first encounter with Miles' new direction. Bitches Brew had only just been released, but I know I hadn't yet heard any of it... In some ways, it was similar to what we were trying to do in our free jamming, but ever so much more dense with ideas, and seemingly controlled with an iron first, even at its most alarmingly intense moments. Of us all, only Jerry had the nerve to go back and meet Miles, with whom he struck up a warm conversation. Miles was surprised and delighted to know that we knew and loved his music."
[Miles' 4-10-70 show was later released as the Black Beauty CD. It's worth noting that his live shows then featured keyboards & horns, not the guitar so prominent on the studio albums. I don't know what Miles thought of the Dead, but he had a low opinion of most the rock groups he opened for, feeling they were limited musicians and his band could play the same music much better. He did like Santana's music, though, and was deeply inspired by Hendrix, which was one reason he added electric guitars to his sound.]
I don't know if the Dead really took much from Davis' fusion style at the time (Keith apparently did on the electric keyboard, a couple years later), but you can tell at the 4/12 and 4/15/70 shows, the jamming is especially inspired. As Kreutzmann put it, they were "totally embarrassed" following Miles - "we played really free, loose, but I couldn't get Miles out of my ears."
I think it's interesting that Lesh said Miles' fusion music was similar to what the Dead were doing. But I don't hear much similarity, nor do I think their music was influenced by his 'fusion' phase too much, at least in ways that I can hear, unless it's in the 'free' playing style. In A Silent Way (Miles' first big step into fusion) came out in '69, and was quite a bit calmer than most the Dead's music, though they might have taken inspiration from its spaciness. By then Miles was in his modal phase of stretching out a long jam in one chord, somewhat like the Dead were doing in Dark Star. He also had a heavy keyboard sound, and at that point the Dead just had the classical-sounding Tom Constanten (and, in 1970, often no keyboard at all).
Those April '70 Fillmore West shows don't go on many unusual excursions (though, alas, we don't have the Dark Star from 4/11 or the Caution from 4/10). I'm not sure if the Dead would even have been prepared to go freeform at that time....they were never really a freeform band, in the sense of the jams being truly open-ended. There was always a destination and a time-limit (though that got looser in '73/74). Also by '73, with Keith in the mix, there is a bit more sonic resemblance to Miles' sound.

Miles' earlier period with Coltrane did rub off on them - Coltrane was indisputably a huge influence on them way back in '66. In interviews, the band referenced Coltrane a lot more as someone who influenced them even from the start. They were very enthusiastic about the 'modal jamming' style that Davis & Coltrane initiated (basically, improvising in one chord or scale, rather than through a song's chord progressions) - Viola Lee & Midnight Hour were the first tunes where they tried this out.
Lesh said, "It was the simplest thing to do, because you didn't have to remember any chords." Weir agreed: "The first thing we learned was to rattle on in one chord change for a while....that was good for me, because I didn't know many chords."
In his book Lesh talks about how, as they got better, they used Viola Lee to all solo simultaneously, like jazz musicians, rather than just backing Garcia. "We electrified the song with a boogaloo beat and an intro lick borrowed from Lee Dorsey's 'Get Out of My Life Woman', and we tried to take the music out further - first expanding on the groove, then on the tonality, and then both, finally pulling out all the stops in a giant accelerando, culminating in a whirlwind of dissonance.... I urged the other band members to listen closely to the music of John Coltrane, especially his classic quartet, in which the band would take fairly simple structures ('My Favorite Things', for example) and extend them far beyond their original length with fantastical variations, frequently based on only one chord."
You could hardly find a clearer example of the Dead being directly influenced by jazz techniques! Jazz was very much "in the air" among rock musicians at the time, with Coltrane's style particularly important. (For instance, the Byrd's "Eight Miles High" is a tribute to him.)

(Here's one introductory article about examples of modal jams in rock music -
And from the same blog, a post about another "jazz" musician that Garcia closely listened to -
http://dog-goneblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/gypsy-king.html )

It's also notable that in Garcia & Lesh's guest-DJ radio show in April '67, they play a couple longer jazz pieces, one by Charles Mingus and one by Charles Lloyd. Garcia even says he wants the Dead to work with Lloyd's group, after having such a good experience playing together at the Rock Garden! This never happened, though. At the time they were looking forward to their first trip to New York, where Lesh was surprised to meet Charles Mingus checking out their 6/1/67 show: "I was too intimidated to ask him what he thought of the band's sound!"

For those who haven't seen it, there's a lengthy discussion of Charles Lloyd & various flute-players with the Dead at:
Lloyd would have been especially important to the Dead in '67, as he was playing an early form of "fusion" music, and was one of the first jazz crossover artists to play at 'rock' shows - he was quite popular in San Francisco, and had an impact on many musicians. (Miles Davis thought enough of Lloyd's group to snatch some of the bandmembers for his own band, and was influenced by Lloyd in his own approach to fusion.)

The Dead's influences were many & wide though, and they created something totally distinct. Garcia was especially influenced by bluegrass & old-time stringbands, what he called "conversational music", the way the instruments related to each other. Lesh had the most avant-garde leanings in the group, and he was the happiest to go to the noisy side (as he did with Ned Lagin). The band got into Indian music heavily after '67, which Hart was studying, and this left a big imprint in their playing.
And so on.... The point is, you can rarely point to any single artist or piece of music and say, "That influenced the Dead's style!" For example, Garcia was a big Freddie King disciple when he was learning electric guitar: "Freddie King is the guy I learned the most volume of stuff from. When I started playing electric guitar with the Warlocks, it was a Freddie King album that I got almost all my ideas off of, his phrasing really." But by '69 there's hardly a trace - they keep transcending the things they learn from.
Also, as musicians, I think they listened differently than most of us - Garcia's quotes in the Dark Star article, for instance, show that he was listening very specifically for what you might call the "voice" in the playing - one horn player's silences, or another's phrasing. (His playing in Dark Star might sometimes echo Miles, the way he stays out for a while, or plays a short burst of notes.)
Here's Garcia talking about one tune that influenced the early Dead - the Junior Walker instrumental 'Cleo's Back': "There was something about the way the instruments entered into it in a kind of free-for-all way, and there were little holes and these neat details in it - we studied that motherfucker, we might even have played it for a while... It was the conversational approach, the way the band worked, that really influenced us."

And when getting into jazz-Dead, we can't forget Keith.... Having to play after Miles in April '70 may have been humbling, but their material didn't change that much for the rest of that year, and in '71 you could argue they were even heading away from a jazzy direction into tighter, more succinct jams.
Keith was primarily a jazz player, and I see him as the catalyst here after he joined in fall '71. Checking out what happened to Dark Star between, say, October '71 and April 72, there's a big jump - the type of jam is the same as before Keith joined, but they're tackling it at a higher, more expansive level.
That's not to say they wouldn't have gone in this direction without him - they'd been jazz fans in '65 too, and it was always dormant in them - sometimes one possibility in their music takes the lead, sometimes another. As Garcia said in '71: "We still stretch out....we've never accepted any limitations....we have lots of possibilities." In this case it was the combination of talent, lots of practice, a driving ambition to keep the music fresh & changing, and having a jazz piano-player drop in their laps.... (Garcia had been playing with Saunders & Howard Wales as well, which certainly broadened his guitar skills, and his knowledge of jazz standards. He brought some of the 'space-jams' he was doing with Wales in '71/72 into the Dead's jams as well.)

The question of whether the Dead even played "jazz" has been debated - just the fact they're playing with electric guitars instead of horns makes a huge difference - not only that, but their style is so unique from other bands anyway. To me, the connection is clear - even from early '68, the whole idea of medleys of jammed songs linked together, many of them directly quoting jazz (Clementine, Spanish Jam, New Potato in a way), using 'feedback' and 'space' as musical concepts, composing several improvised jam-songs that go on long wordless musical journeys...
'73/74 are thought of as the jazziest years because of these big jams where the Dead skitter around from one theme to another, dropping into noisy spaces or funk-jams or unknown spontaneous melodies at the drop of a hat - there's not much like that in rock music. The Blues for Allah period was perhaps the peak of jazzy Dead - in those '75 studio sessions we hear them playing with many new themes like Slipknot or Stronger Than Dirt just like a jazz combo.
And then there's the September '73 tour where the Dead directly embraced jazz by adding a couple horn-players for the jams. Although that tour with the horns is interesting because it seems like the Dead didn't want to get TOO experimental.... The horn players have their place in Weather Report, Eyes, a couple other spots, and as a result we get a whole lot of second sets with an Eyes>Weather Report. Did they get to sit in on Playing or Dark Star or the Other One? Heck no. In fact, the Dead seem to have decided, let's just not play Dark Star or the Other One very much....we'll drop Bird Song out of the set, too! So (to generalize) that tour gets that squawking free-jazz sound in places, but doesn't get as many deep jams as we find in the rest of the year.
Garcia, though, was happy to play jazz pieces in his shows with Saunders & Fierro (and in later years as well). That's not even mentioning the '90s shows where famed jazz horn players would join the Dead onstage. This was a band that thrived on variety, and added many genres to their musical stew - they were open enough to try anything.

There's a wider sense in which jazz influenced their music early on, in the idea that their songs could be changeable and stretched-out, and played differently each time. Various rock groups in the late '60s were taking up this improvisational challenge (Cream the most famous, but also many California bands), so it wasn't exclusively a jazz concept. But the Dead keep improvisation within a 'rock' context - the jams are always kept within a limited space in a few select songs, and always return back to familiar ground.
So, the Dead's music is not quite jazz, not quite rock, but like some of Miles' fusion albums, somewhere on the border. I think we can call the Dead a 'jazz' band to the same extent we can call them a 'country' or R&B band, it's all part of the diverse mix.... That unique way they play is what's so compelling, regardless of what influences went into it.


  1. Miles Davis spoke favorably in his autobiography about talking to Garcia backstage at the Fillmore West.

  2. From Miles' autobiography:
    "Jerry Garcia, their guitar player, and I hit it off great, talking about music - what they liked and what I liked - and I think we all learned something, grew some. Jerry Garcia loved jazz, and I found out that he loved my music and had been listening to it for a long time. He loved other jazz musicians, too, like Ornette Coleman and Bill Evans."

  3. And, a comment from David Crosby:

    "I think the really most innovative thing about the band is - everybody else thinks in terms of block chords and pedal tones, bass lines, normal kind of structures. These guys have evolved a thing where each guy is playing a running line all the time. There's three of them at a very minimum and then the percussion. That's electronic Dixieland. In this case you've got three running lines all the time. The keyboard player, traditionally, in the Dead has been the only guy who was tacking it down to reality at any point, you know. But what you've got is Jerry and Phil and Bobby playing these three weaving lines. And it's this incredibly fluid music.
    What happens in the best of it is that you submerge your ego and you understand that several people can achieve a telepathic or near-telepathic union playing music and speak with one voice."

  4. A couple more quotes:

    Merl Saunders (talking about the time around 1970 before he started playing with Garcia) -
    "Miles Davis and I became pretty close. We were talking one night and I told him that I was caught between playing jazz and rock. He said there's nothing wrong with playing rock: "just take it where you want to take it." We were discussing West Coast music; he said there were lots of great groups on the coast with potential. It's funny because it never dawned on me that I could play with the Dead until Miles mentioned it. He had played with the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore West, so he was familiar with them."

    And Bill Kreutzmann, in 1987 (a year not noted for its jazziness) -
    "Sometimes in '73 we'd play a jazz music show. That doesn't happen enough now. I would like to do more free music. I really do miss that, just getting up on the drum set and firing - where you stop being a straightahead, rock & roll backbeat drummer - no syncopation, you just play flow."
    (Mickey Hart added: "When the spirit is free that's what happens. Nobody is really planning on it or plotting it... It's getting to a place where we might see more of those extended, crazy-ass jams. But where it's at now is more subtle things.")

    And, a random writer (Jack Britton, also in 1987) saying something similar to David Crosby's comment about the Dead's music -
    "The Dead are the only ones who play the swirl. In a regular band, the bass, drum and rhythm guitar move forward through the song in the same relationship to each other, as if they were three little trains on parallel tracks. The Dead's music doesn't travel that straight line. Instead, all the players move inside and outside of each other in an intuitive dance. No one is playing pure rhythm because they're all playing a rhythm. The melody might be primarily stated on lead guitar, but everything that everyone is playing is...an embellishment on the melody plus a rhythm....
    When it's all going smoothly - when they're really at their peak - it melts together into a big ball of sound. You can still hear each element clearly, but overall, it's that swirl...
    And when they don't quite have it together, you hear a lot of banging around, musical collisions...and that can build the swirl in itself!
    Now sometimes the music they're playing is pretty straightforward...but when they're off the planet in a jam and the energy is flying every which way, you're out there on your own - no sail, no rudder. It's completely unpredictable...it's the thrill of spontaneous creation and total propulsion into the unknown."
    (He adds that psychedelic drugs help listeners participate in the swirl - "you become the swirl within the band." There's a lot can be said about the 'psychedelic' aspect of the Dead's music and how it interacts with listeners. The connection between drugs and jazz is an old one, but that's a subject for another day....)

  5. Another quote, from an interview with Weir last year on the "All About Jazz" site:

    "There was this soul romping of jazz in the 60s, and it was furious and cooking so we concentrated on that along with what Ornette was doing. In the early 70s, Miles came out with Bitches Brew and Live Evil, but we also listened to Return to Forever, which was fusion that hadn't slipped into its dry and intellectual mode yet. Those fusion guys had monstrous facility which seemed unattainable, but Bitches Brew was more groove oriented and a clear lightpost, so we did that stuff in rehearsal all the time. We could also pull it off on stage from time to time."
    Q: Did the audience always follow?
    "We would take the temperature of the audience and though nobody ever discussed it, there was an understanding...that there is only so much of this that we are going to get away with, because for the most part, the audience came to hear songs. And of course we loved to deliver songs."

    (The rest of the interview is also very interesting.)

  6. It's worth mentioning, Duane Allman was also a big fan of Miles & Trane:
    "Miles Davis does the best job, to me, of portraying the innermost, subtlest, softest feelings in the human psyche. And John Coltrane was probably one of the finest, most accomplished tenor players. He took his music farther than anybody I believe I ever heard."

    Perhaps the straightest jazz the Allmans played was Dickey Betts' tune In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. Duane said, "That kind of playing comes from Miles and Coltrane, and particularly Kind of Blue. I've listened to that album so many times for the last couple years, I haven't hardly listened to anything else."

  7. Recently I downloaded Dick's Picks vol. 19, and Bill's drumming on Dark Star reminds me a lot of some of the more "out" Jazz drummers, such as Sunny Murray (w/ Albert Ayler) and Don Moye (w/ Art Ensemble of Chicago). It's very spaced-out. I know Bill's crazy about Elvin Jones, too.

  8. Hey Lights Into Ashes,
    I'm writing a paper about the Dead and Jazz and would love to know where you got the Crosby quote from.

  9. The Crosby quote is from a David Gans interview for one of his Dead Hours. Transcript here:

  10. The 7/8/67 issue of Billboard reviewed the Monterey Pop Festival - the writer was struck by the trend of new blues-rock groups departing from normal pop tunes & playing more jam-based music:
    "Their music is just as much for listening as dancing, and under many circumstances would be called jazz, not rock. When Al Kooper’s band got into the blues, and the Grateful Dead went off into 20-minute blues medley-variations, there was nothing aurally to indicate that this was part of a rock & roll or pop concert at all. It was experimental music based on the blues, and that’s jazz… The Grateful Dead had ideal program billing (midway Sunday night) but partially blew it by playing too long. The Dead are among the most musically intriguing of any rock groups, but they seem to be straying from the typical dance format more quickly than any of the others.”

  11. A post on another blog about the 4/10/70 Fillmore West show with Miles Davis opening:


  12. A new discovery - the 'bridge' added to Clementine at the October Matrix shows (it comes around 6:10 in the 1/26/69 version), is taken from the bassline in Coltrane's Greensleeves.

    This is from the Africa/Brass album, which the Dead revered, and Lesh and Weir cite it to this day as a seminal album for them.

    Lesh: "We never heard Coltrane live after the band started, so it was the recordings we would lean on. Mainly it was Africa/Brass. Bill Kreutzmann really got off on Elvin's drum solo on 'Africa'; of the other guys, it was pretty much the whole composition and the way it all developed, the use of the horns and stuff like that. And then just for the quality of Trane's playing, 'Blues Minor' is one of my favorites." [from the book the House That Trane Built]

    When Lesh talks about using Coltrane's My Favorite Things as an example the Dead used in expanding their jams, it makes me wonder if Clementine wasn't a song that came out of the Dead's jamming on Coltrane themes.

    Weir was particularly influenced by Coltrane's records of the early '60s, especially the playing of pianist McCoy Tyner:
    "I listened to a lot of McCoy Tyner. I listened to his left hand a lot, and sort of took it from there."
    "The John Coltrane record that had ‘Tunji’ on it (Coltrane) had me hugely enamored with his rhythm section - Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison - and the way they worked together. It was great the way they played off McCoy Tyner. Whereas a lot of guitarists cite other guitarists as primary influences, I listened to a lot of McCoy Tyner and what he had to say. It was Phil who turned me onto Coltrane.”
    "I learned by trying to imitate a piano, specifically the work of McCoy Tyner in the John Coltrane Quartet. That caught my ear and lit my flame when I was 17. I just loved what he did underneath Coltrane, so I sat with it for a long time and really tried to absorb it. Of course, Jerry was very influenced by horn players, including Coltrane, but I never really explicitly thought about that relationship, because I didn’t really ever decide to pattern myself after McCoy Tyner’s piano. It just grabbed me."

  13. A couple more Lesh quotes.
    From http://www.jambase.com/Articles/4909/PHIL-LESH-OPERATING-PRINCIPLES -

    Lesh tells us, "The Coltrane Quartet and the long jams they would do in one chord was a defining factor for us because it was a demonstration that this could be done. There's so much room inside this one chord. It's only one chord and you can never ever get to the bottom of it. Believe me, that was a major influence on us."

    From http://www.expressmilwaukee.com/article-2764-phil-lesh-reflects-on-his-influences.html -

    “What do I have to say about ’Trane?” Lesh asks. “His music is very florid, convulsive, evocative, volcanic, and it all moves very steadily in its flow.” Coltrane also had a strong influence on the music of the Grateful Dead, who were looking for interesting ways to extend their concert “jams” without continuous repetition of the melody line. Coltrane’s modal use of the drone, sustained notes characteristic of world music from Scottish bagpipes to Indian sitars in his early ’60s compositions “Africa” and “India” allowed the jazzman to weave varied melodic and rhythmic elements in and around the drone, enabling musical improvisation without sacrificing a solid through-line.
    “It was a logical extension of what we wanted to do,” Lesh says. “The improvisation over the drone note derives from ethnic music practices the world over, and helped us figure out how to play longer in new, more interesting ways.”

  14. I expanded the last comments in a new post:
    That post should be considered a continuation of this one, and more updates on the Dead's jazzy side will be posted there...

  15. Phil wrote in his book about the Human Be-In in January '67: "Chronicle columnist Ralph Gleason was to tell me later that he'd been hanging that day with Dizzy Gillespie...Dizzy asked Ralph during our set, 'Who are those guys? They sure can swing.'"

    Phil's memory was accurate - Gleason actually mentioned this in his newspaper column at the time. "The Dead's set was remarkably exciting, causing people to rise up wherever they were and begin dancing. Dizzy Gillespie...asked who the Dead were, commenting on how they were swinging."

    Jazz flutist Charles Lloyd of course played with the Dead that day, during Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. I wonder if this is what caught Dizzy's attention?

  16. That was an interesting bit of info about Mingus attending the 6/1/67 show,I would think they would have seemed quite derivative and almost amateurish to him at that point so early in their career.

    1. He may have had low expectations!
      He may also have been there by coincidence - it's not likely he'd heard of them before, and I think that free show was unannounced, so perhaps he just happened to be in the park that day. At any rate, I don't remember him showing up at any other Dead shows!

  17. More quotes!

    Comstock Lode magazine interviewed Phil Lesh in 1981 and asked him about the 2/14/68 tape, particularly "a weird Spanish-sounding thing that has overtones of Quicksilver. I played it to Phil and asked him what he thought about it."

    LESH: I wish we still played like that. That was our Sketches of Spain take, it was part of our act at the time. Sketches of Spain was one of those classic albums, at one time you could walk down any street in a college town and hear it floating out of almost every window...

    Frank Kofsky interviewed Garcia in September 1967 (not published til the Dead Studies vol. 1 book, a couple years ago) - Kofsky wrote for Jazz & Pop magazine and so was particularly interested in the similarity of the Dead's improvs to jazz music.

    KOFSKY: You haven't said anything about jazz. But I hear a lot of improvising, a lot of improvised solos, in the new rock and it seems it either derives from, or is running parallel to, what's going on in jazz.
    GARCIA: Right... Jazz is kind of like flamenco in a way. It started as a real strong traditional branch - a Negro traditional music coming from blues and ragtime. It's essentially African with this European instrumentality and stuff breathed into it. And as it's grown up it's gotten to be so sophisticated, to the extent of becoming an art music. And I consider most jazz to be art music. The kind of thing it's turned into, its real home is not in jazz clubs; its real home is a concert stage, or even places like the Fillmore...
    [Garcia points out that "clubs are shitty, and they're bad places to work - or they're a down scene;" but in the formal concert scene where audiences are less responsive, "as soon as music is art music...it's lost its big thread to the collective unconscious... It used to be a moving force, but - it can get pretentious... That's also the death of music... The ultimately responsive audience is a dancing audience."]

    KOFSKY: In your own playing of improvised solos, do you find that listening to jazz has helped you, given you any ideas?
    GARCIA: Oh yeah, sure; absolutely; absolutely. I really like - I listen to Charles Lloyd a lot. We've played with Charles Lloyd on a lot of occasions... That's the kind of music that is sort of a new music - sort of a new jazz in a way. And it's closely related to the kind of stuff that we're doing, only we don't do it as well as Charles Lloyd does.
    KOFSKY: Well, you do it differently.
    GARCIA: It's different.
    KOFSKY: I don't think it's a question of 'as well as.'
    GARCIA: Well no, it's true... I would say that jazz musicians on the whole have a lot better chops than those of us in rock & roll. In the San Francisco music [scene], almost without exception everybody is self-taught; nobody has the book chops...
    [Kofsky points out that many jazz greats are self-taught too.]

  18. I would just like to point out that Miles recruited half of the Charles Lloyd Quartet, Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette, to play on Bitches' Brew. So, on that level, both the Dead and Miles were drawing from the Lloyd band. Charles Lloyd, btw, has actually been making better music in the last two decades then he did in the sixties, and I like the old Lloyd Quartet fine.

    1. Keith Jarrett didn't play on Bitches Brew (though DeJohnette did). Jarrett joined Miles Davis a couple months after the April '70 shows where Davis opened for the Dead, and played with him from mid-'70 through '71.

      DeJohnette achieved the feat of opening for the Dead in both groups - in Lloyd's Quartet at the Rock Garden in March/April '67 (and the Greek Theater, 10/1/67), and in Miles Davis' group at the Fillmore West, April '70.

    2. Thanks for correcting the timeline...either way, the larger point that the Lloyd group had drawn the attention of both Davis and the Dead and that it may account for some similarities between the artists during that period remains.

    3. I might add that in summer '70, Miles briefly had two electric keyboards in his live shows (Keith Jarrett & Chick Corea), and sometimes they'd get into noise freakouts that are surprisingly similar to what the Dead would do. For instance, see the August '70 Isle of Wight show (on the "Bitches Brew Live" CD), or some of the "Miles at the Fillmore" sets (from June '70).

    4. There is a Miles Davis interview circulating on tape dated 8/2/69 where he mentions wanting to have Keith Jarrett play with him, although it is true Jarrett didn't join Davis until 1970 (first studio session May 1970, first circulating live recording June 1970).

  19. "We've played with Charles Lloyd on lots of occasions"

    Only three shows with Lloyd come to mind.

    I was wondering if you had any information on other collaborations?

    1. The flute player on 6/13/69 and 8/21/69 appears to be one of the members of Sanpaku (a band that opened for the Dead), not Charles Lloyd.
      See http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2009/12/guest-flute-players-with-grateful-dead.html

      Anyway, in mid-'67 a bunch of shows with Lloyd would be fresh in Garcia's mind, since the Dead had played a run with the Lloyd Quartet from March 28-April 2 1967, at the Rock Garden (a short-lived SF club).
      When Phil & Jerry appeared as guest DJs on KMPX in April '67, Garcia mentions the Rock Garden shows: "We had a really good time with him; in fact, there's been some communication between us and Charles Lloyd just recently, he's been talking to our managers and we're gonna maybe work something out where we're working together in some other situations, cause we had a good time together."
      But nothing was worked out that I know of. They did play another show with him that year, a benefit at the Greek Theater on 10-1-67. So there may have been lots of times Lloyd guested with the Dead in 1967 that just weren't recorded.

      What, to me, is even more tantalizing is the idea of Keith Jarrett playing keyboard with the Dead that year... I doubt it happened, though, since he probably wouldn't have liked their music at the time or the idea of playing on electric organ.

    2. Charles Lloyd told Blair Jackson, "Garcia and I talked about recording together. Something was beginning to happen. It would have been my group enhanced by him and some other musicians who had a similar creative bent. Jack Casady wanted to play with me; he was very open. What Jerry and I planned to do was go in the studio and let people come and visit and just make music; just for the love of the music."

      He also mentioned, "The Dead were very sweet to me always. They gave me great dope and there was always a very loving vibe."

    3. Lloyd did an album called Warm Waters in '71 which had Dave Mason,John Cipollina,Jesse Ed Davis and four of the Beach Boys on some tracks,so that is as close to the plan he and Jerry had as he would come.I can't say that I am a big supporter of Lloyd's music,I find him to be a mediocre saxophonist.However his performance with the Dead on 8/3/69 is brilliant,and it is a shame nothing similar took place while the band was still in it's prime.The later day appearances of David Murray,Ornette Coleman and to a lesser degree Branford Marasalis have to evaluated through the filter of a band whose talents were so diminished a comparison is not even viable.

    4. Another Charles Lloyd quote:
      "A nice thing about the 1960s was the radio was more free-form. They would play my music alongside Jimi Hendrix or the Grateful Dead, Ravi Shankar, Otis Redding and all that... There were not these lines of demarcation, kids were listening to all kinds of music. So when we played for them at the Fillmore, we were very lovingly and warmly received and it opened a door, because things were kind of depressed in the jazz scene, jazz clubs were struggling for their existence. All the San Francisco groups loved our music - Grateful Dead, the Airplane, Janis Joplin rallied around us. The Dead's favorite album at this point was Dreamweaver, and when they heard it they wanted to improvise more. Jerry was always talking about us recording together."
      (from Stuart Nicholson, Jazz-Rock: A History, p.79)

      So that's additional confirmation of the Dead's respect for the Dreamweaver album, and Garcia's desire to record with Lloyd. Lloyd may be a bit mistaken that "when they heard it they wanted to improvise more," but in the Sept '67 interview Garcia does single out Lloyd specifically among jazz musicians as influencing him: "I listen to Charles Lloyd a lot... It's closely related to the kind of stuff that we're doing, only we don't do it as well as Charles Lloyd does."

  20. I had my doubts about that being Lloyd at the 8/21 show since the playing style seemed different,he didn't play on the Dark Star/Other One portion of the show and he didn't play any sax.I was hoping for some more '69 appearances as I did not note the 9/67 date of interview,I have no interest in the '67 shows.

    Keith Jarrett playing any keyboard would surely have been an interesting guest.

  21. Just a quick mention - the Dead played a little-known jazz benefit on 7/14/68 with several jazz bands, including Ornette Coleman. (The show is not in deadlists.)

    From a newspaper article, "One-Day Jazz Music Festival Set":

    "A Sunday on the Green," a special one-day music festival featuring some of the Bay Area's top rock and jazz groups, will be held Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the Marina Green at San Francisco's St. Francis Yacht Club.
    The Thomas A. Dooley Foundation is sponsoring the concert on behalf of the Jazz Action Movement (JAM). The concert is free, but donations will be accepted to finance JAM programs.
    Groups to be featured include The Ornette Coleman Quartet, The Grateful Dead, The John Handy Quintet, The Big Black Sextet, The Youngbloods, Monte Waters Big Band, Granny Goose, and the Hylar Jones Quartet with vocalist, Millie Foster.


    There's also a poster:

    The Dead had also played at the Both/And benefit on 9/11/66, a "jazz-rock concert-dance" where several rock bands followed several jazz bands:

    So, along with the spring '67 appearances with Charles Lloyd (and probably other events I've forgotten), the Dead followed jazz bands on several occasions in the '60s.

    1. The San Francisco Sound blog says the GD canceled http://thesanfranciscosound.blogspot.com/2010/02/quicksilver-messenger-service_7244.html

    2. Thanks for the tip! I'll guess he had a good source for that.

  22. From Bill Kreutzmann's new book:
    "We got to play on a bill with Miles Davis. A four-night stand beginning on April 9, 1970. And Graham scheduled Miles as the opener. Naturally, we thought that was totally ludicrous and ass-backwards. 'What's he opening for us for?' ...They blew the house away. It was intimidating because after he finished, as we were picking our jaws off the floor, Graham was like, 'Your turn, guys. Get up there! Time's a-wasting!' We did what we could, and we didn't play half-bad, but we felt sufficiently humbled." (Deal, p.95)

  23. Trivia note: Benny Goodman, the '30s King of Swing, went to see his first (and last?) rock show at the Fillmore East in February '69, when the Dead opened for Janis Joplin - his daughter dragged him there since she was a Joplin fan.
    He didn't comment on the Dead specifically, but said of the show, "It's awful hard to put in any category, as good or bad... The thing that shatters me is the volume. It's so loud, it's almost deafening. It's hard to see where a clarinet would fit in there."
    He and his daughter visited Janis backstage, where Janis reportedly "shocked the pants off Benny." I don't know whether the Dead also encountered Benny backstage...

  24. Weir talks a bit about seeing Miles Davis in this 1970 interview:

    Though Miles "really gets me off," Weir felt that the "younger guys" in his band were not as good.

  25. Philip Elwood wrote a review of Miles Davis' 4/9/70 show for the 4/10/70 SF Examiner:

    The Miles Davis sextet created a symphonic tone poem in contemporary sounds last night for 65 continuous minutes of music at their debut in the Fillmore West auditorium.
    Neither the place nor the audience will ever be quite the same again. A couple of thousand young "rock" fans grew up musically in those 65 minutes.
    When Miles finished his magnificent performance and the cheers had subsided, half the crowd got up and left, even though I'm sure many had come to hear the "headliner," the Grateful Dead.
    But a body can't handle the Dead for dessert after consuming the entree Miles dished up...
    The non-stop performance wasn't without change of mood, or meter, or attitude. Quite the opposite - no artist in the jazz tradition has better mastered shadings and dynamics and timbre than Miles.
    The remarkable thing is how he transmits those feelings to his colleagues, and how the whole group transfuses its music right into the bloodstream of the listener.
    There were fragments of some of Davis' recent recorded material in the marvelous montage last night, but one doesn't say "what's the name of that tune?" when listening to Miles...there is too much to hear as it is.
    There were soaring, free, open-horn solos by Miles and tender, somber (sometimes growling) muted trumpet sounds.
    Electric pianist Chick Corea has a musical empathy with Davis that often makes it difficult to separate the two instruments' tones. Bassist Dave Holland, alternating electric and acoustic instruments, is also part of the remarkable single-mindedness that distinguishes the Davis-Corea playing.
    On drums is the fabulous Jack deJohnette, never better and often unbelievable in his ability to maintain counter-rhythms within the context of the sextet's basic beat. And next to deJohnette is Airto Moreira, playing a battery of Brazilian percussion.
    The complement also includes soprano saxophonist Steve Grossman, whose solos were bright and assertive and perfectly structured for the various moods which Miles had established prior to the sax solos.
    I have never before heard Miles carry so much of the load nor more clearly demonstrate the importance of his role as a guide for the rhythm.
    With Moreira's tropical sounds often providing a surprising backdrop and the surging, steady flow of the whole group's breathtaking urgency, solo and duet expressions seemed to just fly up into prominence, hang there for a while and then return to the busy main-current of the work.
    The idea of Miles Davis at the Fillmore hadn't seemed entirely right to me prior to last night, and I was hardly alone in that sentiment. But Miles proved us all wrong. That's the way we really wanted it to turn out, anyway. The gig goes through Sunday night.