Attend Dave McMurray’s “Grateful Deadication” in Santa Barbara on October 26th
Arriving on the jazz and blues scene of his hometown of Detroit, Dave McMurray cut his teeth on tour with blues legend Albert King in the late 1970s. In 1981, he explored the limits of jazz with Griot Galaxy when called into the studio for Was’s debut album (Not Was). This gig led to many more studio sessions and a long-standing association with Blue Note Records producer and president Don Was. What kind of studio sessions? What about Gladys Knight, Geri Allen, Iggy Pop and the Rolling Stones?
It was through another more recent Don Was joint that McMurray became interested in arranging and playing the songbook Grateful Dead. He was part of a jam session organized for The Dead’s Bob Weir, a star-studded affair starring Terence Blanchard, designed to explore the potential of the band’s catalog as the basis for jazz improvisation. McMurray stepped in, learned the tunes, and was stunned by the reception. “I couldn’t believe it,” he told me over the phone last week. “The songs were weird, with good chords, really musical, and they were long, but the main thing was how they played out – the audience was mesmerized.” For its release in July 2021 on the Blue Note label, Grateful dedication, McMurray went to school on the endless chest of Grateful Dead live recordings, tracing the evolution of their music piece by piece. “They would start with a song, and the first live version would be six minutes long,” McMurray said. “Six months or a year later, the same song would last 20 minutes. I was addicted.
Dave McMurray will perform these exciting and critically acclaimed arrangements of Grateful Dead at Music Alley in Santa Barbara on Tuesday, October 26th. Ideally scheduled after the Phish show at the Santa Barbara Bowl, it will be a stage. Visit music-alley.com for tickets.
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