What's the Jerry Garcia Band without Jerry Garcia? Find out Tonight When Members of the Late Guitarist's Solo Group Performs

By Michael Kuelker Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 17, 1997 | Go to article overview

What's the Jerry Garcia Band without Jerry Garcia? Find out Tonight When Members of the Late Guitarist's Solo Group Performs


Michael Kuelker Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


For those who found a gestalt in Jerry Garcia's presence in his music, an entity called JGB might seem like Just Greedy Bandwagon, or perhaps simply jejune, grasping and base. The old pals from San Francisco, still drinking on Jerry's tab.

If the show appears to be a members-only event for a certain kind of music whose circuitry is wrong for your socket, well, that's always how the more fervent followers of Garcia viewed his musical excursions without the Grateful Dead. It was a chance to enjoy Jerry-vision--the easygoing shuffles and ubiquitous jams--in a club or theater without the ungainly bulk of the stadium-sized Dead experience.

Remember, this comes out of a band that sang "The Music Never Stopped." Jerry's kids are still on the march. And if they head to see JGB, they'll encounter some gifted musicians performing in his spirit. Besides, the show isn't about ritual denial. "It will never be the same," admitted Melvin Seals, keyboardist and bandleader of JGB, who recorded and performed with Garcia for 17 years. "But if people close their eyes and enjoy the music, it'll take them back to what they loved. This is the closest thing to it." JGB also includes lead vocalist/saxophonist Armin Winter, singers Jackie LaBranch and Gloria Jones, guitarists Loren Leber and Peter Harris, bassist Elgin Seals, and drummer Donnie Baldwin. They were part of the core for Garcia's strongest version of his solo act in the decade before his death in 1995. "Jerry tried to keep this band working. …

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