Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Garcia/Saunders Box Set

Keystone Companions, by Jerry Garcia and Merle Saunders, contains a complete two-night stand at Berkeley's Keystone Theater from July 10 and 11, 1973. Over the years the Grateful Dead guitarist embarked on a number of side projects, and this was one of the best. Predating the Jerry Garcia band, and joining Garcia with Saunders, a keyboardist of wide taste and experience, this show features Garcia's guitar in a set list that includes blues, rockabilly, jazz, funk, Broadway and Motown. It's great to hear a younger Garcia at the height of his musical arc playing in such a relaxed and varied context. Even (and perhaps especially) those not steeped in the music of the Grateful Dead will enjoy this pleasant stroll through the duo's favorite songs and styles.