Jazz Is Dead
The Bottom Line
New York, NY
1. King Solomon’s Marbles
2. banter – 4th and final show at Bottom Line
3. Unbroken Chain
4. Scarlet Begonias ->
5. Drums ->
6. Scarlet Begonias
7. Dark Star ->
8. Help On The Way ->
9. Slipknot! ->
10. Franklin’s Tower
11. banter / encore break / Merl Saunders intro
12. Dark Star *
* = w/Merl Saunders on keys
T. Lavitz – keys
Alphonso Johnson – bass
Billy Cobham – drums
Jimmy Herring – guitar
Original master recording: Neumann TLM170(cardoids) -> Sonosax SX-M2 -> Tascam DAP1 (16/44.1)
Recorded by Scott Bernstein & Jason Greenberg
Transfer, mastering, and tracking by Scott Bernstein July 2010
Merl Saunders opened, but I wasn’t set up in time to record.
Just a few weeks ago I hit the Widespread Panic show here at Radio City Music Hall….and it got me thinking about Jimmy Herring and how amazing he is……which got me thinking about this Jazz Is Dead show from a 2 night/4 show run at The Bottom Line. I remember that I decided to head down for this at the very last minute (Bottom Line was not a particularly friendly venue, but it was really intimate, and if I recall this ticket was somewhat expensive). Anyway I got in during Merl Saunders’ opening set and hooked up with Jason, who was already set up. We removed his mics from his stand (Neumann KM184s, I believe) and put mine up instead.
I’m so glad I did get into the show because this band just blew the roof off of the place. Let’s talk about the members who where in this original lineup of the band — all MONSTER players: Billy Cobham — kickass jazz drummer and alumnus of one of Miles Davis’ bands as well as legendary the jazz fusion Mahavishnu Orchestra, and basically worth the price of admission on his own. Just one listen to his solo (track 5) on this recording will shake the foundations of what you believe a drummer can do! Alphonso Johnson — former bassist from another legendary jazz fusion act — Weather Report, one of the first Chapman Stick players, former member of one of Bob Weir’s solo projects (the Midnights) and just a few years after this show was hired as (as far as I’m aware) the only bassist to ever take Phil’s place in a post-Grateful Dead incarnation (when Phil and Bobby were fighting, I believe) in their tour as The Other Ones in 2000. He definitely brings the funk (if not as much of the subtlety as Phil Lesh would contribute) and heavy heavy grooves to this band — just listen to the groove he lays down in Scarlet Begonias. T. Lavitz, who I’m less familar with, was the keyboardist for The Dixie Dregs and an early incarnation of Widespread Panic.
And onto the reason I pulled this recording out — Jimmy Herring, who, even among these world-reknowned musicians, more than holds his own — his style could not be more different than Jerry Garcia’s….but just one listen to his take on Help On The Way and Slipknot, will show you the fireworks that emit from his fretboard. Wow! No wonder he got drafted into Phil’s Friends for a while!!!
Subsequent tours of this band had vaied members, but none of them could beat this lineup.
So I present to you BARN59, a short-but sweet show from a classic venue that is really worth your effort to listen to. Hope you enjoy!
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