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Monday, June 21, 2010

JGMS: October 3, 1971, Frost Ampitheater, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Garcia and Saunders played the Pamoja Jazz Concert on October 3, 1971 at Frost Ampitheater, sharing a bill with Big Black and the Bobby Hutcherson - Harold Land Quintet. Love that jazz billing.

Anyway, for a long time I have been aware of a show review by Paul Grushkin from the Stanford Daily a few days later (1). I think I learned of it in the wonderful (though in need of an update!) Dodd and Weiner bibliography (2). I have been after it, but Stanford doesn't seem to play nicely on interlibrary loan and the Daily doesn't seem to have been sent to many other university libraries. Anyway, with the help of Corry and another generous soul I have gotten a hold of it. I had been hoping for some setlist information, but alas there was none to be found.

Instead, there are a few other tidbits, both of which appear in the clipping below, which is discussing Garcia and Saunders.

From the back, I wonder who this Charlie Conn is? At first I thought it might be a rare case of Jerry playing with a bassist other than John Kahn, but the homonymy --five dollar word alert-- of "Conn" and "Kahn" makes me wonder if Charlie is John misunderstood or if some Pranksters were afoot or something.

Of greater interest is this: Garcia and Saunders "played a memorable week-long stand last April at the Matrix." Now, the meaning of "last" in this context in American English is a little fuzzy, so this could be April 1971 or April 1970. April of 1971 is booked with astonishing solidity by the Grateful Dead. April 1970 hardly seems more likely, based on the existing state of our knowledge. Not only is the month fully booked, but this seems still to have been the Wales period, with known Wales/Garcia billings happening and no Garcia/Saunders ones for another six months.

So whatever Grushkin is referring to here, it doesn't seem to be April 1970 or 1971. What could he be referring to instead?

I'd like to propose May 1971, so that when Grushkin said "last April" he meant "last May" in the sense of "the last May that passed [1971]" and not "May of the last calendar year [1970]". Why? Well, looking at my Garcia spreadsheet, May 1971 is among the most sparsely populated non-coma months, and yet we know that the man was a pickin' fool at this time.

After the GD Fillmore East run that ends 4/29, I have a JGMS listing on 5/11 at the Matrix, a three-night JGMS stand at Keystone Korner from 5/20-22, another JGMS at the Korner on 5/26, and then the seemingly pretty wacky Winterland shows at the end of the month. To reiterate, that's a suspiciously empty month for live gigs.

Not sure what else he was doing (e.g., working on Skullfuck?), but it's entirely possible that there were more Garcia/Saunders gigs during May 1971. There is certainly room in Jerry's calendar (as far as is known) for a weeklong stand at the Matrix. The alternative may perhaps be that Grushkin is referring to the multinight run at the Keystone Korner, which might transmogrify into a weeklong stand at the Matrix (the previous month) under the right ... conditions. So I'll keep my eyes open for more in May.

Caveats, criticisms, questions, codicils, cavils and other commentary most certainly welcomed.

- (1)
-->Grushkin, Paul D. 1971. Garcia, Saunders Impressive at Frost. Stanford Daily, October 5, 1971, unknown page.- (2) Dodd, David G., and Robert G. Weiner. 1997. The Grateful Dead and the Deadheads: An Annotated Bibliography. Music Reference Collection no. 60. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

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  1. I'm with you on "Charlie Conn" being a misunderstood reference to John Kahn, as Conn and Kahn are just too close.

    The tidbit I found interesting was that at this mythical weeklong stand at the Matrix or Keystone Korner or wherever, Saunders was playing bass (on the organ with his foot pedals). I would have to assume that Kahn was booked somehow, and Saunders just covered.

    Saunders had played in organ trios for many years, so he could certainly do it, but it would make a very different sound to the group.

  2. The Matrix may have been closed by April 1971. This would suggest that either

    The stand was at the Keystone Korner earlier in 1971, or

    Garcia/Saunders played the Matrix in 1970, but not in April

  3. Well, now, that the Matrix was closed by 4/71 is a fact that has somehow slipped my attention. There are ads for Garcia/Saunders on March 2-3, 1971 (though the latter date is obviously problematic since GD were at Fillmore West).

    When, precisely, did the Matrix close? Can't believe I don't know that. I was going on the 5/11/71 "Matrix" JGMS show as an outer limit.

  4. I went to this show and can confirm that it was John Kahn on bass. The Garcia-Saunders set was just about an hour - very short but consistent with the multiple acts and the relatively early October sunset.

    Partial Setlist:
    One Kind Favor
    Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

    There were several other instrumentals, but One Kind Favor and Dixie were the only vocals.

  5. Thanks for posting that, cryptdev! Did you attend any other Garcia/Saunders shows around this time? There is so little setlist information from this time period ...

  6. I was too young to get into the shows in bars, so I didn't get to see many Garcia-Saunders shows until late 1974. I did see them at the San Jose Civic Auditorium 7/1/72, still with Fogerty and, I believe, Vitt. I'm pretty sure it was a two set show, also including 'Dixie" and "How Sweet It Is,' but that's about all I can recall. Obviously Garcia liked the venue as the Dead ended up playing there the next month, an eleventh hour addition to the schedule after the BCT shows went on sale.


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